Finding a financial planner to help you manage both your big-picture financial future and everyday financial needs can be overwhelming. There are a ton of options to choose from and each charges for their services in different ways. Sometimes the fee structures can even conflict with the advice they give.
However, Facet offers online-based Certified Financial Planners™ to help you plan your financial future for a flat yearly membership fee. You don’t have to pay commissions or assets under management fees.
You will receive a dedicated financial planner that will meet with your regularly but is also available year round if questions arise during the year.
What is Facet?
Facet is an online financial planning firm that puts your interests first by offering financial planning at an affordable price. They focus on your financial health and wellness.
Rather than charging you based on the assets they manage for you, Facet charges an annual flat rate for their advice and investment management. This is preferable because you don’t have to think about the potential impact commissions may have on the advice you receive.
Once you build a nest egg, you don’t have to worry about paying high fees just because you have a lot of assets, either.
Facet provides its financial planning services through the many Certified Financial Planners™ (CFP®) they have on staff.
After an initial call, you’re set up with a dedicated CFP® that best meets your particular situation. This CFP® will be your personal Certified Financial Planner™ you get access to for any of your financial questions.
An important distinction of using only CFP® financial advisors is the fact that each CFP® is a fiduciary. That means they’re required to put your interests first.
Pros & cons
- Fee-based model means no conflicts of interest — Advisors don’t receive commissions based on selling policies that may or may not be a good fit for you.
- Dedicated CFP® — Someone knows your personal situation and can advise you as your needs evolve.
- No cancellation fees — If you decide to quit using the service, you aren’t charged a fee to cancel. (Fees you’ve already paid are not reimbursed.)
- High cost for some — Can be expensive if you don’t have a large nest egg started.
- Can’t meet in person — If face-to-face communication is key to your success, Facet won’t be a good fit.
- Many different plans to choose from — The different pricing levels can seem overwhelming and confusing, but an advisor can help you choose a plan.
How does Facet work?
Facet starts by first getting to know your personal situation, then pointing you in the right direction.
Facet begins the process with an initial phone call. It lasts for about half an hour and is a goal-setting and introductory phone call. There’s nothing you need to do to prepare for it.
Using your information, Facet can set you up with one of their CFP®s for an initial complimentary financial review. This part takes less than an hour.
After the review, you can hire this company on an ongoing basis. Once you’re a client, you can meet with your CFP® whenever you need to and can ask whatever questions you may have.
Facet goes beyond the simple investment management provided by robo-advisors.
First, they will work with you to understand your values, mindset, and goals. They will also answer all of your initial questions and give your current financial plan a good once over.
Then they will get into the nitty-gritty by looking at your budget and your financial foundation including your cash reserves (emergency fund) and debt levels. If you have debts you need to get rid of they will help you set up a plan for eliminating your debts.
They will also create an investment plan and set up your investment accounts, as well review your insurance policies to gaps to make sure you are properly insured.
They provide investment management and comprehensive financial planning services, which may include the following:
Retirement planning: Your CFP® at Facet will put together an action plan to help you reach your retirement goals, as well as help you to understand the strategies behind it.
Education planning: If you have children, Facet presents options to pay for their future education.
Life planning: Your advisor will help you to plan for what’s most important in your life.
Asset management: This is the investment management part of the Facet program. It will include constructing a well-diversified portfolio to help you achieve your long-term goals.
Income tax planning: This service involves minimizing the impact of taxes while implementing your financial plan and investing activities.
Insurance planning: If you don’t know a whole lot about insurance, your financial advisor at Facet can help. They’ll recommend the best types of plans to provide specific protections you need for yourself and your family.
Estate planning: Facet will work with your personal attorney to create an estate plan to provide for your loved ones after your death.
Legacy planning: This involves creating a plan to make provisions for either your family or a favorite charity. It will enable you to structure your finances in such a way that you will be able to provide for the people or organizations you care for most.
Retirement income: Apart from retirement planning, it’s also important to successfully manage income in retirement. Your financial advisor will take into consideration your income from Social Security and pensions, in creating a distribution plan from your retirement savings.
How much does Facet cost?
Facet membership fees range from $2,400/year to $8,000/year – and most clients fall in the middle of that range depending on the complexity of your financial landscape.
When you break it down month-by-month, you can pay as little as $167 per month to as much as $667 per month for their services. It just depends on your needs. A Facet CFP® can even help you choose your employee benefits and provide assistance in making the right decisions with your company’s stock option plan.
Here is what you can expect if you become a Facet client.
In addition to services and being able to contact your CFP® whenever you need, Facet also offers a dashboard to help you keep track of your finances.
The dashboard allows you to link your financial accounts so you get a real-time view of your finances without logging into multiple accounts.
The dashboard also highlights your goals and objectives, as well as key metrics like emergency fund status, savings rate, debt score, credit score, and more making it easy to see a snapshot of your overall financial picture.
One of the big benefits of using Facet over a robo-advisor is Facet’s comprehensive planning offerings. They’ll take a look at your entire financial situation, including your retirement investments, to make sure your investment strategy is aligned with your long-term goals.
And rather than focusing only on managing and growing your assets, Facet can help you with other important parts of your financial plan as well. For example, Facet takes a goals-focused approach to your investment management, using the things that are important to you to inform your investment advice.
For example, if you tell them you’re hoping to buy a house in the near future, they can suggest ways to move your money to help you save for the down payment in less time.
Flat membership fee
Finally, one of the biggest selling points is Facet charges a flat membership fee for their services. This means you receive value equal to what you pay, not based on how large your asset balance is or how big of a commission your advisor is earning from the services they recommend.
Who is Facet best for?
Facet is ideal for the following types of people.
Those who want advice, but no high fees
Facet is best for those looking for professional financial advice without having to pay large assets under management fees.
For instance, those with a $1,000,000 portfolio would pay $10,000 per year under a traditional financial advisor with a 1% assets under management fee. However, even with Facet’s most expensive fee, the cost would be just a little more than half the price.
Those who want a no-commission system
It’s also a great option for those that don’t want to wonder if the advice their advisor is giving them conflicts with the commissions the advisor may earn for suggesting a certain product.
Keep in mind, you need to be comfortable communicating through email or on the phone when you have questions. The good news is there is no cancellation fee if you find out Facet doesn’t end up being a good fit for you. However, annual fees are not prorated, so you won’t get a refund if you cancel mid year.
Who isn’t Facet for?
Some people may be disappointed by what Facet has to offer. Here a couple of groups that might not be a good fit for this service.
Facet won’t work for everyone. In particular, those just getting started might not need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars each year for advice.
Instead, reading a good book on the basics of index investing could provide enough knowledge to get started. Once you build enough assets to need more guidance, Facet may be a good option at that point.
Once your initial financial plan is built, self-starters may not need to continue paying for Facet every year. That said, you’ll miss out on the benefits of continued advice to help you manage life’s changes if you don’t stay subscribed.
Those who want an in-person advisor
Finally, those that in person meetings with an advisor face to face will likely be better off with a local financial advisor. Facet advisor’s only do virtual meetings as a phone or video call.
My experience using Facet
The Facet experience is focused on providing comprehensive financial life management at an affordable price.
Rather than focusing on its automated offerings and technology, Facet focuses on the relationship you’ll build with your dedicated Certified Financial Planner™.
Instead of relying on the basics of asset management, Facet instead provides objective advice on comprehensive financial planning based on the level of service you need.
You’ll receive a welcome packet upon signing up
Once you sign up for their service, you’ll receive a welcome packet that describes Facet’s role as a fiduciary. It also shares the guidelines they follow to offer its financial planning services.
You’ll fill out a questionnaire
You’ll have to fill out an introductory questionnaire that includes basic information about yourself, your family, and your finances, including any financial goals you may have.
Based on the results, your goals and financial information will be displayed on a dashboard. The dashboard’s goal is to provide all of your financial information and goals in one place in an easy-to-understand format.
You’ll then be assigned a CFP®
Next, your CFP® will help tailor the financial planning experience at Facet based on the services you need. This includes choosing the level of service you need.
Once you’re a client, you’ll have a series of planning meetings to help develop your personal financial plan which will ultimately result in a document called your financial blueprint. They can also break down individual goals into one-page plans such as preparing for college expenses.
Of course, you can call any time to speak with your professional whenever you have financial questions.
In a way, Facet competes with robo- advisors. Robo-advisors typically charge a relatively small percentage of the assets they manage and provide basic financial management using software instead of humans.
Robo-advisors will typically help you set up your initial asset allocation and rebalance your portfolio when necessary. They may also help you build a financial plan.
Due to the lower cost of a robo-advisor’s services, there will generally be very little, if any, interaction with a human professional.
Facet vs Wealthfront
Wealthfront is a true robo-advisor with free financial planning features. This is a solid option if inexpensive financial planning drew you to Facet but you have less capital and you’re new to investing.
Wealthfront is designed for young professionals, anyone from passive investors who want expert digital guidance, to people who want to be smarter with money.
With low fees and multiple tax perks, automated investment management tuned in to your individual risk level make Wealthfront worth a look.
- Passive investing with automated management
- Tax-loss harvesting
- Ability to customize portfolios
- No fractional shares of ETFs in automated accounts
- No human advisors
The Wealthfront algorithm will create and manage a portfolio for you with a mix of exchange-traded funds that makes sense for your risk tolerance and goals, then rebalance it and save you money on taxes – all for a flat rate of 0.25% per year. Wealthfront’s low fees and investment minimum of $500 make it a good option for new and intermediate investors alike.
You won’t get an investment advisor of your own or the same level of personalized planning services from Wealthfront, but you will have free access to an automated platform that can help you figure out for yourself what you need to do to reach your saving, investing, and net worth goals.
Facet vs Empower
Services like Empower (previously known as Personal Capital) combine the robo-advisor model with a dedicated professional. They provide an online dashboard to help you track your finances and net worth for free.
Empower is a hybrid digital wealth management company and powerful finance app. In addition to paid investment management and advisory services, Empower offers a number of free tools and calculators to help with everything from net worth tracking to saving and retirement planning.
- Easy-to-use app provides financial 'big picture'
- Tools and calculators are completely free to use
- Great security, including two-factor authentication
- Wealth management fees can be be high
- May be subject to upsells
If you’d like to use their financial advisory services, they charge a 0.89% assets under management fee for the first $1,000,000 in assets. The fee decreases on amounts above $1,000,000.
Depending on your balance, this fee can be higher than using a service like Facet. In fact, the fee could be quite large if you have a lot of assets.
Facet vs financial advisors
Facet also competes with traditional financial advisors you can find in your area or online. Traditional financial advisors may earn their compensation through commissions on trades, charging assets under management fees, or charging hourly consultation fees.
If you don’t have a professional that can help you manage your financial life and goals, consider setting up an introductory call with Facet to see if they’re a good fit for your needs.
There’s no risk upfront and Facet’s goal is to make online financial planning personal and affordable for you.