How Did You Find Your Financial Planner and What Are Typical Fees?

Updated on August 02, 2011
M.T. asks from Saint Paul, MN
10 answers

Hi, I'm wondering if it would be good for my husband and I to talk to a financial planner. We're not looking for an investment advice. We just want someone objective and knowledgeable to look at our income/spending etc. and let us know if we're doing alright, in terms of not spending too much for our income, where we are at for our age in retirement savings, college savings, etc. One thing driving this is to get a better idea of whether or not we can afford a second child without strapping us financially too much.

Because of this, we're not looking for anyone attached to a investment institution, although if there's a way to get quick advice through a bank or somewhere, that would be good. We're not looking for advice on where/how to invest, rather, more of a diagnostics of our situation. If we need to save more for retirement, etc., we'll just increase our contribution to our 401k/IRA etc. (mostly in Vanguard index funds) -- we've already inquired Vanguard and they said based on how small our balance is with them, we don't qualify for their free/cheap financial advice service..

If you could give me advice on how to find a good person who can give us this kind of advice, and what the typical fees are, that would be great. Thank you!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I know of a finacial planner. I have been friends of his family for 20+ years. His name is Dana Menard. PM me for more info. :)

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answers from Pittsburgh on

You can check here:
for a local financial professional endorsed by Dave Ramsay.

I have a close friend who was a financial planner for Edward Jones and he quit because of the restricted line of products they were "allowed" to offer their clients!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Our bank has it's own department, and it's free of charge, part of the banking service (we have USAA, which is a military and govt employee bank more similar to a credit union than a traditional bank).


answers from Jacksonville on

Or you might try contacting your banking institution and see if they offer a service like you are seeking. If you are part of a credit union, even better. They usually do have someone who can sit with you and do what you are saying you want to do. You should probably let whomever you talk to know right up front exactly what you said here... about what you are looking for help with. NOT investment advice. You should be able to pay by the hour easily enough. And if you have all of your information together in an organized way, then it shouldn't take much for someone to be able to answer your question(s): Can you afford another child... (isn't that what you really want to know?)/



answers from Appleton on

I agree that you should look into Dave Ramsey's website and his books. Reading his books alone have given my husband and I the guidance we need so far. Like another person stated, he does endorse local providers that won't take advantage of you or your situation.

Dave Ramsey has impressed me as a giving and truly Christian man who would do anything to help anyone. I usually am a bit leery about people who advertise their Christian status, but he is in every sense of the word. Yes, he's a millionaire; his life's work is to try to make sure others have the opportunities to do the same. One of the best things is he's free--and encourages you to listen to his free radio show (on AM) and check out his books from the library.


answers from Dallas on

I would go with word of mouth from some of your friends/colleagues who you see that are making some choices you would like to put into your plans.

MANY people talk about how great Dave Ramsey is and I am sure he is... He is making his own millions on telling people what/how to do things. That is great if he is talking to people who need guidance and not taking advantage of any percentages he brings home.

That said... we are very much numbers people and do our own investing. However, we do have a close friend who is with Edward Jones and he is our go to guy for realistic expectations, wake up call, etc.

We do have some of our money with him and we never pay fees of any kind. We are very diversified (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, numismatics, savings bonds, cash and real estate), fully planned out with reitrement at completion, we are just adding to it, college for daughter is done and an extra fund is set aside for daughter's wedding, house or whatever. It is important to know how much you have coming in and going out a month.

We own our company and I am online banking 4+ times a day with our different banking centers monitoring the goings and comings of our $$. I do this personally as well, not just our company.

We make a plan, put it in place and we believe in delayed gratification, living below your means and NO DEBT. This has enabled us to fund retirement, college, plus more and continue to live a very happy lifestyle with little money worries. Our money worries are based on the stock market, etc... when the market goes down, we invest what we lost PLUS more to make up for it. That takes a bite out of the pocketbook when you end up putting more than you plan in on a sudden down market but it has worked for us the last 30 yrs.

Find someone you trust. Good luck to you.



answers from Minneapolis on

We live in Minneapolis & use a financial planner through North Star Resources. I think that the company is great!

The most valuable thing, IMHO, that a financial planner can do for you is not tell you to invest in stock or mutual fund X, but to guide you through the broader picture: do you have life insurance, and, if not, how much do you need & what type? What type of disability insurance do you have? Ours is great with showing us if our greatest asset--our ability to earn a living--isn't protected, then everything else will come crumbling down if something happens to us. He provides us with a small amount of tax advice too. He also has us saving in 529s for each of our children and did all the research on which state's plan worked best for us. (It's NH, BTW.) Lastly, he reviews benefits packages with us whenever we're considering a job change. I rely on his opinion immensely. Whenever I have a question about anything, he or one of his assistants is always eager to answer.

He takes a percentage of all our investments, including our life insurance. But he doesn't charge us for the countless tidbits of advice that he gives us. Does he make a lot of money on us otherwise? Sure. But, he only makes money if we make money. ;-)



answers from Rochester on

My brother is a VP and Financial Advisor at Wealth Enhancement ( I believe they advertise a free consultation. He doesn't tell us where or what to invest in, he just makes sure we are covered with insurances, short-term plans, long-term plans, budgeting, taxes, and anything we have questions about. We keep a spreadsheet we discuss twice a year with him that shows all our investments, liabilities and so on so we can see how everything balances out. I think a financial advisor should be able to do that for you if that's all you want.



answers from Beaumont on

Found mine on he Dave Ramsey website. I'd say that's an awesome place to start!



answers from Minneapolis on

We highly recommend Kevin Sale. He's in business for himself and is very down to earth and reasonable rates. He's a fee only planner and gives hourly advice. Majority of financial planners are on commission and even though you're not looking for investing advice this naturally could be part of the equation down the road.

Also, be wary of the financial planners who are too overtly religious. There have been many who used their religion to allow clients to feel more trusting only to have lots of money taken from them. Not saying the other recommendations given to you are that way but just something to be aware of.

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