If you search “financial advisors near me,” you’ll likely end up with a long list of financial advisory firms in your area. You’ll want to select several to call and vet, perhaps setting up an initial consultation to ensure the firm meets your financial planning needs and that it has expertise in the areas where you need help. You’ll also want to double-check its credentials and confirm you understand its pay structure.
If you don’t want to jump through those hoops on your own, you can work with a matching firm that will help you find a financial advisor near you who meets your needs or use a robo-advisor.
How to find financial advisors near you
1. Use an online advisor matching service
It can take a while to find the right financial advisor, but some services will match you with an advisor in your area for free. Typically, the advisors pay the services to be part of their network, and the services vet the advisors for you. When you sign up, most services prompt you to take a quiz that determines which advisors would be the best fit for your financial needs and budget.
Here are three of the best financial advisor matching services. They have wide networks of financial advisors across the U.S.
Zoe matches clients with vetted advisors who hold certified financial planner, certified public accountant and/or chartered financial analyst designations. Some of Zoe’s advisors can even help you with tax preparation. Zoe’s network advisors typically charge an annual fee that ranges from 0.50% to 1.50% of your assets under management.
Zoe may be a good choice for lower-net-worth clients, because there is no account minimum to find an advisor.
All of the financial advisory firms on the Harness Wealth platform are fiduciaries, which means they legally must work in the best interest of their clients. Network advisors include CFPs, CFAs, CPAs and tax attorneys. Harness’ network advisors typically charge 1% of assets under management. Flat fee structures are also available for some services.
Wealthramp offers a network of advisors that are vetted fiduciaries. Potential clients fill out an online survey and are matched with up to three advisors — they can then review the advisors’ profiles and opt to schedule free initial consultations over phone, Zoom, chat or in person. Wealthramp takes care to match clients based on specific criteria — a local area or other preferences. For example, if you’d prefer to work with an advisor who identifies as a woman, you can filter for that.
2. The CFP Board website
Certified financial planners, or CFPs, hold the most stringent financial advisory designation. The CFP board allows you to search for advisors using several criteria, including planning services, client focus and preferred language.
3. XY Planning Network
Every XY Planning Network advisor offers virtual services. Advisors hold the CFP designation and work on a commission-free basis.
4. Association of African American Financial Advisors
The AAAA is a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to help the Black community sustain generation wealth through expert guidance. The organization can help you find a Black advisor who can assist you with all your financial needs.
Robo-advisors are automated services that invest your money for you. If you’re just looking for investment management, a robo-advisor may be a good choice. Their fees are much lower than typical financial advisors (around 0.25% versus 0.50% or 1%) and some come with extra features including access to human financial advisors and banking.
6. The Garrett Planning Network
The Garrett Planning Network’s member advisors must be fee-only, offer financial planning services on an hourly or as-needed basis, be financially accessible, hold or be working toward a CFP, CPA or PFS designation and adhere to a fiduciary oath.
7. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
NAPFA was founded in 1983 and supports over 4,400 advisors across the country. NAPFA members abide by a fiduciary oath and follow a strict code of ethics.
8. Ask for a recommendation
Check in with family, friends or colleagues and see if they can make a recommendation. Often, people have long-term relationships with their financial advisor. If your friend has worked with an advisor for ten years and loves them, it’s probably a good sign.
Virtual financial advisors
If you can’t find an advisor you like in your area, you may want to try an online service. Some offer videoconferencing, which makes it easier to connect virtually.
Most financial advisors who operate virtually are fairly competitive from a price standpoint, with a few charging fees as low as 0.30% or 0.40% of assets under management. These lower-cost advisors often offer investment management and access to a team of financial advisors, rather than pairing you with a dedicated advisor. There are also online planning services that offer similar services as in-person advisors, such as comprehensive retirement planning, college planning, home buying and estate planning in addition to investment management. Some advisors include tax help and preparation services.
What to keep in mind when finding a local financial advisor
If you’d prefer to work with an advisor in your community, and you’re prepared to do the legwork yourself, here’s how to approach the process.
Know which services you’ll need. Financial advisors often have certifications that correspond to the types of services they offer, so make sure you know exactly what kind of help you want. Think about whether you’ll need assistance with estate planning, tax help or managing beneficiaries. If you’re just looking for investment management, you may want to consider using a robo-advisor or learning how to invest on your own.
Double-check an advisor’s certifications. Before you even make an appointment to talk with an advisor, you’ll want to look up and verify any certifications they have. “Financial advisor” is just a general term that anyone can call themselves. Aim to work with a CFP for financial planning and a CPA for tax preparation, and verify those credentials on the respective licensing board’s website.
Show up with questions. It’s a good idea to interview an advisor before committing to working with them. This ensures not only that you like their strategies and options, but also that your personalities mesh and that you feel comfortable talking to them about your finances. Here are 10 questions to ask a financial advisor.
Verify their fee. At the end of the day, your financial advisor is offering a service you’re paying for. Make sure you’re OK with the fee they propose, and be sure you understand how their fee structure works. Many traditional advisors charge a percentage of your assets under management, typically around 1%, but some charge flat fees.