As you grow up, you learn quite a bit. Quality schools and supportive parents and communities may prepare you for the professional and social exchanges you experience from day to day. But unless you study a finance-related industry, school isn’t going to teach you much about how to manage the money you make — and forget about learning from friends and family because money is a taboo topic.
So, what do you do when you have questions about your personal finances or when you reach financial hurdles that seem too tall to clear?
One of your best courses of action is to reach out to a financial professional. Whether you have questions about investing, taxes, retirement planning, or budgeting, there are professionals who’ve made it their life’s work to provide the assistance you need. One professional that encompasses all these skill sets is a financial advisor.
The Best Financial Advisors of 2022
We’ve compiled a list of the advisors we believe take the top spot. Our overall best advisor offers quality advice with a fee structure that makes its team widely accessible to the average person. It’s also a well-established company with a proven track record of success.
You own shares of Apple, Amazon, Tesla. Why not Banksy or Andy Warhol? Their works’ value doesn’t rise and fall with the stock market. And they’re a lot cooler than Jeff Bezos.
Get Priority Access
Others on this list do at least one or two things very well. For example, some are great at mixing low-cost automated investment advice with access to human advisors, while others take extra steps to ensure their advisors’ interests align with their customers’.
Best Overall: Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Investments is our best pick, hands down. The company has built a track record of providing quality financial services to its customers ever since its founding in 1946. Fidelity is well known as a brokerage, but the company’s services span far beyond the stock market.
The company also offers a wide range of investment advice and general financial advisory services as well as comprehensive financial planning. Fidelity currently offers four levels of advice:
- Fidelity Go. Fidelity Go is the company’s robo-advisory service. The service is a registered investment advisor that takes much of the work out of the investment process. You won’t pay a penny in advisory fees for the services until you have at least $10,000 in your investment account. After that, you pay $3 per month on balances up to $49,999.99 and just 0.35% per year on balances of $50,000 or more. But if you’re looking for a human advisor, this isn’t the option for you.
- Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice. The Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice account would be the result if Fidelity Go and a human personal financial advisor services had a baby. Your investments are made through the robo-advisor, but you have access to a financial advisor for complete financial coaching any time you’d like to talk to one. The robot takes care of the investing and the human helps you make and achieve your long-term financial goals. The service comes with a 0.5% annual advisor fee and a $25,000 minimum balance requirement.
- Fidelity Wealth Management. Fidelity Wealth Management is the company’s comprehensive financial and investment advice service. The company assigns you a dedicated financial advisor who helps you navigate investment, tax, insurance, and estate planning. Gross advisory fees typically range from 0.5% to 1.5% annually, and this service has a $250,000 account minimum.
- Fidelity Private Wealth Management. Fidelity Private Wealth Management is designed for high net worth customers with at least $10 million in investable assets and at least $2 million invested with Fidelity. The service comes with an entire team of dedicated financial and investment advisors to help you navigate the complexities of managing significant assets and planning for the future. The service comes with a reasonable fee structure, with advisory fees that range from 0.20% to 1.04%.
Whether you’re looking for quality, low-cost investment advice or you need help managing multiple areas of your personal finances, Fidelity has you covered.
Best for Mixing Robo-Advice with a Human Touch: Vanguard Personal Advisor Services
Vanguard is another long-lived investment company with a successful track record that spans decades. The company is best known for its low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds, but those are far from the only services it offers.
Vanguard’s financial advisory services provide compelling value at low prices — that is, as long as you can meet the $50,000 account minimum. The service is a balanced mix of algorithm-based automated investment advice and a human touch. The robots handle most of your investment portfolio while human financial advisors help you improve your personal financial stability in all areas from budgeting to taxes.
The fees for the service are more than reasonable too. Most advisors charge around 1% annually, but Vanguard only charges 0.3% of the money they manage for you annually.
- Calculators. Vanguard has a robust list of financial calculators that help you make educated financial decisions.
- Real-Time Goal Tracking. Stay on top of your long-term goals in real-time either on the computer or through Beacon, Vanguard’s mobile app.
- Exclusive Funds. If you have more than $500,000 to invest with Vanguard, you can gain access to exclusive actively managed funds that are only available to qualifying Vanguard financial advisory customers.
Best for Commission-Free Advisors: Zoe Financial
Zoe Financial isn’t exactly a financial advisory firm, but the company definitely deserves its place on this list. The company is essentially a middleman that helps you find a financial advisor in your price range with services that meet your needs.
Our favorite part about the service is that all the financial advisors it refers customers to are commission-free. That means they’re not going to push you into a financial product that doesn’t fit with your needs just to earn a commission from the provider. Instead, the resources Zoe FInancial recommends focus on your unique financial needs with no conflicts of interest.
The best part is, Zoe Financial’s services are completely free — for you anyway. The company earns its money by charging the financial advisors on its platform fees for marketing, so the end user never foots the bill.
- Find Local Advisors. Zoe Financial has a network of financial advisors across the United States. Chances are, a few of them are right in your neighborhood. It’s a perfect fit if you’re more interested in face-to-face service than talking to a broker on the phone or relying on a robo-advisor.
- The Zoe Blog. The Zoe Blog features hundreds of articles on a wide range of financial topics, including several that help guide you through choosing and working with a financial advisor.
Best for Low-Cost Unlimited Access to Advisors: Betterment
Betterment is a relatively new style of investment firm. The company only has about 14 years in the industry, but it’s made a splash since its inception.
For the most part, the company’s advisory services are robotic, but if you have $100,000 or more invested with them, you gain unlimited access to a team of certified financial planners (CFPs). The team will walk you through investing topics like retirement planning and portfolio management as well as personal finance topics like budgeting, saving, and tax prep.
The fee for the service is just 0.40% of the amount you have invested with the company per year. If you have the $100,000 minimum requirement invested, you’ll only pay about $400 per year for unlimited access to the pros.
- Intuitive Retirement Planning Tools. Even if you only work with the robo-advisor, Betterment has some of the most intuitive retirement planning tools online today. The tools help you set and stick to retirement goals.
- Risk Tolerance Adjustments. Betterment’s robo-advisor is built with a simple way to adjust your portfolio based on your risk tolerance. If you’re not sure what your risk tolerance should be, let the robo-advisor set it for you. If you want a more moderate or aggressive portfolio, simply slide the bar across the screen in the direction you want your risk to go.
- $0 Minimum for Robo-Advice. If you don’t have $100,000, don’t worry. There’s no minimum account balance requirement for Betterment’s robo-advisor services.
Best for Flat-Rate Financial Planning Services: Harness Wealth
Harness Wealth works like Zoe Financial in that it’s not a financial advisory firm. Instead, the company acts as a middleman to connect you with good financial advisors.
Harness Wealth shines by offering connections to flat-rate advisors. Most advisors charge an annual wealth management fee based on a percentage of your portfolio, but you may not need a financial advisor to comb through every decimal point in your bank and investing accounts. You might just need a little help in one or two areas to make your financial situation better.
Whether it’s investment management, tax planning and access to a CPA, estate planning services, or a wide range of other financial services, Harness can help you find the right professional with a flat fee.
Moreover, like Zoe, you only pay fees to your advisor. It’s completely free to use Harness Wealth’s services because the company makes money by charging the financial advisors it refers you to for marketing.
- Build a Portfolio. You can build your portfolio on the Harness platform so your advisor has access to all the information they need to help you manage your finances.
- Free Consultations. Chat with advisors before you make any commitments to pay for services.
- Harness Articles. Harness Wealth has a blog that features hundreds of articles on topics related to the services its financial advisors provide.
Best for No Investment Management Fee: Facet Wealth
Facet Wealth is a financial planning firm that pairs you with one of its in-house certified financial planners (CFPs). Your CFP will help you in all areas of your financial life, including asset management, but you won’t be charged investment management fees.
Instead, Facet charges an annual flat fee that ranges from $1,800 to $6,000 based on the complexity of the plan you and your financial planner choose in a free consultation. The flat fee covers all services, so once you choose a plan, you don’t have to worry about additional fees for services down the road.
Although there is no investment management fee, the service is best for high net worth individuals because the $1,800 minimum fee amounts to a substantial percentage of smaller portfolios.
- Free Consultation. You can speak to one of the company’s CFPs for free to decide if this is the best option for you before committing to any fees.
- Virtual Meetings. Your meetings with your CFP are held via virtual video conference or over the phone, whichever you prefer.
- Dedicated CFP. You work with the same CFP every time you call so you don’t have to waste time getting a new pro up to speed with your unique financial situation when you have questions.
Methodology: How We Select the Best Financial Advisors
We used five criteria to build our list of the best financial advisors. In particular, we focused on companies that provide a high level of value for the prices they charge, make services accessible to the masses, have a strong track record of success, use the latest technology, and have plenty of positive reviews from real consumers.
When you work with a financial advisor, your goal is to improve your overall financial position. That’s not possible if your advisor charges you too much money. Granted, financial professionals are rarely cheap, and if they are, it can be a red flag. But the advisors on the list above all charge reasonable fees for the services they provide.
Most financial advisors only work with customers who can meet minimum wealth requirements, but those requirements don’t have to be in the millions. Although some of the most comprehensive services from some of the advisors mentioned above are only available to high net worth individuals, the majority offer advisory services that are accessible to most people.
We don’t want you working with advisors that have a history of providing inadequate services. All advisors mentioned above have a strong track record of providing quality services to their customers.
Technology has changed the way we do just about everything. If your financial advisor isn’t taking advantage of the latest and greatest in tech, you’re likely missing out. Not only do the providers above use the latest finance technology, many have developed proprietary technologies that simplify the process of personal finance management.
What a company says on its website means very little. You never know how effective a service is until you use it or talk to someone who has. However, customer reviews are a great substitute. We’re not talking about affiliate reviews written by people who’ve never even considered using the service; we’re talking about real customers sharing real opinions.
We scoured the web looking for mentions of each advisory service by real people. All the companies on our list made it here because they have a strong history of making real people happy.
Financial Advisor FAQs
Choosing a financial advisor is a big decision that’s best made after all of your questions are answered. If you have a few, you’re not alone. Find the answers to some of the most common questions about financial advisors below.
What Does a Financial Advisor Do?
Financial advisors provide a wide range of financial advice to their customers. The advice generally relates to money management, investing, taxes, retirement planning, estate planning, and budgeting.
How Much Do You Pay Financial Advisors?
As with any other industry, every business is different. However, most financial advisors charge about 1% of the money they help you manage annually. So, if you have $100,000, you can expect to spend about $1,000 a year to access an advisor.
The good news is that there are several advisors that charge below-average fees. Most of the options listed above fall into that category.
How Much Money Do I Need Before Getting a Financial Advisor?
Most financial advisors won’t work with customers who have under $100,000, but there are plenty of exceptions to the rule. For example, Fidelity gives you low-cost access to a financial advisor even if you only have $25,000 to invest.
Can Financial Advisors Give Tax Advice?
Financial advisors focus on all areas of personal finance, ranging from tax advice to investment advice and everything in between. Some financial advisors even specialize in accounting and tax prep.
How to Choose the Best Financial Advisor
When choosing a financial advisor, it’s important to get your information from the right source for two reasons:
- You’re Talking About Your Financial Stability. Your financial advisor’s job is to help you build a solid financial foundation and help you build it into a stable structure. Your advisor’s advice is crucial to your spending, saving, and investing habits, your long-term financial stability, and ultimately your retirement. Those just aren’t the types of things you can afford to risk on a shoddy advisor.
- Get What You Pay For. Quality personal financial advice rarely comes free. In most cases, you have to pay experts for their time. When you shell out the greenbacks it takes to access financial advice, it’s important that you get the quality you pay for.
As you search for the right financial advisor for your needs, compare fees, track records, and customer reviews. Investing time in the comparison can make a huge difference in your long-term financial outcome.