(ABC4 Utah) Janeen is joined by Brian Decker, Owner and Founder of Decker Retirement Planning today to talk about what our viewers should be aware of with the fees in the financial planning industry.

According to Brian, The first thing viewers should know is that if you are dealing with a Fiduciary, ALL fees, by law, have to be exposed. That is NOT the same or true if you are dealing with a banker or broker.

Brian also gave us a few common examples of HUGE fees that are not disclosed:

  1.  The Variable Annuity – We talked about this two weeks ago.  Usually has a commission of about 6% which comes out of your principal and is not disclosed.  The broker gets a fee every year you own it.  The mutual fund companies get a fee every year you own it and the insurance company gets a fee every year you own it.  Three layers of fees that usually add up to 5% to 7% a year before you make a dime.  None of these fees are disclosed.
  2. Non-Traded REITs – Tons of front-end fees here, usually about 12% of commissions that come out of YOUR money, yet no disclosures.  These products usually do not show you their market value for 3 to 5 years, so you have no idea that the 12% commission just hit your principal.
  3. C-Share Mutual Funds – These are the worst.  You tell the broker/banker that you want NO front-end or back-end fees on your mutual funds.  The banker/broker agrees and sells you a C-Share mutual fund.  What just happened?  He/She just doubled your mutual fund fees from 1% to 2% and you were never told.  No disclosure.

These are three examples of how egregious fees of 5-7%, 12% and the doubling of your fund fees were never disclosed. A Fiduciary, by law, would never do that.

If you’d like to make sure that you’re dealing with a Fiduciary, you’ll want to ask them three questions.

  1.  Are they Series 7 licensed?  If so, they are NOT a fiduciary. If they are Series 65 licensed, they ARE a Fiduciary.
  2. Is the company able to work with any and all financial products? Are they independent? The big banks and brokerage firms are NOT independent, if so, they are NOT fiduciaries.
  3. Is the structure of their company an RIA, Registered Investment Advisory company? If so, they ARE Fiduciaries.

If you want to learn more, visit their website and pick up your free Safer Retirement toolkit. The free toolkit includes 2 books and a sample income plan to help you learn more about what your retirement could look like. Brian and the team at Decker Retirement Planning are here to help.

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