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9 Best Financial Advisors of December 2019

Alana BensonDecember 9, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Ellevest Premium

on Ellevest's website

Ellevest Premium

Ellevest Premium

Fees

0.50%

management fee

Account Minimum

$50,000

Promotion

Up to $750

cash bonus with qualifying deposit

on Ellevest's website


Promotion

Up to $750

cash bonus with qualifying deposit

Why we like it

Ellevest aims to suit female investors, but the focus on women is hardly its only selling point: It rivals some of the bigger players in the online advisor space. Ellevest Premium offers access to dedicated certified financial planners and executive career coaches for a $50,000 minimum and 0.50% management fee.

Pros

  • Access to a dedicated certified financial planner.

  • Women-focused financial advice.

  • Strong goal-planning tools.

  • Executive career coaches included.

Cons

  • $50,000 minimum.

  • Limited account choices.

  • No tax-loss harvesting.

Read Full Review
Facet Wealth

on Facet Wealth's website

Facet Wealth

Facet Wealth

Fees

$480 and up

per year

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

No promotion available at this time

on Facet Wealth's website


Promotion

None

No promotion available at this time

Why we like it

For $480 to $5,000 a year, based on the complexity of advice required, Facet Wealth provides customized financial advice from a dedicated certified financial planner that’s similar to what clients get from full-service financial planning firms. The service is a considerable value, particularly for those with high portfolio balances and modest financial planning needs.

Pros

  • Comprehensive, full-service financial planning.

  • No additional fee for investment management.

  • Fee-only advice from a fiduciary.

  • Each client gets a designated certified financial planner.

  • No upfront setup fee.

  • Manages investments directly through four brokerage firms.

Cons

  • Wide fee range makes it difficult for potential customers to estimate costs.

  • No in-person meeting option.

Read Full Review
Betterment Premium

on Betterment's website

Betterment Premium

Betterment Premium

Fees

0.40%

management fee

Account Minimum

$100,000

Promotion

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

on Betterment's website


Promotion

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

Why we like it

Betterment Premium offers clients with at least $100,000 to invest unlimited access to financial advisors. The service charges a reasonable 0.40% of assets under management, and the advisors are all certified financial planners, a credential that requires meeting a high bar for education and experience.

Pros

  • Unlimited access to a team of certified financial planners.

  • Low management fee.

  • Innovative savings and retirement planning tools.

Cons

  • Clients don't receive a dedicated advisor.

  • Advisors available by phone and email only.

  • High account minimum.

Read Full Review
Personal Capital

on Personal Capital's website

Personal Capital

Personal Capital

Fees

0.49% - 0.89%

management fee

Account Minimum

$100,000

Promotion

2 Free Months

of financial advisory services for NerdWallet users

on Personal Capital's website


Promotion

2 Free Months

of financial advisory services for NerdWallet users

Why we like it

Personal Capital is part robo-advisor, part human advisor: The hybrid service uses robo algorithms, but pairs investors with a dedicated financial advisor. The high-touch approach comes with a higher balance requirement and management fee.

Pros

  • Individual securities available.

  • Free, comprehensive investment management tools.

  • Dedicated financial advisors.

  • Advanced tax optimization strategy.

Cons

  • $100,000 account minimum.

  • High management fee.

Read Full Review
Wealthfront

on Wealthfront's website

Wealthfront

Wealthfront

Fees

0.25%

management fee

Account Minimum

$500

Promotion

$5,000

amount of assets managed for free

on Wealthfront's website


Promotion

$5,000

amount of assets managed for free

Why we like it

Wealthfront has built client trust by offering free management on the first $5,000 — with NerdWallet’s promotion — but the company’s stock-level tax-loss harvesting service really shines, adding as much as 2% to annual investment performance for eligible accounts.

Pros

  • First $5,000 managed free (NerdWallet promotion).

  • Low ETF expense ratios.

  • Daily tax-loss harvesting.

  • Automatic rebalancing.

Cons

  • No fractional shares.

  • No large-balance discounts.

Read Full Review
SoFi Automated Investing

on SoFi Wealth's website

SoFi Automated Investing

SoFi Automated Investing

Fees

0%

management fee

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

on SoFi Wealth's website


Promotion

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

Why we like it

SoFi Automated Investing is great for beginning, cost-conscious investors who favor a hands-off approach. Plus, as a customer, you could be eligible for bonuses on other SoFi products.

Pros

  • Broad range of low-cost investments.

  • Free management.

  • Automatic rebalancing.

  • Customer support.

  • Access to certified financial planners.

Cons

  • Limited account types.

  • No tax-loss harvesting.

Read Full Review

Want to compare more options? Here are our other top picks:

Summary of Best Financial Advisors of December 2019

BrokerCommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
Ellevest Premium Logo

Ellevest Premium

on Ellevest's website

0.50%

management fee

Up to $750

cash bonus with qualifying deposit

$50,000

on Ellevest's website

Facet Wealth Logo

Facet Wealth

on Facet Wealth's website

$480 and up

per year

None

No promotion available at this time

$0

on Facet Wealth's website

Betterment Premium Logo

Betterment Premium

on Betterment's website

0.40%

management fee

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

$100,000

on Betterment's website

Personal Capital Logo

Personal Capital

on Personal Capital's website

0.49% - 0.89%

management fee

2 Free Months

of financial advisory services for NerdWallet users

$100,000

on Personal Capital's website

Wealthfront Logo

Wealthfront

on Wealthfront's website

0.25%

management fee

$5,000

amount of assets managed for free

$500

on Wealthfront's website

SoFi Automated Investing Logo

SoFi Automated Investing

on SoFi Wealth's website

0%

management fee

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

$0

on SoFi Wealth's website

Rebalance 360 Logo

Rebalance 360

0.25% - 0.70%

management fee

None

no promotion at this time

$100,000

Read review
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Logo

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

0.30%

management fee

None

no promotion currently offered

$50,000

Read review
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium™ Logo

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium™

$30

monthly

None

no promotion available at this time

$25,000

Read review
BrokerCommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
Ellevest Premium Logo

Ellevest Premium

on Ellevest's website

0.50%

management fee

Up to $750

cash bonus with qualifying deposit

$50,000

on Ellevest's website

Facet Wealth Logo

Facet Wealth

on Facet Wealth's website

$480 and up

per year

None

No promotion available at this time

$0

on Facet Wealth's website

Betterment Premium Logo

Betterment Premium

on Betterment's website

0.40%

management fee

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

$100,000

on Betterment's website

Personal Capital Logo

Personal Capital

on Personal Capital's website

0.49% - 0.89%

management fee

2 Free Months

of financial advisory services for NerdWallet users

$100,000

on Personal Capital's website

Wealthfront Logo

Wealthfront

on Wealthfront's website

0.25%

management fee

$5,000

amount of assets managed for free

$500

on Wealthfront's website

SoFi Automated Investing Logo

SoFi Automated Investing

on SoFi Wealth's website

0%

management fee

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

$0

on SoFi Wealth's website

Rebalance 360 Logo

Rebalance 360

0.25% - 0.70%

management fee

None

no promotion at this time

$100,000

Read review
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Logo

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

0.30%

management fee

None

no promotion currently offered

$50,000

Read review
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium™ Logo

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium™

$30

monthly

None

no promotion available at this time

$25,000

Read review

Last updated on December 9, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for brokers and robo-advisors are weighted averages of several categories, including investment selection, customer support, account fees, account minimum, trading costs and more. Our survey of brokers and robo-advisors includes the largest U.S. providers by assets under management, plus notable and/or emerging players in the industry. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include advisory fees, branch access, user-facing technology, customer service and mobile features. The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

Frequently asked questions

A financial advisor helps people manage their investments, plan for retirement and save money for their financial goals. Financial advisors also suggest strategies, investments or other assets that will help their clients’ money grow.

Financial advisors come in many varieties, from in-person advisors to online financial services and robo-advisors. They all serve the same purpose: to help you figure out what to do with your money. Here’s more about what financial advisors do.

If you find taking care of your finances and planning for the future to be overwhelming, a financial advisor can certainly help. If you feel confident investing your money, you may not need one.

While financial advisors aren’t for everyone, they can help you navigate the tricky and often confusing waters of how to organize your finances. If you recently had a big life change (you got married, had a child, lost a family member), it can be helpful to work with a financial advisor to help you understand your new financial landscape.

This really depends on what you’re willing to spend, and what products you’re looking for. There are a few robo-advisors — digital investment management services — that charge no management fees. Others charge around 0.25% of your account balance.

Then, there are online planning services and traditional in-person financial advisors. Online planning services typically charge a management fee that starts at around 0.30%, or a flat annual or monthly fee. Traditional financial advisors will often charge 1% of your assets or a flat fee — for example, you might pay $2,000 for a comprehensive plan.

We have a full overview of financial advisor fees here.

Where you look for a financial advisor will have to do with your needs and priorities. Online advisors are (for the most part) less expensive, but some people prefer to meet with an actual human, a face they can come to know and trust.

It might also depend on what you want your advisor to do. If you’re concerned with creating a socially responsible portfolio, certain advising platforms like Ellevest or Wealthsimple do a better job with that than others. But if staying within your budget comes first, and if you’re just starting to build an investment account, it often makes sense to go with a low-fee robo-advisor.

Learn more about how to find a financial advisor.

The difference between a financial advisor and a financial planner is like the adage about squares and rectangles: A financial planner is an advisor, but an advisor isn’t necessarily a planner.

Financial advisors are a larger category of individuals who help people manage their finances. Certified financial planners have gone through extensive training, taken exams and are legally obligated to act in their client’s best interest. It is important when you are looking for a financial advisor to thoroughly vet them, no matter what they call themselves.

What sort of service you choose to take care of your money is a matter of your needs and comfort level.

In-person advisors have the advantage of being able to develop a relationship with you over time. They might know more about your family, your job and your life in general — thus giving them better insight into your financial needs. Unfortunately, they’re typically more expensive than a robo-advisor or online planning service.

Robo-advisors are a great choice if you only want investment management. If you need more comprehensive financial planning, many online planning services offer dedicated advisors who can give you customized help with a lower price tag than in-person advisors. Many employ CFPs, and you’ll meet with the advisor virtually via phone or video.

A financial advisor’s value depends on what they bring to your financial life. If you don’t have a lot of assets to manage, it might be better to try to manage them yourself or use a robo-advisor. As your assets grow and become more complicated — maybe you own a house, have an investment portfolio and are trying to pay off debt — it can be worthwhile to seek help from either a traditional or online advisor.