Initial Planning Engagements

Initial engagements typically cost from $2,400-$4,800 (based on an expected 8-16 hours of work, at a $300 hourly rate). Once I know the details of your situation and what topics you would like me to address, I will provide an estimate of the cost before we sign an agreement.

For retirees and pre-retirees, topics commonly addressed in an initial engagement include:

  • Portfolio review: Looking for ways to improve diversification, reduce costs, and simplify.
  • Am I on track? For pre-retirees, this is an assessment of planned retirement date. For retirees, this is an assessment of whether the current spending level is reasonable.
  • Retirement distribution strategy: Which account(s) to spend from (i.e., tax-efficient spend-down strategy).
  • Social Security: Recommendation as to Social Security filing date(s).
  • Pension: For people with a defined benefit pension, a recommendation as to which pension option to select.
  • Charitable planning: A discussion of tax-efficient ways to give, such as donating of appreciated shares, using donor-advised funds, qualified charitable distributions from traditional IRAs, and so on.
  • Roth conversion analysis: An analysis of whether Roth conversions this year and/or the next two years are likely to be advantageous.

For accumulators (i.e., clients in earlier stages), topics commonly addressed in an initial engagement include:

  • Portfolio review: Looking for ways to improve diversification, reduce costs, and simplify.
  • Am I on track? An assessment of savings rate and intended retirement date.
  • Retirement account contributions: Which account(s) to spend from (tax-efficient spend-down strategy).
  • Charitable planning: A discussion of tax-efficient ways to give, such as donating of appreciated shares, using donor-advised funds, qualified charitable distributions from traditional IRAs, and so on.

Hourly, As-Needed Follow-Up Advice

After going through an initial planning process, further hourly advice is available to clients on an as-needed basis at the same rate of $300/hour.

How Does This Cost Compare?

I always encourage people to shop around when considering working with a financial professional. (And I would be happy to provide a list of other professionals you may want to consider.) If you do shop around, you will find that I am neither the cheapest nor the most expensive.

By way of comparison, a 2020 Kitces Research survey found that the median cost for hourly financial planning was $250. A 2020 survey from Envestnet/MoneyGuide found the hourly average was $257. I am not aware of any surveys from 2021-2022 demonstrating the extent to which advisors have or haven’t raised rates in the last years due to inflation.