Each person’s financial journey is different. That’s why speaking with a financial advisor — a professional who provides personalized advice about your financial situation — can be such a valuable resource.
But finding a financial advisor near you isn’t always easy. Simply typing “financial advisor near me” into Google may net a slew of results — maybe too many results. The thought of researching each one can feel overwhelming.
Thankfully, there are several resources and services out there you can use to quickly find a financial planner near you.
Benefits of working with a local financial advisor
While it’s easier than ever to access financial advice online, many people still like the option of meeting with an advisor face-to-face. You might find it easier to build a rapport and trust someone if you can shake their hand and gauge their personality in-person.
Another benefit of working with a local financial advisor is their ability to connect you with other financial professionals in your area, such as mortgage brokers and estate planners. Tapping into a network of professionals familiar with local laws, regional housing trends and real estate taxes can be especially beneficial when you’re buying or selling a home.
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How to find a financial advisor near you
Whether you screen candidates on a financial organization’s website or use an online matching tool to vet pros for you, finding the right financial advisor takes some time and research.
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a financial advisor, but here are a few resources and tips to help make your search easier.
Use an online matching tool to find a financial advisor
Online advisor matching tools require you to complete a brief quiz about your financial planning needs and budget. The platform then generates a list of advisors who meet your criteria.
Financial advisors typically join these networks by paying a fee, and the online matching company vets the professional’s background and credentials for you.
Here are three online advisor matching tools you can use for free.
Zoe Financial connects consumers to financial advisors who meet their needs. The company vets each professional, who must hold a CFP, CFA or CPA certification and have a minimum of five years of experience.
You’ll take a short quiz and Zoe will match you with three financial advisors. There’s over 2,700 advisors in Zoe’s network, and advisors typically charge a fee equal to about 1% of your assets under management. Plus there’s no account minimum needed to find an advisor. Just keep in mind that you may get matched with pros who offer remote services outside your local area.
Wealthramp is a platform that helps you find local, fee-only financial planners. You take a short quiz about your finances and answer questions to gauge your investment style and whether you’re looking for an in-person or remote advisor.
Wealthramp doesn’t charge a fee to match you with a financial advisor. But keep in mind, while the consultation is free, you may not know exactly what you’ll pay for services until you contact an advisor directly.
Harness Wealth helps connect you with financial firms based on the amount of assets they manage for you and the complexity of your financial situation. According to the company’s website, its clients tend to include entrepreneurs, small business owners, angel investors and those living or working in multiple states or countries.
Harness Wealth doesn’t charge you a fee to find and evaluate firms. Firms on Harness Wealth typically charge a 1% investment management fee for the first $1 million in assets under management. A la carte financial services such as estate planning document creation and a comprehensive financial plan range from $1,000 to $5,000.
Look into professional advisor organizations
If you don’t mind doing a little research, several organizations offer free databases you can use to find financial advisors.
A certified financial planner is a type of financial advisor who undergoes rigorous training and education in virtually all aspects of financial planning, including investments, taxes and insurance. The CFP Board certifies these professionals.
The CFP Board’s Let’s Make a Plan website offers a search tool to help you find CFPs in your area. You can filter results by distance as well as a CFP’s area of expertise, such as investment planning or estate planning.
You’ll then get a narrowed-down list of CFPs, along with their contact information, website and other details. You can also contact a professional directly by filling out a form on the website.
XY Planning Network
The XY Planning Network focuses on advisors who cater to Gen-X and Gen-Y clients. The XY Planning search tool can help you connect with a CFP and filter results by niche, specialty or keyword. You can search only for CFPs in your local area or open it up to members who offer remote services.
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA)
Enter your zip code, and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors’s search tool will give you details about fee-only advisors near you. From there, you can learn more about the financial firm and contact them directly through a form on the NAPFA’s website.
Ask for referrals
Asking for recommendations from friends and family who’ve had positive experiences with financial advisors can be a great starting point. They can provide insights into the advisor’s communication style and personality — details you probably won’t find on an advisor’s website. You might even receive a discount if your friend or family member refers you to the advisor.
If you’re looking for someone to invest your money and build your portfolio — especially if you’re just starting out — a robo-advisor might be a great option.
A robo-advisor is an online platform that invests your money for you. You can get started in minutes by answering a few questions about your goals and risk tolerance. Plus, robo-advisors charge a more affordable fee than human investment advisors.
While these companies have gained popularity with hands-off investors, many robo-advisors also offer insight from a human financial advisor.
Betterment, for example, gives you access to advice packages starting at $299 for a 45-minute 1-on-1 meeting with a financial advisor. Meanwhile, SoFi Automated Investing gives investors the ability to schedule a call with on-staff CFPs at no cost.
Online financial advisors
Meeting face-to-face with a financial advisor has its perks, but if you live in a small community, finding a local advisor who meets your needs can be challenging.
Many financial advisors now offer virtual services via Zoom, email or over the phone. Most advisors will note if they offer virtual services on their website or on online directories. Even if it’s not advertised, an advisor might be willing to work with you online if you contact them and ask.
If you’re indifferent about the physical location of your financial advisor, companies like Facet Wealth charge an annual flat fee and exclusively offer online advisory services.
Considerations for finding a financial advisor near you
You’ve narrowed down your search to a few solid candidates, but the work isn’t over yet.
Most financial advisors will offer a free consolation that might be as short as 15 minutes or as long as an hour. Get the most out of this time by learning about the advisor’s background and investment philosophy, and asking questions about their fee structure.
You should also check a financial advisor’s credentials. After all, there’s many different types of financial advisors out there. Be wary of advisors that a financial company provides to you for free. These individuals are more salespeople than advisors and are usually riddled with conflicts of interest. You should instead look for an advisor who works as a fiduciary — they’re required to act only in your best interests.
You can use FINRA’s BrokerCheck to research an advisor’s employment history, years of experience and disciplinary record. You can also verify an advisor’s credentials at the CFA Institute’s site or the CFP Board’s site.
Here are other tips to help you find the right financial advisor.
Know what services you will need
You likely already know the financial priorities you need advice on. Maybe it’s saving up for your first home while paying off your student loan debt. Or perhaps it’s guidance on managing your investments less than 10 years out from retirement.
Make a short list of your financial goals and have it ready when you meet with advisors.
It’s also important to understand the services a financial advisor offers, such as estate planning, creating trusts, investment management or retirement planning. If their area of expertise doesn’t overlap with your financial priorities, you might want to continue your search elsewhere.
Understand their fee structure
How much a financial advisor charges you and how often is a crucial part of the vetting process. Some financial advisors charge a percentage of your assets under management, typically between 0.5 and 1.5 percent, while others charge a flat fee, or hourly rate.
Be wary of meeting with an advisor who is unwilling to clearly explain their compensation structure.
When you first interact with a financial advisor, think of the meeting as a job interview, and pay close attention to the answers an advisor gives.
Coming prepared with a few key questions can save you time and money.
Here’s are some questions to ask a financial advisor:
- How long have you been working as a financial advisor?
- What is your area of expertise? Do you specialize in a specific area of finance, such as investments or tax planning?
- Are you fee-only, fee-based or commission-based?
- How much do you charge for your services?
- What is your investment philosophy?
- How do you handle conflicts of interest?
- How often do you communicate with clients?
- How do you track and measure progress toward financial goals?
You can also learn a lot by having a casual conversation with your advisor prospects. If all goes well, you’ll be trusting this person with all your intimate financial details, so it’s important to find someone with a personality you like and trust.
Finding a good financial advisor near you isn’t as simple as picking the first name that pops up on Google. You’ll need to research and vet candidates, or opt for a trustworthy matching service that does the legwork for you.
During your search, look for advisors and financial planners who act as fiduciaries and work in your best interests — not the interests of an insurance company or bank. That vetting process can take time, but you’re more likely to find someone who can provide unbiased advice that meets your needs.
Editorial Disclaimer: All investors are advised to conduct their own independent research into investment strategies before making an investment decision. In addition, investors are advised that past investment product performance is no guarantee of future price appreciation.
As a seasoned financial expert with a wealth of knowledge in the field, I understand the intricate nuances of personal finance and the importance of seeking professional advice. Throughout my extensive experience, I have witnessed the diverse financial journeys individuals undertake, each presenting unique challenges and opportunities.
The article emphasizes the significance of finding a suitable financial advisor tailored to one's specific needs. I concur with the assertion that a personalized approach is crucial in navigating the complexities of financial planning. Here, I'll delve into the key concepts discussed in the article:
Benefits of Working with a Local Financial Advisor:
- Building Rapport: Meeting face-to-face allows for a personal connection, making it easier to build trust.
- Local Network: Local advisors can connect clients with other professionals like mortgage brokers and estate planners, leveraging knowledge of regional laws and trends.
How to Find a Financial Advisor Near You:
Online Matching Tools:
- Zoe Financial: Connects users with certified financial advisors, conducting a thorough vetting process.
- Wealthramp: Assists in finding local, fee-only financial planners through a quiz.
- Harness Wealth: Connects users with financial firms based on asset management and financial complexity.
Professional Advisor Organizations:
- CFP Board: Certifies financial planners; website offers a search tool for finding CFPs.
- XY Planning Network: Focuses on advisors for Gen-X and Gen-Y clients; provides a search tool for CFPs.
- NAPFA: Offers a search tool for fee-only advisors based on zip code.
- Recommendations from friends and family can provide valuable insights into an advisor's communication style and personality.
- Online platforms like Betterment and SoFi Automated Investing offer automated investment services with the option for human advisor consultations.
Online Financial Advisors:
- Virtual services are becoming more common; platforms like Facet Wealth exclusively offer online advisory services.
Considerations for Finding a Financial Advisor:
- Free Consultations: Advisors often offer free consultations; utilize this time to understand their background, investment philosophy, and fee structure.
- Credential Verification: Use resources like FINRA’s BrokerCheck, CFA Institute’s site, or CFP Board’s site to verify an advisor’s credentials.
- Know Your Financial Goals: Clearly define your financial priorities and choose an advisor whose expertise aligns with your needs.
- Understand Fee Structure: Be aware of how the advisor charges fees – whether a percentage of assets under management, flat fee, or hourly rate.
Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor:
- Length of experience, area of expertise, fee structure, investment philosophy, and communication frequency are vital questions to pose during an initial meeting.
In conclusion, the article provides comprehensive guidance on finding the right financial advisor, underscoring the importance of due diligence, personalized fit, and aligning with one's financial goals. As an expert, I endorse these principles and encourage individuals to approach their financial journey with careful consideration and professional guidance.