BEST OF

Best Financial Advisors of November 2020

Alana BensonOctober 12, 2020
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When searching for the best financial advisors, you’ll find options that range from automated investment management services called robo-advisors to traditional, in-person financial advisors. In the middle are online financial advisors and financial planning services: These companies offer many of the services of a traditional financial advisor, but operate online to reduce fees.

Here's how to find an advisor who works for your situation:

1. Keep your budget in mind. Simple, digital-only services will be less expensive; holistic financial planning will be more. It's a good idea to know what you're comfortable spending before you dive in.

2. Decide what services you need. Maybe you just want help picking investments, or maybe you need advice on more advanced topics, like estate planning or insurance needs. These requirements will help you choose what type of financial advisor you need — typically, a robo-advisor is a good fit for investment management, but you'll need an online planning service or traditional human financial advisor for advanced planning.

3. Choose whether you want in-person or online advice. If you don’t mind meeting with your advisor virtually, you'll often save money with an online service. These services also typically have lower account minimum requirements than traditional investment advisors. No matter what option you choose, it's always important to check qualifications and make sure they follow a fiduciary standard, which means your needs come first.

If you're still not sure how to find the right financial advisor for you, it often makes sense to start with a robo-advisor or online planning service — you can always hire a traditional financial advisor if your situation grows more complex. Below are our picks for the best online financial advisors.

Summary of Best Financial Advisors of November 2020

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

on Vanguard's website

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

Fees

0.30%

management fee

Account Minimum

$50,000

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

on Vanguard's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is an excellent choice for investors who can meet the $50,000 account minimum and want to use the computer algorithms of a robo-advisor while maintaining access to a human touch.

Pros

  • Low management fee and lower account minimum for an online planning service.

  • Comprehensive management.

  • Access to financial advisors.

  • Solid investment selection.

Cons

  • No tax-loss harvesting.

  • Must move outside assets over to Vanguard.

  • Website less user-friendly than some competitors.

Read Full Review
Facet Wealth

on Facet Wealth's website

Facet Wealth

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Facet Wealth

Fees

$1,200 and up

per year

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

15% off

one year of financial planning

on Facet Wealth's website


Promotion

15% off

one year of financial planning

Why we like it

For $1,200 to $6,000 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

  • Free initial consultation.

  • Comprehensive, full-service financial planning.

  • Meetings are held virtually, via phone or video call.

  • No additional fee for investment management.

  • Fee-only advice from a designated fiduciary CFP.

  • No upfront setup fee.

Cons

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

  • No in-person meeting option.

Read Full Review
Harness Wealth

on Harness Wealth's website

Harness Wealth

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Harness Wealth

Fees

1%

per year

Account Minimum

$250,000

Promotion

$250 off

one year of financial or tax planning

on Harness Wealth's website


Promotion

$250 off

one year of financial or tax planning

Why we like it

Harness Wealth isn't itself a financial-advisory firm — the company serves to connect clients to carefully-vetted firms. Advisors on the platform typically charge a 1% management fee and require a minimum of $250,000, but flat-fee financial planning services are also available with no minimum.

Pros

  • Reduces uncertainty when selecting a financial advisor.

  • Access to a range of services, including investment management and financial, tax and estate planning.

  • Easy to get started.

  • Advisors offer complimentary consultations.

  • No fee for using Harness Wealth to find an advisor.

Cons

  • The firms Harness works with may have higher fees.

  • Firms require $250,000 asset minimum for investment management. (No minimum for a one-time financial plan.)

Read Full Review
Personal Capital

on Personal Capital's website

Personal Capital

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Personal Capital

Fees

0.49% - 0.89%

management fee

Account Minimum

$100,000

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

on Personal Capital's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

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
Betterment Premium

on Betterment's website

Betterment Premium

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
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
Wealthfront

on Wealthfront's website

Wealthfront

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
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 — and the company’s stock-level tax-loss harvesting service really shines.

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
Ellevest

on Ellevest's website

Ellevest

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Ellevest

Fees

$1 - $9

per month

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

2 months free

with promo code "nerdwallet"

on Ellevest's website


Promotion

2 months free

with promo code "nerdwallet"

Why we like it

This advisor markets itself to women and takes a goal-focused approach that factors in women’s lower incomes, lifetime earnings and longer lifespans. With its $0 account minimum, competitive membership fee and a la cart access to CFPs and coaches, Ellevest is an appealing choice for investors of any gender.

Pros

  • No account minimum.

  • Goal-focused investing approach.

  • Portfolio mix that factors women’s needs.

  • A la carte sessions with coaches and CFPs.

Cons

  • Essential members can't open an IRA.

  • No tax-loss harvesting.

Read Full Review
SoFi Automated Investing

on SoFi Invest's website

SoFi Automated Investing

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Automated Investing

Fees

0%

management fee

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

on SoFi Invest'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:

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Last updated on October 12, 2020

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