How Much do Fee-only Financial Advisors Charge?

The fees can vary based on several factors, including the services provided, the complexity of your financial situation, and the advisor's experience and qualifications.
How Much do Fee-only Financial Advisors Charge
Article Overview

When it comes to managing your finances, finding a trustworthy, reliable, and objective financial planner is of utmost importance. In Canada, fee-only financial planners have gained popularity due to their transparent fee structures and unbiased advice. So, how much do fee-only financial advisors charge in Canada? The fees can vary based on several factors, including the services provided, the complexity of your financial situation, and the advisor’s experience and qualifications. Fee structures commonly used by fee-only advisors include hourly rates, project fees, and retainer fees.

How Much do Fee-only Financial Advisors Charge?

Hourly rates typically range from $250 to $500 per hour, while project fees can be anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 or more. 

Retainer fees, which cover comprehensive financial planning services, can vary from $2,000 to $20,000 or more annually. It’s important to consider the value provided by the advisor, their expertise, and the level of services offered when evaluating the fees.

How to choose a fee-only financial advisor

When choosing a fee-only financial advisor in Canada, it’s essential to consider several factors beyond the fee. The experience and qualifications of the advisor play a crucial role in determining their fees. Highly experienced advisors or those with advanced certifications, such as CFP, may charge higher fees. Additionally, the scope of services provided by the advisor should align with your financial needs and goals.

Another thing to consider is the financial advisor’s specialization. Some fee-only advisors specialize in investment and retirement planning, while others offer holistic financial planning services. It’s important to assess whether the fees charged by the advisor are commensurate with the level of service you require.

Transparency is another vital aspect to consider. Choose an advisor who is transparent about their fee structure, explains it clearly, and prioritizes your best interests.

Lastly, the personality and integrity of the advisor are important factors. Working with a fee-only financial planner is likely to be a long-term relationship. The financial planner acts as a financial accountability partner and sounding board for you. So having someone you click with is definitely something to consider.

Remember, finding the right fee-only financial advisor is an investment in your financial future, so take the time to evaluate and select the one that fits your needs and offers value for your overall financial life.


The cost of a fee-only planner can vary as fee-only planners employ different fee structures, including hourly rates, project fees, or retainer fees. Hourly rates typically range from $250 to $500 per hour, while project fees can be anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 or more. Retainer fees, covering comprehensive financial planning services, can vary from $2,000 to $20,000 or more annually. 

The main difference between fee-based and fee-only advisors lies in how they earn their compensation. Fee-only advisors solely charge fees for their services and do not earn commissions from financial product sales. This fee structure reduces potential conflicts of interest and ensures advisors act in their clients’ best interests. On the other hand, fee-based advisors may charge fees for their services but can also earn commissions or receive other forms of compensation through financial product sales. As a result, fee-based advisors may have the incentive to recommend specific products to earn commissions. When working with a fee-only advisor, you can expect a transparent fee structure and unbiased advice.

The cost of hiring a financial advisor can vary based on their fee structure. You can expect a starting rate of $250 per hour.

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Written by:

Jim Pan, CFP, MFA-P

Jim is a dedicated, fee and advice only independent Certified Financial Planner with a focus on supporting healthcare business owners during their crucial growth phase. His expertise lies in offering comprehensive solutions to minimize taxes while embracing a holistic approach. With a career spanning back to 2010, Jim has established a strong presence in the financial industry. He proudly holds a range of designations, including Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and Master Financial Advisor - Philanthropy (MFA-P). He is currently pursuing additional designations and qualifications to better serve his clients and community. Beyond his qualifications, Jim is a member and an esteemed participant in the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), an exclusive global association comprising the top 1% of financial advisors. Jim's commitment extends to the community, where he spearheads numerous charitable fundraising events and plays an active role in enhancing the well-being of others. Additionally, he has contributed significantly by serving on the board of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Vancouver. Currently, he volunteers with Junior Achievement of British Columbia (JABC) to present personal finance topics to youths.

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