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Retirement Plan Advisors 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.

Retirement Plan Advisors (RPA) is a Chicago-based financial advisor firm that has billions of dollars in client assets under management (AUM). The firm's team of financial advisors provides a spectrum of services, ranging from investment management and financial planning to more specific managed account programs and other advisory services. RPA advises individual clients, as well as government retirement plans.

RPA is a fee-based firm, as some in-house advisors may receive commissions from the sale of certain securities or insurance products. That's different from a fee-only firm, which avoids conflicts of interest by restricting its compensation to client-paid advisory fees.

Retirement Plan Advisors Background

Retirement Plan Advisors has been in business since 2000. Today, the firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of Retirement Plan Advisors Group, LLC, a holding company. The founders of the firm are Joshua Schwartz, Christopher McGrath and James O’Connor. While O'Connor and McGrath are now retired, Schwartz still works at the firm as its president. The firm has six dedicated offices around the country in Illinois, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Michigan and Missouri.

Some of the staff members at RPA hold represent a wide range of professional designations: certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified public accountant (CPA), chartered life underwriter (CLU), chartered financial consultant (ChFC), enrolled agent (EA), certified retirement counselor (CRC) and accredited investment fiduciary (AIF).

Retirement Plan Advisors Client Types and Minimum Account Size

RPA works almost exclusively with individual clients, with the vast majority of them not having a high net worth. The firm also manages money for the pension plans of state and municipal government entities. While government clients account for a small percentage of the firm's overall client base, they claim the vast majority of its AUM.

Minimum requirements vary from $0 for retirement accounts to $5,000 for certain non-retirement managed accounts, to other minimums determined by the specific strategist used. 

Services Offered by Retirement Plan Advisors

Financial planning services are a hallmark at Retirement Plan Advisors. They are available to help clients with whatever financial issues they might be encountering, whether they relate to insurance, cash flow, budgeting or retirement planning. The firm gathers information about the financial situation of each client and uses those insights to develop a comprehensive plan. 

The firm also offers discretionary investment management through several accounts and programs. Individual investors can take advantage of general asset management services, PortfolioPlus or Advisory Directed Managed Accounts through third-party registered investment advisors (RIAs). Institutional clients have access to retirement plan consulting services, 3(21) and 3(38) advisory and SponsorPlus accounts.

Retirement Plan Advisors Investment Philosophy

Retirement Plan Advisors looks to tailor its investment strategies to the financial needs and objectives of each client. Advisors work with clients to develop an initial asset allocation model that's built specifically for them, using information about the client's risk tolerance, time horizon and investment goals to inform it. Advisors continuously monitor portfolios to ensure that goals are being properly pursued. Clients are encouraged to update the firm with any changes to their financial situation or goals.

Advisors tend to flesh out client portfolios using mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). They inform their investment decisions using a variety of techniques, including charting, fundamental analysis and technical analysis. Advisors also try to utilize long- and short-term purchases when crafting client portfolios.

Fees Under Retirement Plan Advisors

All fees at RPA are subject to negotiation between advisors and clients, though there are some minimum and maximum rates. Financial planning fees begin at $150, with fixed fees averaging $600 for basic plans and $1,500 for comprehensive plans. Hourly fees are no higher than $500 per hour.

For investment management accounts, fees won't exceed 2.25% of a client's total AUM annually. Fees for other accounts and services may be negotiable. Fees at RPA are charged quarterly, monthly or all at once, in arrears.

What to Watch Out For

Retirement Plan Advisors does not have any disclosures listed on its Form ADV.

Retirement Plan Advisors is a fee-based firm, and it employs some financial advisors who can receive commissions when they sell certain securities or insurance products. As a result of this situation, there exists a potential conflict of interest. However, this doesn't affect the firm's status as a fiduciary, legally binding it to act in the best interests of clients at all times.

Opening an Account With Retirement Plan Advisors

To open an account with RPA, visit the firm's website. There you can search the firm's network of advisors and find one that operates in your area. When you locate a suitable option, you can submit a contact form, send an email or even chat directly with the advisor. Call (312) 701-1100 if you prefer working over the phone.

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

Investing Tips

  • If you want some help managing your investments and retirement income planning, a financial advisor can be a great partner. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Formulating a precise asset allocation is a great first step to setting yourself up for success in investing. This all-important strategy considers your risk tolerance to determine what kinds of investments should occupy different percentages within your portfolio. If you don’t know where to begin, stop by SmartAsset’s asset allocation calculator.

How Long $1 Million 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.

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

Methodology We weighed potential expenditures for a prospective retiree with a  $1 million nest egg to assess how many years that fund would cover in retirement in America’s largest cities.

We 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 metro areas across the U.S.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a net annual return of 2% after inflation. 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.