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Creative Planning Review

Creative Planning is a large investment advisor firm with over $150 billion AUM. We review its services, fee structures, and reputation here.

Creative Planning is a registered investment advisor (RIA) firm based in Overland Park, Kansas. It offers a range of services to clients, including wealth and investment management, financial planning for various goals, and estate planning. In 2023, the company ranked third on Barron’s list of the Top 100 RIA Firms.

This page offers an in-depth review of Creative Planning and the services it provides. We’ll highlight the types of clients it serves, what fee structures to expect, and how to become a client with the firm. You’ll also learn whether it has any disclosures on its Form ADV.

AUM

$155.328 billion

Number of Employees

1,165

Date Founded

1983

CEO

Peter Mallouk

Fee Structure

Fee-only

Headquarters Address

5454 W. 110th Street

Overland Park, KS 66211

Phone Number

(866) 909-5148

Pros

  • Offers a wide range of services, including financial planning and portfolio management
  • Industry-standard fees that decrease as your assets grow
  • Takes a unique team-based approach to wealth management
  • Upholds a strict fiduciary duty

Cons

  • High fees and minimums for financial planning
  • Slightly high account minimums

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Types of Clients

Creative Planning serves individuals of both average and above-average net worth, as well as institutional investors such as pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, government entities, and businesses. However, it dominantly works with retail investors, with 51% of its clients being non-wealthy and 32% of its clients holding a high net worth.

Before enrolling with Creative Planning, you must meet specific account requirements, which vary depending on the service you’re after:

ServiceAccount Minimum
Financial planning$500,000
Portfolio management$100,000
Management of retirement accounts$30,000 (no minimum for 401(k)s)

Financial Advisor Services

Creative Planning offers a wide range of services that surpasses even some similar-sized firms. This includes planning for almost every aspect of your finances, discretionary or non-discretionary portfolio management, or putting together an estate.

Below is a list of the advisory services Creative Planning offers:

Comprehensive Wealth Management

Beyond its primary set of features, Creative Planning offers a comprehensive wealth management service that encompasses all aspects of your finances. This may include planning, managing your collection of investments, and additional aspects such as building your estate.

According to the company’s website, this service grants you access to a team of experts with diverse specializations and areas of focus. For instance, if you’re looking to assemble a comprehensive financial plan, you may get input from a certified financial planner (CFP), certified public accountant (CPA), or even a legal professional. This can be especially beneficial, since it means you can have your aces in their places, so to speak, and know you’re getting highly informed advice.

Fee Structure

The fee structure you see at Creative Planning will vary based on the type of service you need. For portfolio management, it charges an annual fee based on a percentage of the number of assets under management (AUM) you have. It follows a tiered structure, where your rates decrease as your portfolio increases in value.

Below is a table that displays the company’s AUM fee schedule:

AUMPercentage
First $500,0001.20%
$500,001 to $2,000,0001.00%
$2,000,001 to $5,000,0000.85%
$5,000,001 to $10,000,0000.80%
$10,000,001 to $25,000,0000.70%
$25,000,001 to $50,000,0000.40%
$50,000,001 to $100,000,0000.30%
Beyond $100,000,0000.25%

For the company’s financial planning services, you’ll either see an asset-based schedule or a flat rate. If you’re able to meet the $500,000 minimum, you’ll receive the service as part of the portfolio management program and, therefore, see an AUM percentage structure. On the other hand, if you have less than this amount, you’ll need to pay a fixed fee that may range from $1,500 to $15,000. The company notes, however, that rates ultimately vary based on the complexity of your situation.

Investment Philosophy

When a company offers portfolio management as a primary feature, as Creative Planning does, it’s vital to learn how it approaches investing. This can help tell you how it’ll put together your portfolio and manage risk through both the short- and long-term time horizon.

Creative Planning outlines its approach in detail within its Form ADV Part 2A. Specifically, it says that it builds portfolios using securities such as stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, and alternatives. This is because it generates more of an opportunity to diversify and, while not explicitly mentioned, gain exposure across various asset classes and industries.

The firm also clarifies, both on its website and client brochure, that its strategies when investing begin and end with the client. Therefore, you should expect to have detailed conversations with your advisor about your risk tolerance and goals.

Disclosures

Creative Planning is registered as an investment advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Because of this status, it must report any disclosures, or legal proceedings involving them or its representatives, on its Form ADV. By doing so, the firm remains transparent to clients about any issues surrounding it.

In its latest Form ADV, Creative Planning only has one disclosure to report. This is because, in 2018, the company “distributed hundreds of radio advertisements that contained prohibited client testimonials.” However, the firm settled with the SEC shortly thereafter.

Customer Service

The easiest way to contact Creative Planning is by calling them directly at the following numbers:

How to Open an Account

To open an account with Creative Planning, you can start by visiting the firm’s website. From there, you can click “Schedule a Meeting” in the top right-hand corner. Alternatively, you can call (833) 416-4702 to schedule a consultation with an advisor.

Tips for Choosing a Financial Advisor Firm

It can feel like a tall task to research and select the ideal financial advisor. First, you’ll have to consider what you want out of a company and how you envision your relationship working. For example, there will be those that offer multiple services, such as Creative Planning, or firms that specialize in specific areas of finance, such as asset management.

As you search, it’s critical to prioritize companies that uphold a fiduciary duty to clients. These will often be ones who avoid conflicts of interest and don’t have lots of disclosures on their Form ADV. To learn more about an advisor’s reputation, we recommend using the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) tool, which provides information about any individual or firm registered as an investment advisor.

To find a high-quality advisor, it’s also wise to compare experts using a matching tool, such as this free one. After answering a quick list of questions about your goals and circumstances, it’ll present you with up to three local professionals near you.

Methodology

This review is based on publicly available information directly from Creative Planning’s website and the SEC. Neither the firm nor its representatives have any say on what we’ve included on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Creative Planning a fiduciary?

Because it’s registered with the SEC as an RIA, Creative Planning must strictly adhere to a fiduciary standard and, whenever a conflict of interest arises, disclose it properly with prospective and existing clients. The company also submits on its “About” page that it’s committed to a strong focus on its clients’ best interests.

Is Creative Planning reputable?

Creative Planning is a large company in the financial advisor industry. It’s been around for several decades and only has one disclosure on its record. The company has also received accolades from magazines and outlets, such as Barron’s, for being a top RIA firm.

What is the minimum investment at Creative Planning?

You must have at least $100,000 to receive portfolio management services from the company. This is slightly above average as compared to other firms, such as CAPTRUST, that only require $50,000.

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