Another good bet could be a planner in the Garrett Planning Network, a group of certified financial planners who all pledge to make themselves available for smaller projects for an hourly fee. All of the members of this network are CFPs or they’re actively working towards this designation. It may be that you just have a handful of questions, and someone here could help you without charging too much.

A growing number of financial planners make money only when you pay them a fee for their counsel. These independent financial planners don’t get a cut from life insurers or fund companies. You might pay them a flat fee, such as $1,500, for a financial plan. Or you could pay an annual fee, often 1% of all the assets—investment, retirement, college-savings and other accounts—they’re minding for you. Others charge by the hour, like lawyers.

In general, investment managers who have at least $25 million in assets under management (AUM) or who provide advice to investment companies offering mutual funds are required to be registered investment advisors (RIA). As a registered advisor, they must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and state securities administrators. It also means they accept the fiduciary duty to their clients. As a fiduciary, these advisors promise to act in their client's best interests or face criminal liability. Firms or advisors managing less than $25 million in assets typically register only in their states of operation.

It’s best to go with a certified financial planner (CFP), which is an instant signal of credibility – but not a guarantee of same. To start, ask people like you if they can recommend a planner. If you have kids, ask a colleague who also has children. If you’re single and just out of college, check with a friend in the same boat. If possible, you want to find a planner with successful experience advising clients in the same stage of life as you.
Some investment managers are also financial planners, providing holistic financial advice on topics like cash-flow management, taxes, insurance and estate planning. Others work with high-net-worth clients to address their financial planning and investment management needs, as well as coordinate the services of other professionals, such as lawyers and accountants. This is often referred to as wealth management. Wealth management offers more areas of expertise, such as estate and tax planning, accounting services and retirement planning in addition to investment management. If you need a hand choosing investments for your IRA, investment management could be helpful. Wealth management would probably be overkill.
Marriage. Many couples wait to explore life insurance options until they have children or purchase a home, says Divam Mehta, founder of Mehta Financial Group in Glen Allen, Virginia. "While those are the standard benchmarks, I recommend searching for appropriate life insurance solutions as soon as marriage for a myriad of reasons," Mehta says. "First, the foundation of any financial plan should be insurance. Second, when individuals enter marriage, they are not only forming a union of the souls, but also a union of finances, most notably debt. Many young couples will have student loan debt, car loans and or credit card debt that lenders can possibly go after. The third and most important reason that marriage is an appropriate moment for life insurance is that that it the sooner you start, the more affordable it is, and the more time you have to accumulate cash value if it is a permanent policy."
In this Specialization, you will understand how investment strategies are designed to reach financial goals in a global context. You will learn the theory that underlies strong investment decisions, as well as practical, real-world skills that you can apply when discussing investment proposals with your advisor, managing your personal assets or your client’s investment portfolio. You will start by developing a global understanding of financial markets and what impacts rational and irrational behaviors have in finance at the micro and macro levels. You will then learn how to adequately build and manage a portfolio with a long-term view while gaining an appreciation for novel research advances in finance and related areas as well as future trends that are shaping the investment management industry. In the final Capstone Project, you will create a sensible 5-year investment plan that accounts for an investor's goals and constraints in a dynamic economic landscape. Key speakers from UBS, our corporate partner, will contribute to this specialization by providing you with practical insights they have gathered through years of experience working for the world’s largest wealth manager. Director of this Specialization and main teaching contributor: Dr. Michel Girardin, Lecturer in Macro-Finance, University of Geneva
If you’re just starting out, a robo-advisor may be enough to meet your needs. Automation has enabled traditional firms like Vanguard and Fidelity, as well as online-only companies like Betterment and Wealthfront, to substantially lower the price of portfolio management. These companies are ideal if you need investment management, but not holistic financial planning.

The manager’s investment decisions are based on a variety of factors, starting with your savings goals (retirement, education, a large purchase) and time frame. You’ll also answer questions to help them assess your risk tolerance, or your ability to endure swings in investment returns and stock market fluctuations. Market conditions, historical performance, tax efficiency and investment fees also inform the manager’s investing strategy.


It is important to look at the evidence on the long-term returns to different assets, and to holding period returns (the returns that accrue on average over different lengths of investment). For example, over very long holding periods (e.g. 10+ years) in most countries, equities have generated higher returns than bonds, and bonds have generated higher returns than cash. According to financial theory, this is because equities are riskier (more volatile) than bonds which are themselves more risky than cash.
The term 'asset management' is often used to refer to the investment management of investment funds, while the more generic term 'fund management' may refer to all forms of institutional investment as well as investment management for private investors. Investment managers who specialize in advisory or discretionary management on behalf of (normally wealthy) private investors may often refer to their services as money management or portfolio management often within the context of "private banking". Wealth management by financial advisors takes a more holistic view of a client, with allocations to particular asset management strategies.
The planner might have a specialty in investments, taxes, retirement, and/or estate planning. Further, the financial planner may hold various licenses or designations, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), or Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA), among others. To obtain each of these licensures, the financial planner must complete a different set of education, examination, and work history requirements.
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