Starting today, a new federal rule goes into effect that requires investment advisers to put your interests ahead of their own when they’re offering advice about your retirement money.

The Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule is intended to help consumers build bigger nest eggs for their post-work lives.

Now when an adviser recommends retirement investments—stocks and bonds, mutual funds, annuities and other insurance products—he or she must clearly tell you about the costs involved, lay out other options, and make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

In the past, retirement recommendations merely had to be “suitable” for your needs, even if the adviser profited the most from commissions and fees.

“It’s like buying a car,” explains Jill Jacques, global financial services lead with North Highland, an Atlanta-based consulting firm for financial advisers and wealth managers. “Under the old suitability standard, the salesman could just have you look at four-door BMW sedans that met your needs. With the fiduciary standard, he has to tell you about all the BMWs that will meet your needs, plus let you know the commissions he’s being paid. And he has to tell you that there’s also a Lexus that meets your needs and costs $5,000 less.”

Having that protection and extra information is projected to save retirement savers up to $17 billion annually in “conflicted” commissions and fees, the Obama Administration estimated when it introduced the rule last year.

The Trump Administration’s Department of Labor delayed the rule’s implementation for two months before its rollout today, and its future is uncertain. The DOL says it will review the rule through the end of this year with an eye toward making changes—or even rescinding it. But for now, here are four questions you need to ask your adviser to understand how the changes could affect you.

What Am I Getting for My Money?

This question is more important than ever. That's because a number of brokerages, to comply with the fiduciary rule, are shifting smaller nest eggs from commission-based accounts into fee-based, “advisory” accounts.

In an advisory account, you’re charged an annual or quarterly advisory fee based on the size of your portfolio. Ask what the fee is and what services it entitles you to. For example, how often will your adviser communicate with you? Will he or she review your investments with you annually?

The smaller your account, the higher the advisory fee as a percentage of the account's total value. Advisers typically charge 1 percent of assets to clients with less than $1 million. But lots of good advisers will charge far less. Check with Garrett Financial Network and Paladin Registry, two online marketplaces for finding financial advisers.

Smaller savers who don’t need a lot of hand-holding may benefit from having a “robo-adviser” instead of a human one. This is a digital financial advice service provided by Wealthfront, Betterment, and other companies that offer simple retirement investments such as index mutual funds and charge fees as low as 0.25 percent of assets.

What Happens to My Commission-Based Investments?

The Fiduciary Rule doesn't prevent you from keeping commission-based investment products. In fact, if you don't trade a lot in your IRA or don't feel you need much advice, a commission-based IRA may end up costing you less. "This is something that a good adviser will know and should tell you," says Stephen P. Wilkes, a partner at The Wagner Law Group’s San Francisco office, and an expert in employment benefits and fiduciary duty.

Now, however, it's up to the adviser to prove to you that those commission-based products are in your best financial interest, Wilkes adds. (In theory, the adviser also would have to prove it to the government, too, though the DOL has indicated it's giving advisers some leeway for the rest of 2017 while it reviews the Fiduciary Rule.)

After January 1, 2018, assuming the Fiduciary Rule faces no changes, your adviser may ask you to sign or approve a written contract when you establish an account to purchase new, commission-based investments. That contract is required under what’s called the Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE). The BICE contract essentially is your acknowledgement that you know what you're getting into and establishes the terms and conditions by which you and adviser work together. 

Are My Investment Choices Going To Be More Limited?

Yes and no. Opponents of the Fiduciary Rule have maintained that forcing advisers to move away from commission-based products limits offerings to consumers. Indeed, on Wednesday, Ameriprise cut by 1,500 the number of types of investments its staff could sell to retirement savers. “Firms are having to simplify their product choices to limit their risk exposure,” Jacques explains.

And financial companies also are deep-sixing products with expenses so exorbitant they violate the Fiduciary Rule’s mandate. For example, gone are variable annuities charging “surrender fees” to buyers who drop coverage within the first 15 years, says Juli McNeely, a financial adviser based Wausau, Wisc., and past president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, a trade group.

Variable annuities still in the market will have lower up-front commissions and shorter surrender periods, she says.

On the other hand, Jacques reports her client agencies are gearing up to offer more choices in certain areas.

“Typically in the past, brokers would only need to present one annuity option, maybe two, from just one company,” Jacques says. “Now they need to show what all the options are for developing fixed incomes for their clients—indexed annuities, variable annuities, bond laddering—not just what they’re being paid to sell.” 

Will You Be a Fiduciary for All of My Portfolio?

Financial advisers are only required to be fiduciaries for the retirement portion of your portfolio: 401(k)s; Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs); and annuities designed to provide retirement income, for instance. The Fiduciary Rule doesn't apply to holdings in taxable accounts.

An adviser could tell you he's a fiduciary for your retirement account but not for your other accounts. That's legal. But it may not be best for you financially. Some types of advisers, such as certified financial planners (CFPs) and registered investment advisers (RIAs), are required by their professional designations to be fiduciaries for all client accounts. To feel completely secure in who's looking out for you, consider one of these professionals to manage your money.