2023-1_What Is a Fee-Only Financial Advisor & Why Does It Matter

What Is a Fee-Only Financial Advisor & Why Does It Matter?

Dr. Nicholas E. Michels, CFP®

There are many types of financial advisors in the market. If you’ve done any research, you’ve likely come across the term “fee-only.” It’s important to know whether or not a financial advisor is fee-only, but you may be wondering what this term means and why it matters. 

At Michels Family Financial, we believe that being a fee-only advisor is the best way to give honest and impartial advice to our clients while helping you avoid some of the top mistakes many people make on the way to retirement. By charging fees for our services, we avoid any potential conflicts of interest that may arise from outside sources. We strive to be transparent about our fees and provide our clients with the best advice possible to help them pursue their financial goals.

What Does Fee-Only Mean? 

Fee-only financial advisors are paid directly by their clients. They don’t receive any types of kickbacks or commissions for recommending certain securities or investments. 

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) believes fee-only financial advisors are the most transparent and unbiased advisors you can come by. 

They typically have one of two titles: either Registered Investment Advisor or CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. If your advisor has one of these titles, you can rest assured that they’re fiduciaries and only have your best interest at heart. 

What Are the Benefits of a Fee-Only Advisor?

If you’re in the market for a financial advisor, here are three reasons why you should choose a fee-only advisor: 

1. No Conflicts of Interest

No matter how pure an advisor’s intentions are, it can be hard to provide unbiased recommendations when they know they’ll get a kickback or commission. But this isn’t the case for fee-only advisors. They have no incentive to push certain products because they don’t sell any products at all. They’re solely compensated by you.    

2. They’re Fiduciaries

Fee-only advisors are fiduciaries, which means they’re legally and ethically required to act in your best interest at all times. They’re loyal, quick to disclose any conflicts of interest, and only give advice based on your unique situation and goals.  

3. You Get Objective Advice 

It’s easy to act on emotion when you’re dealing with your own money. There’s talk of a stock market crash, so you want to change your investing strategy. A family member needs to borrow money, even though you know giving it to them would jeopardize your financial security. You want to live a comfortable life in retirement, but you’re not sure if you’re on track. 

In situations like these, it’s nice to have someone you can go to for objective advice.

How Are Fee-Only Advisors Paid?

There are a few different ways fee-only advisors get paid. Some popular methods include:

  • Hourly. You pay a fixed amount based on the number of hours your advisor spends meeting with you. 
  • Flat fee. This is similar to the hourly method, but you pay one flat fee no matter how many hours you spend meeting with your advisor. 
  • Percentage of assets under management (AUM). You pay a percentage-based fee depending on the value of your investments. This fee is typically around 1%.

Why Michels Family Financial Is Fee-Only

At Michels Family Financial, we understand that each client’s situation is unique. With our team of experienced professionals, we aim to provide you with personalized, unbiased advice and guidance. Our team is dedicated to helping you pursue your financial goals and will be there for you every step of the way.

To begin our simple (and proven) three-step process, please contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation. When we first meet, we’ll discuss what’s important to you and assess your current financial situation in relation to your dreams and desired lifestyle. After we provide a strategic plan tailored to your specific needs, we’ll be your guide, step by step, as we execute your plan together—now and into the future. This is your life. We want to help make it great. To get started, email our office at [email protected]

About Nick

As the founder, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, and National Social Security Advisor at Michels Family Financial, a financial firm founded on principles. Dr. Nicholas E. Michels spends his days helping clients find financial confidence, clarity, and results they desire. With 15 years of experience, Nick is passionate about helping others create a better life for themselves and their families, ensuring that their money is a blessing, not a stress-ridden curse. Nick prioritizes financial education, empowering his clients with the knowledge that will help them achieve financial security, peace, and happiness. Nick strives to build long-lasting relationships so he can design comprehensive financial plans that help them live out their dreams, using his proven Complete Wealth Management process.

As an accomplished basketball player, Nick became a two-time first-team All-American and Academic All-American basketball player at Dallas Baptist University and was DBU’s 2008 Male Athlete of the Year. This opened the door for him to spend many years traveling the world with Athletes in Action. Not only was this an amazing experience, but it also taught him a lot about pursuing something with passion and finding different ways to help and serve others. His athletic background helped lead him to this career because it gave him the confidence and ability to clarify needs and help his clients succeed. 
Outside of work, you can find Nick staying active and spending time with his wife, Chelsea, and their three children, Daegen, Kinsley, and Nicholas Brooks. To learn more about Nick, connect with him on LinkedIn.


All information herein has been prepared solely for information purposes, and it is not an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any security or instrument or to participate in any particular trading strategy. Past performance is no indication of future performance.