Finding an affordable financial planner seems like an activity reserved for the top 1%, like hiring a butler or live-in chef. Only the very wealthy can afford a financial planner. Many assume this is true and so they don’t even take the time to look to see if there’s an option right for them.

Fortunately, that’s not the case. Every income level can find a planner to suit their needs, whether they have $100,000 in assets or $10,000. Some non-profits offer financial counseling for those who truly can’t afford help.

Learn how you can find an affordable financial planner, no matter what your budget is.

Choose a Fee-Only Planner

No matter your budget, you should focus on finding a fee-only financial planner. A fee-only planner is the best option because they have a fiduciary duty to provide you with advice and recommendations best suited for you.

A fee-based planner works on commission, earning money when you purchase a product they recommend. That might seem like a cheaper deal at first, but you could end up buying a service or stock you don’t actually need, costing you more money in the long run.

Fee-only planners have set fees they charge, which include a monthly retainer, a one-time charge or a percentage of your assets under management. Try to get a few different quotes so you can compare and see which planner offers the best deal.

The least expensive option is to pay for a one-time consultation, such as hiring someone to look over your portfolio and tell you if you’re missing something or if you’re not investing enough. They can give you a game plan to follow, which you can implement on your own time.

Go here to see the Fee-Only Financial Planners on GuideVine.

Get a Yearly Checkup

You don’t have to pay a planner to manage your assets year-round. Instead, you can hire them to meet with you once a year for a “State of the Union”-type meeting about your finances. From there, they’ll go over your goals, your current assets and if you need to make any adjustments.

It’s much cheaper to see a planner once or twice a year instead of having them take care of your finances for 12 months. The only caveat is that if you’re the type to sell off all your stocks when the market goes down, having a financial planner in charge 24/7 might be a better option.

Do you need help finding an advisor to schedule a yearly checkup? Book a Free Appointment with a GuideVine Concierge today.

Ask People You Know

Marguerita Cheng of Blue Ocean Global Wealth says if you’re looking for a financial planner, you should ask the people around you if they have any recommendations. You’re likely to associate with those in similar income brackets, so it’s likely that if they can afford a planner, you can too.

When you talk to your friends, ask them how much they pay for their planner and what they get in return. Costs can vary depending on what you need your planner to do so don’t be surprised if you get a different quote than what your friend did. Your neighbor might need a financial advisor to help them with estate planning, while you want one to determine how you’ll save for your child’s college fund.

Talk to Your HR Department

If you have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan through work, you also likely have access to financial advice through the investment firm handling your 401k or 403b.

Because of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, these planners can provide more support than before without incurring any liability. The advice can either be free or at a discount, depending on your employer’s agreement with the firm.

Research shows that participants who take advantage of this free service end up increasing how much they put away for retirement and they’re also less likely to panic when the market tanks.

Use a Robo Advisor

If paying a $500 one-time fee is still too much, you might consider using a robo advisor to fulfill your financial planning needs. While a robo advisor won’t be able to answer specific questions, they can help point out the holes in your finances and suggest solutions.

For example, when you sign up with a robo advisor, they will ask a series of questions to determine what you’re looking for. If you’re trying to save for retirement, they’ll ask how much you have currently saved, what you earn, how old you are, when you want to retire and how much income you want to have in retirement. Then, they’ll recommend a savings plan based on your answers.

Most robo advisors are far less expensive than an in-person financial planner and are a good starting point for those who can’t yet afford a CFP. Plus, robo advisors will only recommend low-fee ETFs and mutual funds that won’t cost you very much.

Why Use GuideVine?

GuideVine vets all its planners before adding them to the network, so you can be confident you’re getting an advisor who has your best interests in mind. The GuideVine promise assures users that its planners are licensed, accredited and experienced in this industry. Use the GuideVine search tool to help you find a planner that fits your budget and watch videos of all the planners to see which one matches your personality.

The search feature is easy to use, but you can also contact a GuideVine concierge for free if you’re having trouble finding a planner. There’s no cost and no need to register. You’re also not obligated to use a GuideVine planner if you change your mind.


Zina Kumok

Zina Kumok

Zina Kumok is a personal finance freelance writer. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Learnvest and DailyWorth. She writes a blog about how to be mindful with your money. Follow Zina on Twitter and ConsciousCoins.com