6 best financial advisors of September 2023
Financial advisors can help you manage through different aspects of your financial life like planning for retirement, saving for a child’s education or just investing in general. But with hundreds of thousands of financial advisors to choose from across the U.S., identifying a financial advisor to work with can be a challenge. The quality of a financial advisor can vary greatly from one firm to the next and there can even be differences between advisors at the same firm. Bankrate evaluated dozens of financial advisory firms and identified some of the best to consider for your various financial needs.
The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for .
Top financial advisor firms
Vanguard may be best known for its plethora of low-cost fund options, but it also offers several different financial advisor options that will meet the needs of a variety of clients. Vanguard offers three different levels of service that allow you to speak with a financial advisor with minimum asset levels ranging from $50,000 to $5 million. All three service levels provide access to personalized financial planning, various investment options and automated tax-loss harvesting.
If you’re looking for a dedicated advisor to work with over time, you’ll need to choose Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Select program, which comes with a $500,000 investment minimum. Those looking for more complex financial advice such as estate planning or charitable giving advice will need Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Wealth Management services. All of Vanguard’s financial advisor options come with annual fees ranging from 0.30 percent to 0.40 percent, and the fees decline as your assets grow.
- AUM: $118.9 billion in discretionary client assets
- Account minimums: $50,000 to $5 million depending on level of advice
- Fees: 0.30 percent to 0.40 percent
Charles Schwab offers one of the best online brokerage platforms, but you can also find financial advisor solutions that meet your needs. Schwab financial consultants are available for free to clients with $500,000 in assets, and they can help you build a financial plan and sift through different investment options. For those looking for an even more personalized approach, Schwab Wealth Advisory is available starting at $1 million in assets and charges an annual fee of 0.80, with the fees declining at higher asset levels.
Schwab can also help you find an independent financial advisor in your area through its website findyourindependentadvisor.com. Fees for these advisors may be significantly higher than those for Schwab’s wealth advisory business, however.
- AUM: $551.3 billion in “advice solutions”
- Account minimums: $500,000 to $1 million depending on level of advice
- Fees: 0.80 percent; advisor network fees vary
Fidelity has been around for more than 75 years and is one of the largest financial services companies in the U.S. The company offers a handful of options for clients looking to work with financial advisors. If you’re looking for a basic level of service such as developing an investment strategy and staying on track with your goals, you may want to consider Fidelity’s phone-based advisors. They’ll help you develop a retirement savings plan and tax-smart investing moves to help you reach your goals for an advisory fee of 1.1 percent and a minimum investment of $50,000.
If you want your own dedicated advisor, you’ll need at least $250,000 in assets and could pay up to 1.5 percent in annual advisory fees. For this higher fee, you’ll also get access to a broader array of services, such as insurance and estate planning.
- AUM: $652.6 billion in discretionary client assets
- Account minimums: $50,000 to $2 million depending on level of advice
- Fees: 0.50 percent to 1.50 percent
Facet is one of the most unique financial advisor firms on this list in that it doesn’t charge an annual fee based on your level of assets, but rather charges a flat fee based on the complexity of your financial situation. You’ll get advice from a certified financial planner (CFP) who acts as a fiduciary, and your fee generally ranges from $2,000 to $8,000 per year. While this might sound like a lot, it actually ends up being quite reasonable for investors with $1 million or more in assets, and can even make sense for those with lower asset levels.
You’ll work with a dedicated financial advisor that you meet with via video conference. They’ll be able to help you with any number of financial issues such as retirement planning, taxes, buying a house, saving for college, insurance, estate planning and more. There are no investment minimums, so anyone can sign up, though the fees make the most sense for those who have already accumulated significant savings.
- AUM: $2.1 billion in discretionary client assets
- Account minimums: None
- Fees: $2,000 to $8,000 per year
Edward Jones offers a traditional financial advisor experience, but its fees are below that of other well-known firms, which can often run over 2 percent each year. You can get started with as little as $5,000, but you’ll need at least $25,000 if you want your advisor to manage your portfolio for you. Fees start at 1.35 percent, but decline at higher asset levels. There is also a portfolio strategy fee for certain accounts that starts at 0.19 percent and declines to 0.09 percent for assets over $10 million.
Edward Jones has nearly 19,000 financial advisors with offices in all 50 states. The firm offers various services including retirement planning, education savings, estate planning, insurance and more.
- AUM: $252.4 billion in discretionary client assets
- Account minimums: $5,000 to $500,000 depending on type of account
- Fees: program fee starts at 1.35 percent; other fees also apply
Alternative option: Robo-advisors
Investors who are largely looking for help managing their investments may benefit from using a robo-advisor instead of a traditional financial advisor. Robo-advisors use algorithms to build a portfolio based on your goals and risk tolerance, and typically come with low investment minimums and fees well below that of most human advisors. Both robo-advisors and human financial advisors can help with investment management, but human advisors typically offer a greater number of services and a deeper relationship, albeit at a higher cost. Some robo-advisors offer the option of working with a human advisor if that’s important to you. Here are some of the best robo-advisors to consider if you decide you don’t need all the services offered by traditional financial advisors.
Financial advisor FAQs
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.