The Value of an Independent Advisor

Hiring a financial advisor is perhaps one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. You are trusting someone with more than just your money. A financial advisor will play a big role in shaping your financial, and therefore your personal future. You’ll want someone who is reliable and trustworthy to help you make these critical decisions. That’s why you should make the decision to hire a financial advisor carefully. Your future depends on it.


There are many financial advisors out there who offer all sorts of financial services. For someone who is new to financial planning, this may seem overwhelming. But here’s the thing; what if we told you the best financial advisor to hire is the one who isn’t offering the latest and greatest product or service? As soon as a financial advisor tries to start selling you on something, you should be wary as they likely work for a large corporate firm where they have sales quotas to meet. Is a “salesperson” really the best person to trust with your future?

Millions of Americans have turned to a different model of financial planning because of this exact reason. Increasingly, people are choosing to work with an independent financial advisor. Working with an independent advisor affords you many benefits, opportunities, and solutions that you won’t get at an institutional firm. An independent financial advisor will take the time to understand your financial goals and work closely with you to customize your financial future. Ultimately, you have more choice and better control over your money.


You’ve probably heard the term fiduciary obligation thrown around a lot by people in the financial industry. Some independent advisors are Investment Advisory Representatives (IARs) and work for companies that are Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs). Both are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as state-level regulators. They are bound as fiduciaries to act in their clients’ best financial interest at all times. This is a legal and ethical obligation that ensures you, the customer, are always prioritized during the financial planning process.


An independent financial advisor respects and values your time, and has a personal interest in making sure that your best interests are the highest priority. They focus on personalized, individual attention and an approach to financial planning that is tailored to your unique financial requirements. Working with an independent financial advisor is built around a relationship, not sales quotas or a particular investment vehicle. Independence is the keyword when it comes to financial planning because it means your advisor is not influenced to sell a particular fund or investment product.

Pricing and Fee Transparency

Providing financial advice is a business and financial advisors charge a fee to earn a living. Today there are different ways that financial advisors can charge for their services. 

Fee-Based Professionals

When charging for their services, a fee-based advisor collects a pre-determined amount. This could be an hourly rate or a retainer which might be monthly, quarterly or annual, for financial and investment advice. The fee-based advisor has a fiduciary responsibility to their clients to put the client’s best interests first. Some fee-based advisors also earn income from commission-based transactions such as selling products from mutual funds, insurance companies, or brokerage firms.

Commission-Based Professionals

For the commission-based professional, income is derived from the investment products they sell such as mutual funds, insurance companies, or stock transactions. Commission-based professionals can also be fiduciaries but are not required to be by law. Although the commission-based professional may not legally be required to act as a fiduciary, they are still required to act in your best interest at all times. 

An Independent Financial Professional has the flexibility to work as a fee-based advisor, a commission-based professional, or both, depending on your plan, the products in your financial portfolio, or by your directive. This provides the flexibility and advantages of both approaches, but ultimately you get to decide which fee structure works best for you.


Some firms use a pre-determined checklist of investment products to steer clients towards investments that benefit the firm. On that checklist are insurance products, investments, and other financial planning tools that they offer. This approach is not necessarily in your best interest. 

An independent financial professional always works in your best interest. They help plan and prepare for the life that you want. You can expect them to work closely with you to map out what your life will look like in the future. Working with your goals they anticipate major life events such as purchasing a home, paying for college tuition, and retirement years in advance. This big picture approach integrates your life goals with your financial portfolio.

If you need the insight of a financial advisor, consider working with a Hazard & Siegel Independent Financial Professional. An Independent advisor will make the best decisions for you because they are not affiliated with an investment company, mutual fund, or specific investment product. Hazard & Siegel Independent Financial Professionals are part of a network of registered investment advisors, insurance professionals, and investment brokers. Our independent financial professionals are available to advise you on planning for your future including paying for college, wealth management, retirement planning, paying for long-term care, estate planning, insurance needs, and wealth transfer.

Hazard & Siegel offer clients the flexibility and choice of both fee-based and commission-based platforms, dependent upon what works best for your plan, and what you are most comfortable with. Both approaches have their advantages, but ultimately you as the client get to decide which fee structure or combination of fee structures work best for you.

Talk to Hazard & Siegel when you need a comprehensive lifetime financial solution.

Contact us today at 315-414-0722, or visit our personal investing page.