Marty McCoy brings in $150,000 a year in revenue - not bad for a planner who doesn't even have an office. Most days, in fact, McCoy can be found at the Spectrum gym in Westlake Village, a small town west of Los Angeles, where fashionably dressed, perfectly styled women do lunch and keep in shape.

Financial planning may never be a business that doesn't require in-person interaction. But that doesn't mean planners like McCoy need to spend much of their time in a high-status office. He's hardly alone: According to a 2010-11 survey by the Financial Planning Association, about a quarter of financial planning firms use an alternative workplace strategy.

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