Over the 17 plus years that I have built my financial practice, I have lost track of how many times I’ve heard differing opinions on what kind of financial professional I should be. Should I be a commission based advisor or a fee based advisor? Although I have long since addressed this question in my own practice, it is still a topic of contention in the highly competitive financial services industry. The subject is further complicated by financial entertainers who dole out alleged financial wisdom without so much as a 10 minute consultation.
So what’s the difference between a fee only advisor and a commission based advisor and why would you want to work with one or the other? The most common answers invariably include the word bias, objectivity, and impartial. I hear people say things like “a fee only planner can be impartial” or a “commission based advisor is biased in favor of products that offer the biggest payday”. So which point of view is right? As with most things in the financ