By designing a financial planning compensation strategy, you’ll not only monetize your advice, but also help your clients understand its value.

Are you being compensated for the advice that you provide?

While you’re likely doing a lot for your clients, in addition to building their investment strategy, you may not be charging for these additional services and advice as a financial advisor. By designing a financial planning compensation strategy, you’ll not only monetize your advice, but also help your clients understand its value. Charging a fee for your professional advice can also create a new income stream for your practice. However, if you’re not under LPL’s Corporate RIA, your options will be different.

Here are 5 ways to create a new income stream from your professional advice:

1. Create a menu of fee-based financial planning options

Sometimes a client simply needs a one-off consultation to help them make a decision, whereas other clients may want to have you provide your advice and opinions on an ongoing, as-needed basis. They may need everyday advice or more personalized plans for specific needs, such as Estate Planning or a charitable giving plan. Or, you may discover clients simply want one comprehensive plan that will carry them from now until the next major financial milestone, like retirement.

You can price each of these options separately so your services appeal to a range of clients. Once you’ve determined which offerings you want to provide, and how much you want to charge for each, you can then build out your unique service menu.

2. Share your fee-for-advice structure with both current and new clients

Once you’ve established what your offerings will be, publicize your new menu on your website and social media for prospective clients, and consider talking through your new, additional options with existing clients. Many will likely choose to continue their current approach (or you may choose to offer them courtesy services based on prior arrangements), but others may be excited to discover new options for working with you.

For example, you may have clients with younger family members who are in a different financial life stage, and aren’t ready to invest, but need advice or a plan to pursue a financial milestone, such as saving for a home purchase. 

Being up-front and transparent with clients about your planning fees is key, according to Nathaniel Moore, CFP® and founder of Agape Planning Partners. Moore was able to replace one-third of his income with fee-based planning services.

“The more upfront and transparent you are with fees, the less I feel it’s an issue,” he says. Before Moore meets with new clients, he directs them to his practice’s website, where his service options and related fees are clearly laid out. “Every single person I’ve presented my new fee menu to has said yes to it.”

Moore suggests treating existing clients differently, though, unless you no longer want to offer your prior service model. “If I have a client who’s already paying an asset-based fee, and their service-level requirements haven’t changed, I do financial planning services for them on a complimentary basis,” he says.

3. Provide advice without conditions

You can offer paid advice services to clients (or potential clients) in need of a one-time consultation, with no strings attached. For many prospective or younger clients, this option is a great way for them to meet you and try out your advice, without feeling pressured to transfer assets to you or purchase a product.

Then, if the client (or potential client) decides they want to have you implement your recommendations, you can charge for your services going forward, but either way, you know you’ll be compensated for your time and expertise—even if that person never becomes a traditional, full-time client.

There will always be a handful of investors who are unable or unwilling to transfer assets to you, but still need advice. Offering a fee-for-advice model can enable you to profitably serve more client types than ever before, such as HENRYs (High Earners Not Rich Yet), business owners, investors with retirement plan assets, and self-directed investors.

4. Set up an easy payment mechanism

With financial planning technologies like AdvicePay, you can easily bill clients for your services, automate monthly payments (for clients seeking ongoing advice), and track payments on a digital dashboard. With AdvicePay, clients can opt to pay you by credit card or ACH, and you can invoice and receive payments digitally for one-off consultations, or on an ongoing basis. You can also charge for your advice by journaling from an LPL non-retirement account or by check.

5. Widen your planning scope

As your clients reach new financial milestones, their advice needs will change as a result. The depth of advice you provide a new college graduate will be very different than what you might provide a client entering retirement, or one who needs an estate plan, or is making end-of-life decisions about asset distribution. Specialized situations may require professional planning expertise, so if you can bill yourself as an advisor who can offer both generalized and specialized advice and plans, you can expand your financial planning candidate pool.

Luckily, you don’t have to be an expert in specialized plans to offer them. LPL’s Financial Planning and Consulting group can provide complimentary planning consultations and strategize with you on planning strategies. You can also submit a plan for a second opinion or set of eyes before delivering it to a client. Current LPL advisors can fill out this short Financial Planning Group Case Consulting form to get started.

Additional planning resources

If you want to offer deeper and more personalized financial guidance to your clients—but don’t have the ability to take on more work—consider LPL’s Paraplanning Services. Using the experienced Paraplanning Services team, you can deliver more financial advice, to more clients, at scale.

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