Financial planning by the hour

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It’s the start of the new year, you have your financial records in front of you and you want help with sorting it out. Fee-only financial planners, who aren’t influenced by commissions, typically won’t look at you if you have less than $1 million to invest.

But if you need just a few answers about your financial situation and pointers on how to manage your portfolio, at least four brokerage firms now have portfolio advisory services, which will make recommendations on how to manage your assets. You typically will need a portfolio of $100,000 of investable assets and will pay about $250 per session, although at least one firm will refund that fee if you move your portfolio to that company.

If you want tax-planning and portfolio management, another option is two online networks of hourly fee-only financial planners—Cambridge Advisors and Garrett Planning Network. The cost varies by financial planner, but you’ll receive a free initial consultation and an estimate of the cost. You can choose to have a one-time checkup or continuing financial advice. You can expect to pay $100–$300 per hour for pure advice. And investment management—where the planner moves the money for you—typically requires at least $100,000 in investable assets.