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Key Financial 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.

Operating out of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Key Financial, Inc. has a variety of compensation arrangements, but it mainly uses a fee-based fee structure. Key Financial’s clients who do not have a high net worth outnumber those who do roughly 2 to 1. The firm currently has 12 advisors, all of whic are representatives of broker-dealers and 10 licensed insurance agents. 

Key Financial Background 

Key Financial has been in business since 1997. Founder Patricia Clark Brennan serves as president, CEO and chief compliance officer. 

The firm’s team consists of four certified financial planners (CFPs), one chartered financial analyst (CFA), one certified fund specialist (CFS), one accredited wealth management advisor (AWMA), one accredited asset management specialist (AAMS), one chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC) and one certificate in investment performance (CIPM) designation holder.

Key Financial Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes 

Key Financial serves individuals and high-net-worth individuals, pension plans, profit-sharing plans, state and municipal government entities, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and other business entities. 

The firm doesn’t impose a minimum account size requirement over all of its services. However, there may be a minimum account requirement for specific services the client receives, such as a minimum account size of $250,000 being required for Grandfathered Converted RAS Accounts. 

Services Offered by Key Financial

Key Financial’s clients have access to an array of advisory services. These include:

  • Portfolio management 
  • Financial planning
    • Cash flow planning
    • Income tax planning
    • Asset allocation and diversification
    • College education and funding alternatives
    • Retirement planning 
    • Asset protection
    • Estate planning
    • Charitable giving 
    • Family planning
  • Educational seminars

Key Financial Investment Philosophy

Key Financial will customize asset allocations to clients' goals and profiles, typically constructing portfolios with stocks, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). In evaluating investments, it relies on fundamental analysis. Its strategies include long- and short-term purchases, trading, margin transactions and option writing.

Fees Under Key Financial

Key Financial is generally compensated for its investment advisory services through asset-based fees, fixed fees and commissions. For initial financial planning, the firm charges a flat fee that is agreed upon between the advisor and client. When it comes to financial planning and portfolio monitoring, the firm uses Royal Alliance/Pershing (RAS) and RTD Financial Advisors, Inc. (RTD). Both RAS and RTD charge quarterly and annual asset monitoring and planning fees that generally range from 0.125% (quarterly) to 1.75% (annually).

Clients may incur other fees and charges that are exclusive of Key Financial’s fees. These include deferred sales charges, custodial fees, odd-lot differentials, wire transfer and electronic fund fees, taxes on certain transactions and mutual fund and ETF internal management fees. 

Key Financial Awards and Recognition

Several news outlets have recognized Patricia Brennan as one of the top financial advisors in the financial services industry. Most recently, Forbes, Barron’s, The Financial Times and Fortune magazine have all featured Brennan in their top advisor lists. 

What to Watch Out For 

Affiliated professionals may receive commissions for insurance or investment-related products that they recommend. This may create a potential conflict of interest. That said, as an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the firm is bound by the fiduciary duty to put clients' interests before its own. 

In its most recent filings with the SEC, there were no disclosures but in the past, the firm reported one regulatory action. It involved failing to submit the investment advisor renewal form in time, for which Key Financial paid a $3,000 fine.

How to Open an Account at Key Financial

To open an account with Key Financial, fill out your information here.

Tips to Help You Save for Retirement 

  • Seeing how other people with the same income spend their money can help you identify areas in your budget that you could trim. Get benchmarks for people in your area and with the same size family by using our budget calculator
  • A financial advisor can help you figure out how much you need in retirement and how to get there. 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.

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

How Long $1mm Lasts in Retirement

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.

Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology We analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns to determine how many years of retirement a $1 million nest egg would cover in cities across America.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%. Then, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would cover retirement expenses in each of the cities in our study. Cities where $1 million lasted the longest ranked the highest in the study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research