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The Man With the Plan

It's time to decide what kind of financial planner you need.

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This story appears in the February 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

As hard as it can be to admit it's time to bring in a personal financial planner, the harder work lies in actually hiring somebody. Do you want a certified financial planner, a personal financial specialist or a chartered financial analyst? Do you want to pay an hourly fee, a yearly percentage of assets or sales commissions? Where, in short, do you start?

Jordan Goodman, author of Everyone's Money Book, says the first decision is which compensation structure you're comfortable with. Allowing planners to earn commissions is the least costly, but some people fear it compromises their objectivity. Paying an hourly fee or percentage of assets eliminates the potential conflict, but it raises the upfront cost. And in between, some planners charge fees but also accept commissions for specific products.

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