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Creative Planning Review

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This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

Headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas, Creative Planning, Inc. is one of the largest financial advisor firms. The fee-based firm's premier services include wealth management, financial planning, estate planning, retirement planning and more.

Creative planning has won multiple titles from various financial publications. Most recently, the firm has been ranked as "the #1 fee-based investment adviser" by the Kansas City Business Journal for the ninth consecutive year.

Creative Planning Background

Creative Planning is under the ownership of Peter Mallouk. Mallouk is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the firm. Although the firm was originally founded in 1983, Mallouk has led Creative Planning and its family of companies since 2004.

With more than 1,000 advisory employees, the Creative Planning team holds a number of certifications. These include certified financial planners (CFPs), certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), chartered retirement planning counselors (CRPCs), certified public accountants (CPAs) and more.

What Types of Clients Does Creative Planning Accept?

Individuals are far and away the most common client type at Creative Planning. The firm also works with high-net-worth individuals, pension and profit-sharing plans, state and municipal governments, businesses and charitable organizations.

Creative Planning Minimum Account Size

The minimums at Creative Planning vary depending on the type of services you’re looking for. Here are the firm’s minimum requirements:

  • Financial planning services: $500,000
  • Portfolio mangement services: $100,000
  • Retirement account services: $30,000

Services Offered by Creative Planning

Creative Planning’s services are incredibly widespread. Here’s a breakdown of what this firm can offer you:

  • Private wealth management
    • General investment management
  • Financial planning
    • Long-term financial goal planning
    • Investment management
    • Tax planning
    • Risk management and insurance planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Estate planning
    • Long-term care planning
    • Debt management
  • 401(k) services
    • 401(k) and profit-sharing plan consulting
    • Fiduciary services
    • Plan design
    • Employee education programs
    • Investment committee oversight
    • Plan fund performance reviews and comparisons
  • Institutional services
    • Tax minimization strategies
    • Risk management
    • Asset allocation and spending analysis
    • Research and trustee education
    • Portfolio liquidity management
    • Grant operations assistance
    • Investment policy statement (IPS) design
    • Manager evaluation and selection
  • Automated Investment Program, with Charles Schwab
  • Specialized services for ultra-affluent clients

Creative Planning Investment Philosophy

Creative Planning looks to tailor its investment strategies to the needs of its clientele. To do this, the firm takes stock of your ultimate financial goals. In turn, your advisory team will build an investment plan to help you reach those goals. On top of this, the firm will take into account your risk tolerance, liquidity needs and time horizon.

For the most part, Creative Planning assembles investment portfolios using stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), bonds, mutual funds and alternative investments. Rather than stick to one or two specific securities, the firm will diversify your funds across a collection of investments. It does this to protect your money from harsh market crashes.

In some cases, your advisor may adjust their investment strategy. This includes special situations, like inheritances, stock options, legacy holdings and unique tax considerations.

Fees Under Creative Planning

The vast majority of fees Creative Planning charges operate on an annualized, asset-based fee schedule. In other words, the value of your portfolio dictates what rates you pay. The more assets you have invested with the firm, the lower the percentage drops.

Although the rates below are in annual percentages, the firm charges them on a quarterly basis, in arrears. Your exact payments will be based on either the fair market value or an agreed upon value of your assets on the last business day of each calendar quarter.

Portfolio Management Fees
Assets Under Management Annual Fee
First $500,000 1.2%
$500,001 - $2,000,000 1%
$2,000,001 - $5,000,000 0.85%
$5,000,001 - $10,000,000 0.80%
$10,000,001 - $25,000,000 0.70%
$25,000,001 - $50,000,000 0.40%
$50,000,001 - $100,000,000 0.30%
Over $100,000,000 0.25%

The fees associated with the firm’s financial planning services operate quite a bit differently. More specifically, if you have more than $500,000 in AUM at the firm, it will comprehensively include financial planning in your portfolio management service. Under other circumstances, the firm may charge you a $1,500 to $15,000 fixed fee.

Check out the table below to see how Creative Planning’s fees for its management services compare to those at similar financial advisor firms. Note that these fees are only estimates and actual costs may vary.

*Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount.
Estimated Portfolio Management Service Fees at Creative Planning*
Your Assets Fee Amounts
$500K $6,000
$1MM $11,000
$5MM $46,500
$10MM $86,500

What to Watch Out For

According to its Form ADV, Creative Planning has one disclosure for failing to enforce its code of ethics with regard to radio advertisements. 

As a fee-based firm, some of Creative Planning's advisors are licensed as insurance company agents and can earn a commission for selling those products. This creates a conflict of interest. Nevertheless, the firm abides by fiduciary duty, and therefore must act in your best interest at all times.

Opening an Account With Creative Planning

To join forces with Creative Planning, you can either call its headquarters in Kansas at (866) 909-5148, email or visit one of its offices. If you’d prefer, the firm also boasts a “Request a Meeting” form on its website that asks for some personal information before it offers you a free consultation.

Creative Planning’s main office is in Overland Park, Kansas at 5454 West 110th Street. 

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.  

Tips for Choosing a Financial Advisor

  • Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Consider financial advisors' certifications, which can be indicative of an advisor's area of expertise and level of experience. For example, if you want some help with life insurance or estate planning, a chartered life underwriter (CLU) might be a good fit. If you're concerned about tax planning, consider a certified public accountant (CPA).

How Many Years $1 Million Lasts in Retirement

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SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about the cost of living in retirement for that location.