Fee-only financial planning company seeks to reach the broader Athens community
September 6, 2023

College of Family and Consumer Sciences Double Dawg and part-time instructor Ben Jacobs and fellow UGA grad Cody Nichelson recently opened Fully Financial, a fee-only financial planning and investment management company in downtown Athens.

Fee-only fiduciaries are required to legally act in their clients’ best interests 100% of the time. While there are many financial advisors in the Athens area, Jacobs and Nichelson said they co-founded Fully Financial to help bring fiduciary financial advice to more people in the Athens community.

“We created Fully with the belief that everyone can benefit from comprehensive, personalized and unbiased financial planning and advice,” said Nichelson, also the firm's director of operations. “We love Athens and we want to focus our efforts on helping more people right here at home by making fee-only financial planning more accessible in our community."

The primary difference between fee-only financial planners and traditional financial advisors is that fee-only planners are paid directly and solely by their clients for financial planning and investment management services.

Commission-based and fee-based financial advisors are commonly compensated by third-party companies for investing their clients in specific investment funds or selling their clients specific financial products, like insurance policies.

“Being independent and fee-only allows us to always put our clients’ best interests first — not insurance companies, banks or investment fund managers,” Jacobs said. “To us, that means taking a look at someone’s entire financial life and making recommendations tailored to their unique needs, situation, and goals without giving any thought to commission-based incentives or restrictions. We aren’t beholden to outside companies, so we aren’t limited to certain products or investment options.”

The firm’s all-inclusive services cover a range of topics and areas, including retirement planning, investment portfolio management, cash flow management, debt structuring, tax planning, risk management, net worth protection, education savings and funding, estate planning and ongoing financial advice.

Jacobs is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, Enrolled Agent with the IRS, and Accredited Investment Fiduciary®. Since graduating from UGA with a master’s degree in financial planning, he’s spent his entire professional career as a fee-only financial planner.

Beyond serving his clients, Jacobs has provided pro bono financial counseling and tax preparation services for families in the Athens community. 

Nichelson graduated from UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication with a degree in public relations. For the first seven years of his career, he worked for an independent communications agency in Athens, where he served national, regional, and local brands.

In 2021, Nichelson was drawn to the fee-only financial planning industry because he wanted the opportunity to help improve financial literacy and economic prosperity for more people and families in the Athens community. 

Fully Financial is affiliated with the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), XY Planning Network, Fee-Only Network, and the Athens Downtown Development Authority and is a Registered Investment Adviser with the State of Georgia.