When it comes to working with a financial advisor, Advice-Only is above and beyond Fee-Only. Advice-Only means:
1. The advisor’s firm is a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) registered with the SEC or at the state level.
2. The advisor acts as a fiduciary and puts your interest first.
3. The advisor has Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) certification, other professional credentials, or qualifying experience.
4. The advisor does NOT sell products that pay the advisor a commission (cash-value life insurance, annuities, load funds, individual muni bonds, non-traded REITs, limited partnerships, …).
So far that’s the same as Fee-Only. Advice-Only goes above and beyond Fee-Only by adding:
5. The advisor does NOT upsell you on managing your money for a recurring fee either as a percentage of your asset value or on a monthly or annual retainer.
6. The advisor does NOT, for a kickback or markup, refer you to someone else who will manage your money for a recurring fee. Recommending unaffiliated financial institutions is OK.
7. The advisor strictly offers his or her advice for a fee. The advisor treats you as a competent adult able to follow the advice. Assistance in opening accounts or filling out forms is OK. Accepting prepayment for follow-ups or incidental questions that come up is OK.
That’s the way how seeing a doctor works, and honestly the way it should be. You get the evaluation and the advice and you follow the advice.