What are C shares? A problem in my area is that there aren't any fee-only advisors that I can tell. These are rare birds. The money must be in the no-fee game.[/quote]
C shares have no upfront sales charge but a deferred sales charge for 1 year. The advisor usually gets a 1% commission upfront and 1% on going each year (all of this is hidden in fund expenses). Since there is no upfront load the annual expenses of the fund are higher and they never decline. A shares have an upfront load (as high as 5.75%) but no back end fees, still ongoing fund expenses probably over 1% per year though. B shares are a rarity now but are still offered by some fund families. They have no upfront load but a deferred load for usually 7 years but the advisor gets paid like they sold an A share. Again the annual operating expenses are much higher for B shares and they convert to A shares after 7 years.
Find someone that will work on a fee to avoid high commissions and expensive funds and I probably wouldn't pay more than 1% unless you think they are worth it. The problem is that unless you have a 7 figure account most advisors will charge you over 1% so it may be best to for you to get as educated as you can and do it yourself but if you think an advisor can do 1% better than you can do, use an advisor.
“Never ask anyone for their opinion, forecast, or recommendation. Just ask them what they have—or don’t have—in their portfolio.” -Taleb