Check 'Em Out

Before you business with any "financial adviser," make sure they are a registered investment adviser (RIA) which means they must act as a fiduciary and then check out their fees through the SEC's Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website at:

http://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov

Here's how to naviigate this slight confusing site (hey, it's the government):

First, go to the site and click "Investment Adviser Search" in the left column, then type in a "Firm Name" in the box and hit "Search'"

Next, Click the "Investment Adviser Firm" link (if they don't have one, they are probably not an RIA firm):

If they are state registered, like we are (until next year) click on your state or the "SEC" link:

This will take you to the Form ADV page. Scroll way down to the section "Part Two" brochures in left column:

Click on "Part Two Brochures:"

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Click on the link for the most recent ADV Part 2:

This will open a PDF file of the ADV on file with regulators. Page down to the "Table of Contents" and find the "Fees and Compensation" section:

Here you will find the firm's fee structure in "plain English." Be sure you note whether the fees are annualized (ours are, but some firm's quote quaterly fees to make the amount seem smaller - 0.5% quarterly x 4 quarters equals a whopping 2% per year!):

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That's it. You have now done your "due-diligence."