A good financial advisor will freely disclose all fees upfront

Key Points
  • Extra hidden fees that you pay on investments could result in big costs over time, according to wealth manager Ron Carson.
  • You need to demand that your financial advisor disclose all the fees you are paying and that those costs match the potential rewards.
Fees matter

You may not be paying close enough attention to fee transparency while working with your financial advisor, and it could be costing you big time.

"High fees, compounded over a long period of time, can be more than the performance of the actual investment that you have," said Ron Carson, founder and CEO of the Carson Group.

Mutual funds are an example of this, Carson said. You may see the management fee that you're paying, but not the supplemental fees that can run as high as 1 percent to 1.5 percent.

You can proactively address this situation in two ways, according to Carson.

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How much those advisor fees are costing you

First, demand that your financial advisor disclose all of the fees you are paying.

Second, you need to look at what you are getting versus what you are being charged, Carson said. With alternative investments, where fees are often higher, you should have higher expectations for the returns on your money.

At the same time, make sure you are not paying too much for passive investment strategies.

"If you're just going to buy the and you're going to pay a premium to a financial advisor for that and you're not getting anything else, that's a red flag," Carson said.

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