The Fee Only Difference

National surveys show that investors are disillusioned with the financial services industry. Moreover, the fear that investment advisors and financial planners are not squarely focused on serving individual client needs is widespread. This is easy to understand once one takes into account the numerous conflicts of interest, outrageous fee structures and limited practice scope of most investment advisors. Some firms simply try to sell you products and receive commissions. The responsibility for the undeniable flaws within this industry cannot be blamed on any one piece of the financial system, but rather must be viewed collectively. For savvy investors, surrounded by unbiased, fee-only financial professionals, there are a number of worthy solutions. However, for most investors, the motivations and structure of most financial firms results in an advisor’s and client’s interests being misaligned, to the detriment of the client.

Don’t allow yourself to be confused by the product sales organizations that have coined a meaningless, new term, “fee-based,” to cloud the issue and confuse the consumer. “Fee-only” means no product commissions. Period. “Fee-based” means if the client can be sold enough commission products, planning fees are waived. That’s like going to a 20% off sale for items that were already marked up 30% beyond normal!

Carnick & Kubik is strictly a “fee-only” firm. This is important for you, and important for us. As a fee-only manager, our sole focus is on your best interests. We do not accept commissions, kickbacks, or any other kind of payments because we “steered” you to a certain investment decision that somehow benefited us. When we make recommendations, our only motivation—and, quite literally, responsibility—is to provide the very best guidance possible. This is important for us as well: it defines our mission. The cornerstone of that mission is to provide our clients with the most professional—and ethical—management possible.

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