What Do Financial Advisor Do and How Do They Make Money?

If you have to do better with your finances or develop a financial strategy for the future, consulting a financial advisor is an intelligent move.

But it is important to consider how they are compensated before you consult with a financial planner.

You want to get an idea about the fees associated with this and also how other ways of payment will persuade them to make those recommendations. Following are some of the ways financial advisors earn money.

What Do Financial Advisors Do?

You may ask what a financial consultant is doing. In general, these professionals help you decide what to do with your capital, like investments or other measures.

Your financial advisor is like a partner. Let’s say that in 15 years you want to retire or to take your child in 8 years to a private university.

You will require a qualified specialist with the correct licenses to help implement your strategies to fulfill your objectives.

 Together you and the consultant discuss multiple subjects, including the money to invest, the types of accounts that you need, policy types including long-term care, lifecycle, handicap, and estate and fiscal preparation.

The financial consultant is also a teacher. Part of the consultant’s work is to make you realize what your potential aspirations are about.

Detailed assistance with financial matters can be a part of the education process. These subjects may include budgeting and investing at the beginning of the relationship.

The consultant will help you understand complicated finance, insurance, and tax issues as you progress into your experience. The awareness of financial wellbeing is the first step in the financial advice process.

Without understanding where you are now, you cannot prepare for the future properly. In general, a lengthy written questionnaire is asked to be completed.

Your replies allow the consultant to appreciate the situation and ensure that no relevant detail is overlooked. This will help the advisor to better assess your financial situation and prepare the financial strategy properly.

Income Streams of Financial Advisors

Financial advisors earn their income in three main ways. Following are brief details regarding these;

Income from Fees

Often finance consultants and companies receive their customers’ fees directly. A management fee is also paid, for wealth management services, for a share of the funds they control on your behalf.

If you are managed by a financial planner for $2,000,000 and are charged a management fee of 1 percent, you are paying $20,000 a year to the advisor. These charges can also be paid quarterly if the advisor accepts quarterly payments.

Fee proportions will vary based on the amount you spent on a consultant. Certain companies drop their fee percentage with larger managing amounts.

Few consultants often incorporate performance charges in their fee plans, which enable them to charge customers extra rates while promising more than normal or extra returns on the investments.

Advisors may also bill for financial advisory services at an hourly or flat rate. For example, for financial planning a company can charge $300 an hour, or for one particular service a flat fee of $5,000.

Income from Commissions

A financial consultant may also make the money from commissions in a commission-based fee structure. These fees are imposed by recommending and selling such financial instruments to a customer, for instance, mutual funds or annuities.

For e.g., your broker advises that you spend $10,000 in a mutual fund and that they collect a fee of 3 percent that earns $300. If they sell an annuity to a customer, a similar commission will come their way.

Income from Salaries

Another way in which financial advisors earn money is through salaries/wages from the company that hires them and not bonuses or commissions.

These consultants may also gain other benefits or rewards like bonuses to fulfill certain goals, such as the annual onboarding of a certain number of potential customers.

Structures of Fees

A company’s sources of revenue decide if a fee-only or fee-based advisory is considered. A consultant with a fee-only structure does not charge other commissions.

Instead, customers are charged for utilities provided and it is the only source of revenue. This includes both, the fee charged on a percentage basis or on an hourly basis.

In comparison, a fee-based consultant generates income from both customer payments and commissions. They charge premiums for the management of your funds or financial preparation, but they still earn in the form of commissions.

If an advisor charges commissions, it might be a possible conflict of interest as they encourage the consultant to approve other goods and purchases.

Make sure that the recommendation is personalized to your goals and should not relate to how much the adviser will earn if you decide to purchase an annuity. In this respect, it is better to use of a fee-only adviser.

When matching fee only with fee-based counselors one important point to remember is whether or not the counselor is fiduciary.

A trustee shall be bound by a higher ethical obligation and shall therefore behave in your best interests. As part of their registration with the SEC, all licensed investment advisors (RIA) are subject to such a requirement.

Such a requirement can also be a mitigation factor when choosing a fee-based consultant; although such a consultant is encouraged to suggest certain ways forward, they also need to be in your best interest.      


Financial consultants earn their living in many different ways and being an investor, it is very crucial to find the financial advisor whose fees and commissions match your needs and budget.

Be sure to inquire about any charges that you do not recognize when checking the fee schedules. It is also useful to ensure that you are kept up to date on a fiducial level while you deal with a fee-based consultant; you might also wonder if you can decide which investment items to recommend.

If you do your consultancy fee research in advance, you can consider what you are paying for and how your consultant is encouraged to act in your best interest.