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What does our form do?

When you fill out our form, MagnifyMoney will point you toward potential advisors, including robo-advisors, who may be available to work with you.

Our form will ask for a bit of your financial and personal information, including your age, zip code, annual household income and total amount of assets.

Depending on your answers, we may also ask for your full name and contact information to make communication easier. Of course, this is optional to provide.

Once you have provided this information, MagnifyMoney will provide you with a list of the financial advisors on our platform who have shown interest in working with clients like you.

Need more help on your financial advisor search?

Robo Advisor vs. Financial Advisor

In this age of technology, robo-advisors have risen to become many investors’ go-to when it comes to asset management. Robo-advisors are online investment management systems, often heavily mobile and app-based. They take an automated approach to investing, and most often don’t offer human involvement, instead allowing their algorithms to do the work. Robo-advisors also generally charge lower fees and have lower minimum asset requirements.

Financial advisors, on the other hand, offer a traditional relationship with a professional who personally manages your portfolio. Some may also help you manage other aspects of your finances, too. Financial advisors can offer a higher level of personalization, though you’ll generally face higher costs for that added customization.

Learn more about these two types of advisors.

Robo AdvisorFinancial Advisor
Online and mobile onlyIn-person advisor
Lower fees (0%-0.89%)Typically higher fees (flat fee, hourly or asset-based fees ranging from 0.59% to 1.18%)
Low to no minimum balance requirementsHigher minimum investment requirements
Automatic asset allocation based on your risk tolerancePersonalized, human-led asset management
Model portfolios based on questionnairesPersonalized portfolios with greater input and guidance
Account offerings may be limitedWider range of account offerings depending on goals and preferences

Financial Advisor Reviews

Although financial advisors are usually local, check out our picks for these financial advisors that operate in most states.


Financial Advisor basics

Financial advisors regularly seek to help their clients meet their long-term financial goals, including in the following situations:

  • When a client has a lot of money and/or assets to manage — think $100,000 and over.
  • When a client has a complicated financial situation — think saving toward retirement and a child's college education, while also managing several rental properties and employees.
  • When a client is going through a pivotal life moment or big financial changes — think getting married, having children, getting a divorce or, receiving a windfall.

Investment advisors provide securities and investment advice to clients, as well as asset management. Registered investment advisors (RIAs) must be licensed by their state and/or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Financial planners help you create a comprehensive financial plan at every stage of life. This can include tax preparedness, cash flow management, retirement planning, estate planning, college savings, debt reduction and more. Many financial planners can specialize in one of these areas or more, such as an estate planner.

Wealth managers provide services that are geared toward higher net worth individuals — think millions of dollars in assets. They generally provide services that are more comprehensive in scope, beyond just general investing advice.

Brokers, or registered representatives, buy and sell securities products like bonds, mutual funds and stocks. Stockbrokers work for broker-dealers and must be licensed by the state in which they practice. Stockbrokers must also be registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and pass FINRA stockbroker exams to practice.

People often assess their financial situation to determine what they want to get out of working with a financial advisor before starting to look for one. Many people consider:

  1. How much they can afford to pay a financial advisor and compare that against an advisor’s total costs. This includes not just the advisor’s fee, but other charges they may incur as well, such as trading fees
  2. If the financial advisor offers the services they’re seeking and cater to clients like them. If someone is looking to address tax concerns, for example, they generally look for someone who specializes in tax planning, like a certified public accountant (CPA). People also sometimes look for advisors who cater to a specific demographic like women or business executives, so make sure their specialties align with them and their situation.
  3. Whether a financial advisor is a reputable professional. Many people consider whether a financial advisor is a fiduciary who will act with their best interests in mind. A financial advisor’s Form ADV provides background on the firm, including its fee schedule, any potential conflicts of interest and disciplinary disclosures.
  4. What they learn from meeting the advisor in person and asking questions. Many people find it helpful to work with someone they can get along with and feel like they can trust. They may also speak to other clients to get their assessment of the advisor.
  5. Where the advisor is geographically located. Some people find being located near their advisor is helpful for the sake of convenience. That way, they can talk and work together in person.
  1. Are you a fiduciary? A fiduciary is bound to act in your best interests, This will help ensure that they are providing recommendations that are truly right for their client’s financial situation — not just their bottom line.
  2. How do you get paid? Asking about a financial advisor’s fee schedule will reveal whether they receive outside money, often through sales-based commissions, instead of being paid solely by their client. This can create conflicts of interest (More on how financial advisors make money below.)
  3. What are your credentials? Some credentials indicate extensive and continued financial education and testing. (More on what these credentials mean below.)

Having a financial advisor located nearby can be convenient for a client. That way, the client and advisor can talk and work together in person. A bank or credit union may have in-house financial advisors, which adds an extra level of convenience.

A robo-advisor, on the other hand, offers automated portfolio management and an online experience. Some robo-advisors include the chance to speak with human advisors as a more premium feature, while others offer it to all levels.

Before working with a financial advisor, many people take a look at their credentials. These can indicate their level of experience and education, as well as their areas of expertise. Though there are numerous certifications an advisor can earn, here are some common certifications financial advisors maintain:

Certified Financial Planners (CFP) are educated and trained in eight areas of financial planning, including taxes, retirement, estates, insurance and risk management. In addition to their initial education and examination, CFPs must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years. Additionally, CFPs must abide by standards set by the CFP board.

Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) are certified to provide you with advanced investment analysis and portfolio management. The CFA designation is globally recognized, and CFAs must go through extensive education and training that continues throughout their career. CFAs are also bound to fiduciary duty, which means they must act in their clients’ best interests.

Chartered Financial Consultants (ChFC) cover everything from tax planning to wealth management, advising based on specific needs, risk management and more. To become a ChFC, an advisor must complete the eight courses and pass an exam issued by The American College of Financial Services. The ChFC’s Professional Pledge includes a commitment to fiduciary duty.

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are best known for their tax services like accounting and auditing, but they can also provide personal financial planning, technology consulting and business valuation services.

Retirement Income Certified Professionals (RICP) are specialized financial advisors who can help you build a retirement plan and ensure you meet your financial goals. The RICP credential requires the completion of three educational courses and an exam.

Certified Private Wealth Advisors® (CPWAs®) serve high net worth individuals, (defined by the SEC as those with at least $750,000 in assets under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million). CPWAs must complete a monthslong certified education program and pass an examination at the end of the course. The certification is issued by the Investments & Wealth Institute. CPWAs must commit to following the Institute’s Code of Professional Responsibility, which requires CPWAs to act in the best interest of the client.

Not all financial advisors make money in the same way. While financial advisors will typically earn money from the fees their clients pay — whether through asset-based, hourly or fixed fees — some advisors may bring in money through other avenues, such as selling financial products. In fact, some advisors exclusively earn money from commissions.

Here are the three main financial advisor fee structures and what they mean:

  • Fee-only financial advisors only make money through the fees their clients pay for their services. This means they cannot be swayed by the potential to earn commissions from selling certain products or by making particular recommendations, thus eliminating certain possible conflicts of interest. Fee-only advisors typically charge clients based on a percentage of assets under management, though they may also have flat fees, hourly rates or subscription-based fees.
  • Fee-based financial advisors make money through a mix of commissions and fees. So while a client might be paying an advisor to manage their money, they may also be financially incentivized to make certain recommendations or sell particular products. This can create conflicts of interest.
  • Commission-based advisors receive money on commission from third parties that offer other financial services and products. This means the advisor makes money when they make a certain sale, often in investments like annuities or mutual funds. This payment setup may be good for the advisor, but it can also mean an advisor pushes a client to buy something that they don’t necessarily want or need in order to serve their bottom line.

A financial advisor generally charges an annual fee of 0.59% to 1.18% of a client’s total assets under management, although the exact cost will depend on the advisor, the firm, the client’s asset balance and the advisor’s fee structure.

While this may not seem like a lot, it can take a chunk out of a person’s savings, especially for lower-level investors. For example, someone who has $250,000 under management is going to end up paying their financial advisor $5,000 in a single year at a 2% rate.

A financial advisor may charge other fees, such as performance-based fees (for when the advisor hits a benchmark); flat fees for extra or separate services or products; and investment-related costs like trading commissions.

Looking for Investor Education?

Check out these articles to learn all the basics of investing

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