Grand Rapids may be better known for its many furniture makers and nearby vacation destinations — but residents also have a plethora of financial advisors to choose from. Finding the right advisor in Grand Rapids is a lot about figuring out the proper fit, which means understanding your financial needs and goals and how much you’re willing to spend.
That being said, we understand it can be difficult to compare firms and data points, so we’ve compiled the most important information to help guide your decision. To determine the best advisors in Grand Rapids, Mich., we only considered firms that manage individual accounts and offer financial planning services. We then ranked these firms based on assets under management (AUM), which serves as a general metric for a firm’s size. Although not formally part of our ranking, we encourage readers to take note of each firm’s client-to-advisor ratio, as this indicates how much attention you may get as a client. All data used in our methodology is taken from each firm’s most recent Form ADV filing with the SEC, so as to ensure the accuracy and reliability of our rankings.
Our ranking is not indicative of which firm may be best for you, but it can help make it easier to identify a financial advisor that fits your needs. Take a look at our list below for the top firms in Michigan’s second-largest city and their key highlights.
How much would you like to invest?
|Firm||Minimum assets required||Fee structure|
|Retirement Wealth Advisors, Inc.||$25,000||A percentage of AUM
|Norris Perne & French LLP||At least $1.5 million recommended, due to minimum annual fee of $7,500||A percentage of AUM
|Financial Advisory Corporation||None, but minimum annual fee of $9,500||A percentage of AUM
Other (a combination of AUM, net worth and base fee)
|Midwest Capital Advisors, LLC||None, although a minimum fee may apply||A percentage of AUM
Other (consulting fees)
|Grand Wealth Management, LLC||Generally $1 million, although clients with smaller accounts may be eligible for standalone portfolio management or financial planning||A percentage of AUM
|Strategies Wealth Advisors, LLC||$1 million||A percentage of AUM
|Blue Water Asset Management||None||A percentage of AUM
|Voisard Asset Management Group||$250,000 for portfolio management||A percentage of AUM
For our search, we looked at firms across the city of Grand Rapids, Mich. All of the firms considered are bound by fiduciary duty, registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and offer individual account management and financial planning services. Information used for our methodology criteria is taken directly from each firm’s most recent Form ADV filing and brochure, found on the IAPD database.
To localize our results for this list, we exclusively looked at firms that met the above criteria and had their headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich., as per the address provided in the Form ADV. Of those firms, we only considered those that offer financial planning services and portfolio management to individual investors. To be considered for this list, firms also could have no more than one disciplinary disclosure in the past 10 years. From there, the remaining firms that met all of the above stipulations were ranked in order of highest to lowest AUM, as this is an indication of a firm’s size and how many assets it has been entrusted to manage.
In our reviews, we have also listed several other key features that will help you determine which financial advisor may be most fitting for your investing style and financial needs. While our ranking system and methodology is designed to help you compare firms, it does not indicate which firm may be best for you. All information here is accurate as of June 15, 2021, but we urge you to also evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.
Retirement Wealth Advisors, Inc. works with a large mix of individuals and institutions. This includes thousands of individuals and families, a select number of whom are high net worth investors (for reference, the SEC defines high net worth as having at least $750,000 to invest or a net worth of at least $1.5 million). Institutions the firm serves include pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, businesses and other investment advisors.
The team at Retirement Wealth Advisors can continuously manage a client’s investment account and provide financial planning. These offerings can be purchased together or as standalone services. During a financial planning consultation, a wide breadth of topics may be addressed, such as cash flow, insurance, the client’s 401(k) options, asset allocation or planning for retirement, taxes, education or estates. Keep in mind, however, that advisors at Retirement Wealth Advisors primarily solicit client money for sister firm and registered investment advisor FormulaFolios, LLC, which can manage client money for advisors using its money management algorithms and provide advisors with back office support.
Founded in 2005, Retirement Wealth Advisors is based in Grand Rapids with over 170 additional offices nationwide. The firm is owned by Brookstone Capital Management, LLC, an affiliated registered investment advisor based in Wheaton, Ill.
The team at Retirement Wealth Advisors initially reviews all aspects of a client’s financial affairs to determine their unique needs and goals. Then, investing services are usually provided through separately managed accounts. Investments used may include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, variable annuities and life insurance, options and futures contracts and interests in partnerships. Advisors may recommend an outside manager for some or all of a client’s portfolio. They may also suggest mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) managed by affiliated firm FormulaFolio Investments.
To determine their investment recommendations, the team at Retirement Wealth Advisors combines various forms of investment analysis. They examine fundamental factors like the company’s health, competitive advantages and management team, as well as technical ones like charting patterns that may indicate future price movements.
Retirement Wealth Advisors and its management team disclose no legal or disciplinary actions, giving the firm a clean record. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all registered investment advisory firms to disclose any legal or disciplinary actions, including regulatory, civil and criminal, against the firm, its employees or its affiliates in the previous decade that a potential client would find material to their evaluation of the firm or the integrity of its leaders.
You can view the firm’s IAPD page to learn more. Additionally, you should always look up your specific financial professional using the search tool at www.investor.gov/crs to see if they may have a legal or disciplinary record.
Branded as NPF Investment Advisors, this firm has a lengthy history, as it initially opened its doors in 1933. Today, the firm is owned by its five partners, including chief investment officer Kurt Arvidson. The firm works out of its single Grand Rapids office.
Most of the firm’s clients are individuals, particularly those who are high net worth. The firm also works with select institutions including charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans, businesses and others. Its menu of services includes continuous investment management, as well as financial planning and consulting. The latter can include a myriad of topics, including special needs planning, business planning, tax strategies, Social Security optimization, equity compensation and education planning.
Due to its minimum annual fee of $7,500, the firm recommends clients have at least $1.5 million to invest.
Generally, advisors at Norris Perne & French start by having discussions with clients to understand their unique goals, needs and risk tolerance. The advisory team focuses on allocating client money across an appropriate mix of securities, fixed income and cash. They primarily rely on fundamental analysis, meaning they deeply research a company’s financial health, managers, competitive market, operations and other advantages to try to find securities they believe are mispriced and will rerate in the future. Occasionally, advisors use other more technical forms of analysis, though they generally place less weight on these findings.
Typical investment recommendations made by Norris Perne & French include stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds. Occasionally, advisors weigh in on other products including annuities, real estate investment trusts (REITs), partnerships in oil and gas interests and other private entities. The firm manages several of its own proprietary strategies: blue chip income, core growth, ETF allocation strategy and fixed income.
Norris Perne & French discloses no legal or disciplinary events in the prior 10 years against the firm or its employees or affiliates that potential clients would find materially impacts their view of the firm and the integrity of its leaders. Visit the firm’s IAPD page for more information.
Individuals and families who both are and are not high net worth turn to Financial Advisory Corporation for ongoing portfolio management and financial planning services. The firm can assist with many planning topics, such as planning for retirement, transferring wealth or planning after the death of a loved one, which includes financial counsel for surviving spouses. In addition, it also caters to select institutions, including retirement plans and nonprofit organizations.
Financial Advisory Corporation typically offers investment management and financial planning services together, as it believes that decisions made around financial planning often impact how a portfolio should be invested. A limited number of clients also use the firm’s automated investment program, where client money is invested in a mix of proprietary strategies consisting of ETFs and cash.
The firm does not require a minimum investment amount — that said, it does charge an annual fee of $9,500 for its services. As such, Financial Advisory Corporation specifies that its services generally are best suited for clients with at least $750,000 to $1 million to invest in order to make its minimum fee worthwhile.
Financial Advisory Corporation opened its doors in 1988 and is primarily owned by founder Paul Anthes; it operates from a single office in Grand Rapids.
Rather than focusing entirely on picking winning stocks, the team at Financial Advisory Corporation places an emphasis on recommending an appropriate asset allocation for a client’s unique situation. Portfolios typically include mutual funds, ETFs and money market accounts, though the advisory team rarely uses margin transactions or options. Notably, accounts are rebalanced if the portfolio drifts from its recommended allocation by more than 5%.
To identify their mutual fund recommendations, advisors with Financial Advisory Corporation look at the fund managers’ track records and experience performing across different economic cycles. They also use fundamental analysis to decide if a stock is mispriced, examining relevant factors of a particular company — this includes its financial health, management team, industry conditions and competitive advantages.
Financial Advisory Corporation has a clean record, disclosing no criminal, civil, regulatory or other disciplinary actions against the firm or its employees or affiliates over the last decade that a client would find relevant when assessing the firm and the integrity of its leaders. Visit the firm’s IAPD page to learn more.
The bulk of assets managed by Midwest Capital Advisors comes from pension and profit-sharing plans — still, the firm also has many individual and family clients who tap the group for investment management of retirement and non-retirement assets, as well as financial consulting. And although it does not institute an across-the-board minimum investment, the firm may charge a minimum fee to discourage very small accounts.
In addition to its traditional portfolio management services, Midwest Capital Advisors also offers an automated online investment management program where clients are invested in portfolios managed and constructed by the advisory team using ETFs and cash. The automated investing program requires a minimum of $5,000 to open an account.
Founded in 2003, Midwest Capital Advisors works out of its single office in Grand Rapids. The firm is owned by a group of five individuals, four of whom currently work at the firm.
When investing client assets, Midwest Capital Advisors factors in the client’s needs, resources, risk tolerance, goals and other factors, and then decides which, if any, of the firm’s proprietary strategies is appropriate. The firm’s recommendations typically include one or more of its model portfolios, which range from very conservative to very aggressive and typically combine stocks and bonds (custom allocations are also available when necessary). Both passive and active funds are used, as the firm believes that in many cases low-cost mutual funds and ETFs are the best avenues of achieving broad diversification.
Typically, the firm works with clients using discretionary management, meaning advisors do not ask clients for preapproval before placing trades. Advisors generally do not factor in a client’s other investments or specific tax consequences, although exceptions exist.
Midwest Capital Advisors discloses no legal or disciplinary events against the firm or its employees or affiliates over the last 10 years that a potential client would deem as material when forming their opinion of the firm and the integrity of its management team. Visit the firm’s IAPD page for additional information.
Founded in 2004, Grand Wealth Management, LLC is owned by four of its employees: Jeffrey Williams, Steven Starnes, Janelle Anderson and Anastasia Wiese. The firm works out of its Grand Rapids office.
Grand Wealth Management works with roughly 150 individuals and families, including business owners, professionals, executives and retirees; many of the firm’s individual clients have substantial wealth. The firm also works with a limited number of institutions, such as foundations, endowments, businesses and retirement plans.
Its menu of services includes portfolio management and financial planning, which can either be combined or provided as standalone services. The planning may include a myriad of topics, such as retirement, taxes, charitable giving, transferring wealth, business planning and more. A minimum of $1 million is generally recommended for the firm’s combined financial planning and investment management services.
The team at Grand Wealth Management believes that asset allocation, rather than stellar stock picking, best determines a portfolio’s performance, and holds diversification as being essential. Advisors also pay attention to investing expenses and taxes, since they reduce net returns.
In general, the firm recommends indexed and passive mutual funds and ETFs; individual stocks are not typically used. Advisors usually use low-cost institutional asset class funds advised by companies such as Dimensional Fund Advisors and Vanguard, among others, which have low operating expenses, low portfolio turnover and below-average capital gains distributions. Grand Wealth Management may also recommend outside asset managers for individual equity or fixed income securities in a separate account.
Grand Wealth Management has no legal or disciplinary events disclosed on its Form ADV, where the firm is required to share any actions against the firm in the last 10 years that a client would find material to their evaluation of the firm and the leaders’ integrity. You can visit the firm’s IAPD page to learn more.
Founded in 2007, Strategies Wealth Advisors, LLC registered as an investment advisor with the SEC in 2017. It is owned by a group of its key employees: founder and managing director Michael Berkemeier, as well as fellow managing director Aaron Veldheer, director John Vande Guchte and director and chief compliance officer Mark Ghafari. The Grand Rapids-based advisory firm has an additional office in Chicago.
The firm works with individuals who both are and are not considered high net worth, although the firm now generally requires a $1 million minimum investment for new clients (however, this minimum may be waived at the firm’s discretion). Rounding out the firm’s client list are pension and profit-sharing plans, charities and corporations.
For its individual clients, Strategies Wealth Advisors provides investment management and financial planning, including the creation of written financial plans. The firm also offers consulting services for family or closely held businesses, where they can advise on hiring strategies, stock ownership, generational transfer planning and other business needs.
Strategies Wealth Advisors primarily relies on two main investment strategies, asset allocation and fundamental analysis. According to the firm, the appropriate allocation mix will depend on the client’s individual circumstances and goals, but usually will include equities, fixed income, international, cash and equivalents. Typical investment recommendations include mutual funds, ETFs and stocks that the firm has analyzed based on the underlying factors affecting the investment’s value. Occasionally, the firm may tap sub-advisers to manage some or all of a client’s portfolio.
Advisors manage client money through wrap accounts, meaning the client pays one bundled fee that covers asset management as well as transaction charges. Advisors also generally manage accounts using discretionary relationships, meaning they do not need to ask for preapproval before placing trades in client accounts.
Strategies Wealth Advisors discloses no legal or disciplinary events against the firm, its employees or its affiliates in the previous 10 years that clients would find materially impacts their view of the firm or the leaders’ integrity. To view the firm’s Form ADV, where the required criminal, civil and regulatory items are disclosed, visit Strategies Wealth Advisors’ IAPD page.
Blue Water Asset Management was founded in 2015, and is majority owned by Mark Redfield, the firm’s managing member. Advisors affiliated with this firm are not necessarily branded under Blue Water Asset Management, and instead offer services under their own brands: Capital Income Consultants, Jay Greer & Co. and Redfield Financial Group. Based in Grand Rapids, the firm has additional Michigan offices in Lansing and Grand Haven, as well as a location in Chamblee, Ga., near Atlanta.
The firm offers portfolio management and financial planning, the latter of which may encompass holistic planning or consulting on a single subject. The group’s client list includes hundreds of individual clients, most of whom are not considered high net worth by the SEC. The firm also works with a select number of institutions, including businesses, charitable organizations, insurance companies, government entities and others.
To select investments, the advisory team at Blue Water Asset Management generally relies on modern portfolio theory, a theory of portfolio construction that aims to generate the greatest returns for a set amount of risk (or minimize it for a set return) by appropriately diversifying clients’ asset allocation mix. Securities are purchased for the long and short term, and also sometimes use short sales and options.
Advisors primarily recommend mutual funds and ETFs. Rather than analyzing individual securities using quantitative or qualitative techniques, the firm focuses on how to allocate a client’s assets among various securities. Advisors also may recommend an outside portfolio manager to handle some or all of a client’s portfolio, and they often rely on third-party model portfolios and investment strategies.
Unless specifically agreed to in writing, tax efficiency isn’t the advisor’s primary consideration.
On its Form ADV filings with the SEC, Blue Water Asset Management discloses no legal or disciplinary actions against the firm that would prove material to a client assessing the firm and its leaders’ integrity. You can learn more by visiting the firm’s IAPD page.
You also should look up the specific advisors you are contemplating working with at https://www.investor.gov/CRS to verify whether an individual advisor may have a disciplinary disclosure.
In business since 2002, Voisard Asset Management Group primarily works with individuals and families, offering them investment management, financial planning and consulting. Financial planning can be utilized in conjunction with asset management, which requires a minimum of $250,000 in assets, or on a standalone basis. Aside from individual investors, Voisard Asset Management Group also works with select institutions such as charitable organizations, and provides advisory services to employee benefit plans.
Legally known as VAM Group, the firm’s principal owner is its president, Douglas Voisard, with additional select employees also serving as minority owners. The firm works out of its sole office in Grand Rapids.
Voisard Asset Management Group manages portfolios based on each client’s objectives, as well as their tax, risk tolerance and liquidity considerations. The firm uses a mix of analysis methods to determine the most appropriate investments for each client: For example, advisors weigh qualitative and quantitative factors to determine how a price may move in the future. As for trading strategies, the firm buys and sells for the long term and short term.
Mutual funds are primarily recommended mutual funds, but the firm also may weigh in on or recommend stocks, bonds, options contracts, variable annuities and life insurance, as well as interests in partnerships investing in real estate and oil and gas interests, among others. Ultimately, this will depend on each client’s unique needs and risk tolerance.
Voisard Asset Management Group has a clean legal and disciplinary record, disclosing no events against the firm or its employees or affiliates in the prior decade that clients would find material in their assessment of the firm and the integrity of its leaders. You can find the firm’s IAPD page to learn more.
No. Most financial advisors are accustomed to investing and managing your assets, known as asset management. While you may plan to use those funds to one day support your retirement, not all advisors can specifically help you plan for retirement, such as crunching how much you’ll need to save and setting you up to achieve your goals. Thus, if you’re interested in retirement planning, look for an advisor who specifically offers services in this area or takes a holistic approach to your finances.
You can start by searching for a financial advisor on the tools offered by trusted organizations such as the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) or letsmakeaplan.org. MagnifyMoney also offers a financial advisor search tool.
To narrow down the list, focus on the advisors who accept clients with the amount of money you plan to invest, since some advisors have large minimum investment requirements. Be sure you ask and are comfortable with their answers to how, and by whom, they are paid. Some firms receive money only from clients, known as fee-only firms. Finally, check their discipline history at investor.gov/CRS.
Michigan residents pay fairly moderate income tax rates, facing a flat rate of 4.25%, though Grand Rapids residents pay an additional 1.50%. And though there is no need to worry about state inheritance taxes or estate taxes — Michigan does not levy either — large estates may still face federal estate taxes however.
When it comes to making sure you’re on an appropriate path to secure your financial future, you don’t necessarily want to wing it. While you may feel comfortable in how much you’re spending and saving today, it’s always helpful to check in with a professional who has the experience and skills and is watching the industry every day to ensure you’re making the best financial decisions for your future.
A financial advisor can weigh in on more than your investment portfolio, and address all aspects of your financial life, including any gaps you face such as insurance needs, or the best way to fund big ticket expenses like paying for college or buying a house, or how to pass assets or businesses to the next generation. A professional can also help you make sure your emotions don’t take over during market turmoil, so you can stay on your long-term course.
The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.