I'm an independent Financial Advisor. Here's what that ~actually~ means.

Posted by Anthony Carlton
Anthony Carlton

Everywhere you look there’s advice on how to make this ‘your’ year the one where you exercise more, eat healthier, and get your financial life in order. 

On a personal level, you might have set a goal to save more, pay off debt, and creating a plan for your money this year.

As a benefits professional, you might have noticed the growing trend of financial wellness, and hope to bring guidance and support to your workplace. Either way, you might be considering the help of a Financial Advisor.


What is an independent Financial Advisor?

Before you set up that first call, there’s something you should know...

Not all financial advisors are the same. In fact, the title ‘financial advisor’ is given to a variety of people, and each one may offer something different. Investment advisors, insurance salespeople, and financial planners are all considered financial advisors.     

So, what makes independent financial advisors stand out?

As an independent financial advisor with LearnLux, I get to focus on one thing offering unbiased advice that helps you make smart decisions with your income, so you can enjoy today and plan for an exciting tomorrow. 

The independent part means I have no financial products to sell, and I don’t rely on commissions for a paycheck. My interests are aligned with your goals, and nothing else. 



So if you’re thinking of hiring a financial advisor this year, here’s what to look for. 


Independent advisors are transparent.

“How do financial advisors get paid?” 

Hiring a financial advisor is a serious investment, and you want to know exactly what you’re signing up for.

That’s why it’s important to ask the right questions, like how an advisor makes money. 

Fee-only financial advisors charge for advice and projects, like creating a custom financial plan. Some charge hourly, monthly, yearly, or as a percentage of the investments they manage for you. 

No matter how they charge for advice, fee-only financial advisors are the most free from conflict, because they don’t make commissions from selling financial products. 

In other words, their pay is aligned with giving you the best advice possible, which is how it should be. 


Independent advisors are fiduciaries. 

“Are all financial advisors required to do what’s best for me?” 

Only fiduciary financial advisors are required to always do what’s best for their clients. It’s the highest standard of client care, and it’s an advantage for both you and the advisor.  

Think about it this way…

Everyone’s financial situation is different. So naturally, I need to get to know you before I can offer personalized advice. 

This might include questions about your account balances, income, spending habits, and maybe even past financial mistakes. Talking about money can be uncomfortable, even with a financial pro. But it’s also the best way to create a plan that works for you, which is what we both want. 

Being a fiduciary communicates that I’m on your team, and nobody else's. It’s the reason why I’m able to build strong relationships with clients, because they’re built on trust. 



Independent advisors give personalized advice.

“What exactly can a financial advisor help me accomplish?”

Most believe a financial advisor is someone who helps invest their money. They aren’t wrong, but there’s a lot more to it. 

Investing is a small slice of a larger pie that makes up your financial life. The bulk of my client conversations actually have nothing to do with investing.

Instead, I help people navigate the money essentials - like how to set up a budget, save for retirement, pay off student loans, and plan for major life changes like getting married and having kids. 

But this isn’t how all advisors do it. Each one has their own approach. Some are generalists who help you with the big-picture, like holistic financial planners. Others are specialists, like advisors who work exclusively with retirees, or ones who focus solely on investment advice. 



It’s important to find a financial advisor who matches your specific needs and wants. Don’t underestimate the importance of research, interviewing, and asking the right questions before hiring someone. 


Why I partner with LearnLux.

To make financial advice affordable and accessible to more people, there has to be a shift from the current way of doing things.

Companies like LearnLux are working hard to create the future of financial advice, which is part digital, and part human advisor.

This exciting shift means I get to work with younger generations who are typically ignored by old-school advisors because they don’t have thousands to invest yet.

But there’s also a broader goal we’re collectively working towards at LearnLux - making money less stressful. Through education, tools, and unbiased advice, we want to build real solutions that help millions of people improve their financial health.



To me, that’s the most powerful use of my expertise as an independent financial advisor. 

About the Author:

Anthony is a Financial Planner for LearnLux who works virtually with clients located all over the United States. He particularly enjoys working with Young Professionals who are navigating important financial decisions for the first time. His approach is to offer practical advice & education that helps people feel confident about tackling their financial goals. Anthony calls Chicago home. When he’s not working, he enjoys exploring the city’s unique neighborhoods by train, bike, or on foot.

Tags: financial wellness, financial advisors

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