10 Best Financial Advisors of July 2024

Finding the best financial advisor for you

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you review this list of financial advisors and compare options:

1. Your budget for advice. As noted above, simple, digital-only services will be less expensive; holistic financial planning will be more. It’s a good idea to know what you’re comfortable spending before you dive in.

2. What services you need. Maybe you just want help picking investments, or maybe you need advice on more advanced topics, like estate planning or insurance needs. These requirements will help you choose what type of financial advisor you need — typically, a robo-advisor is a good fit for investment management, but you’ll need a financial advisor for advanced planning. (View our picks for the best robo-advisors.)

3. Whether you want in-person or online advice. If you don’t mind meeting with your advisor virtually, you’ll often save money with an online service. These services also typically have lower account minimum requirements than traditional investment advisors. No matter what option you choose, it’s always important to check qualifications and make sure they follow a fiduciary standard, which means your needs come first.

Financial advisor FAQs

What does a financial advisor do?

A financial advisor helps people manage their investments, plan for retirement and save money for their financial goals. Financial advisors also suggest strategies, investments or other assets that will help their clients’ money grow.

Financial advisors come in many varieties, from in-person advisors to online financial services and robo-advisors. They all serve the same purpose: to help you figure out what to do with your money. Here’s more about what financial advisors do.

How do I know if I need a financial advisor?

If you find taking care of your finances and planning for the future to be overwhelming, a financial advisor can certainly help. If you feel confident investing your money, you may not need one.

While financial advisors aren’t for everyone, they can help you navigate the tricky and often confusing waters of how to organize your finances. If you recently had a big life change (you got married, had a child, lost a family member), it can be helpful to work with a financial advisor to help you understand your new financial landscape.

How much money do you need to hire a financial advisor?

This really depends on what you’re willing to spend, and what products you’re looking for. There are a couple robo-advisors — digital investment management services — that charge no management fees. Others charge around 0.25% of your account balance.

Then, there are online financial advisors and traditional in-person financial advisors. Traditional financial advisors will often charge 1% of your assets or a flat fee — for example, you might pay $2,000 for a comprehensive plan. Online advisors like the ones on this list typically charge a bit less than that — Vanguard’s fee is .35% and Betterment Premium charges .40% — or a flat annual or monthly fee.

What is the difference between a financial planner and a financial advisor?

The difference between a financial advisor and a financial planner is like the adage about squares and rectangles: A financial planner is an advisor, but an advisor isn’t necessarily a planner.

Financial advisors are a larger category of individuals who help people manage their finances. A certified financial planner has gone through extensive training, taken an exam and is legally obligated to act in their client’s best interest. It is important when you are looking for a financial advisor to thoroughly vet them, no matter what they call themselves.

How do I know I can trust my financial advisor?

We suggest working with financial advisors who are fee-only fiduciaries. Fee-only advisors charge flat fees or a percentage of the assets they manage; they do not accept commissions for recommending specific investments. (Note: This is not the same as fee-based advisors, who may earn commissions on products they sell and charge clients a fee or percentage of assets.) A fiduciary is legally obligated to act in the client’s best interest. Many financial advisors are also investment advisors, meaning they are registered with a regulating body such as their state or the SEC.

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What should you look for in a financial advisor?

What you look for in a financial advisor will have to do with your needs and priorities. Online advisors are (for the most part) less expensive, but some people prefer to meet with a local advisor; a face they can come to know and trust.

It might also depend on what you want your advisor to do. For example, if you’re concerned with creating a specific type of portfolio or investing in alternative assets like cryptocurrency, you might prioritize finding an advisor who knows that strategy. But if staying within your budget comes first, and if you’re just starting to build an investment account, it often makes sense to go with a low-fee robo-advisor.

Which is better, a robo-advisor or a financial advisor?

What sort of service you choose to take care of your money is a matter of your needs and comfort level.

Financial advisors have the advantage of being able to develop a relationship with you over time. They might know more about your family, your job and your life in general — thus giving them better insight into your financial needs. Unfortunately, they’re typically more expensive than a robo-advisor, but that cost premium may be worth it to you.

Robo-advisors are a great choice if you only want investment management.

Is it worth having a financial advisor?

A financial advisor’s value depends on what they bring to your financial life. If you don’t have a lot of assets to manage, it might be better to try to manage them yourself or use a robo-advisor. As your assets grow and become more complicated — maybe you own a house, have an investment portfolio and are trying to pay off debt — it can be worthwhile to seek help from either a traditional or online advisor.

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