Zoe Financial Review 2021: Pros, Cons and How It Compares

Zoe Financial can help you find a financial advisor specific to your needs — and your budget.
Alana BensonOct 5, 2021

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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Zoe Financial isn't actually a financial advisory firm — the company connects clients to financial advisors. Advisors listed on Zoe's network are all independent fiduciaries who work on a commission-free model, meaning your advisor won’t try to sell you products to make a profit.

Zoe Financial

on Zoe Financial's website

on Zoe Financial's website

Fees

Varies by advisor

Account Minimum

$100,000

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Makes it easy to find a financial advisor.
  • Network of financial advisors offer a wide range of planning services.
  • No fee for using Zoe Financial to find an advisor.

Cons

  • Difficult to know financial advisor fees upfront.

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Full Review

Where Zoe Financial shines

Makes finding an advisor easy: For those feeling overwhelmed by the thought of finding, interviewing and vetting a financial advisor, Zoe Financial steps in as a middleman. Zoe Financial matches individuals with vetted financial advisory firms — firms Zoe claims are in the top 5% of their field.

Wide range of services: Zoe connects clients with advisors who can help with a range of services such as retirement planning and investing, tax strategy, buying a home and understanding stock options.

It’s free to find an advisor: There is no fee for using Zoe to find an advisor.

Where Zoe Financial falls short

No standard listed fee: Because each advisor has their own particular fee, it can be hard to know exactly what you’ll pay until you contact the advisors.


Zoe Financial is best for

  • Those looking for holistic financial planning.

  • Individuals who need help with their taxes.

  • Those unsure how to find or vet a financial advisor.

Zoe Financial at a glance

Account minimum

$100,000 in investable assets or $75,000 in income in order to receive an advisor match.

Some advisors in Zoe’s network do not have minimums, while others have minimums ranging from $250,000 to $500,000. You will be matched with the advisor that best fits your current financial situation.

Account management, planning or subscription fee

None from Zoe. Typical fees from advisors are based on assets under management:

  • $100,000 to $500,000: 0.8% - 1.5% per year.

  • $500,000 to $4 million: 0.7% - 1.3% per year.

  • $4 million to $20 million: 0.5% - 0.8%. For flat-fee ongoing services: $1,200 - $10,000 a year.

  • One-time services: $500 - $5,000. Ranges in fees depend on the advisor and the complexity of service required.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing)

None from Zoe, though for some clients whose assets are held at a custodian that charges trade fees, those fees will be passed on to the client. Advisors may also charge account transfer fees.

Setup or onboarding fee

None.

Advisor access and credentials

Zoe's advisor network includes both advisor teams and dedicated advisors depending on the client's needs. Clients have unlimited access to their advisor team via video, phone, text and email. Depending on location, advisors can also meet in person. Specific hours vary by advisor. Advisors hold at least CFP, CFA or CPA.

Financial planning services

Zoe Financial can connect users with advisors who cover the full spectrum of financial planning, including investing, retirement, tax strategy, managing debt, estate planning and managing stock options.

Investment expense ratios

0.05% to 0.50%.

Portfolio construction

Highly tailored to meet the needs of each client.

Brokerage options

All major custodians including Schwab/TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and Pershing. There is no limit to the number of brokerage accounts clients can have.

Accounts supported

IRAs, Roth IRAs, taxable accounts, 529s, trusts or any account that can be held at major custodians. Select advisors can directly manage 401(k)s.

Tax strategy

All advisors offer comprehensive tax planning. Some advisors also prepare taxes for clients. Tax loss harvesting, business tax planning, direct indexing, and other specialized strategies are offered by some advisors in the Zoe Network.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

Zoe customer support is available by phone Monday through Friday and holidays, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, as well as 24/7 via chat and email.

More details about Zoe Financial's ratings

Account minimum: 3 out of 5 stars

In order to receive an advisor match, you must have $75,000 in income or a minimum of $100,000 in investable assets. A $100,000 minimum is comparable to other wealth advisors in the space, but advisors don't typically offer an income qualifier as an alternative for those without enough investable assets. This is an added layer of flexibility at Zoe, and it may help clients access a financial advisor as they're building wealth.

Some advisors in Zoe’s network do not have minimums, while others do (ranging from $250,000 to $500,000). Zoe will match you with the advisor that best fits your current financial situation.

Account management, planning or subscription fee: 2 out of 5 stars

Zoe Financial acts as a high-end yellow pages for the best financial advisors — meaning they can’t come right out and tell you exactly how much working with an advisor in Zoe's network is going to cost you. After you match with an advisor, you can see the fee structure (such as whether the advisor charges based on a percentage of your assets under management or a flat fee), but the advisor’s profile may not list exactly what that percentage or fee is. All advisors on Zoe's marketplace will share their fee structure if you schedule an introductory call.

» Want to compare options? See our full roundup of the best online financial advisors

Because you have to go through the quiz flow and enter your personal information in order to be matched with an advisor, it can be harder to compare Zoe Financial’s advisor pricing with a service that lists a standard fee on its site. The fees charged by Zoe network advisors who use an assets under management structure range from 0.5% to 1.5%. A typical fee charged by advisors is 1%. The fee you’ll pay will depend on the advisor you are paired with and the complexity of the services you need. To compare, Betterment Premium charges a 0.40% fee and provides unlimited phone access to CFPs and similar financial services. The minimum annual flat fee service is $1,200.

Account fees: 4 out of 5 stars

Zoe charges no ancillary fees, though the providers may charge some, such as account transfer fees.

Setup or onboarding fee: 5 out of 5 stars

Aside from its account management fee, Zoe Financial charges no other setup fees.

Advisor access and credentials: 5 out of 5 stars

Finding the right advisor can take a lot of time and effort. Should they be a certified financial planner? What fee structure is better? How much should you be paying? These are the questions Zoe Financial looks to answer for you. Since all of their advisors are vetted and work as independent, commission-free fiduciaries (meaning they legally must operate in your best interest) you don’t have to spend time verifying their qualifications. Zoe will also be sure to match you with an advisor who works in the area you need, like tax prep.

After taking a quiz and getting matched with potential advisors, you can then view their profiles which include their education, credentials and areas of expertise. You can also see if your matches work virtually or not. If the advisor seems like a match, you can schedule a free consultation.

According to Zoe Financial’s website, their five-tier vetting process results in only the top 5% of advisors becoming available to clients. Advisors must have one of the following credentials: CFP, charted financial analyst or certified public accountant. They must have at least five years of relevant financial planning or advisor experience. Advisors must be with an independent registered investment advisor and must not be affiliated with a broker-dealer (to ensure that there is less conflict of interest). They are also graded on their problem-solving abilities, operational efficiency, client-advisor ratio and communication skills.

Zoe's advisor network includes both advisor teams and dedicated advisors depending the client's needs, and clients have unlimited access to their advisors.

Financial planning services: 5 out of 5 stars

Zoe Financial focuses on holistic financial planning, and advisors in the network can help clients with a large range of services, including retirement planning, investing, tax strategy, divorce planning, managing debt, buying a home, asset management, a sudden financial windfall, estate planning, family planning, college planning and stock options.

Investment expense ratios: 3 out of 5 stars

An expense ratio is an annual fee charged by mutual funds, index funds and exchange-traded funds, as a percentage of your investment in the fund. If you invest in a mutual fund with a 1% expense ratio for example, you’ll pay the fund $10 per year for every $1,000 invested. If high, these fees can significantly drag down your portfolio returns. The expense ratios you’ll have to pay will vary by advisor, but range from 0.05% to 0.50%.

Portfolio construction: 5 out of 5 stars

Zoe’s advisors can tailor your  portfolio to meet your individual needs and manage it for you. Advisors in the Zoe network can also help you with alternative investments, such as real estate and cryptocurrency and assist with stock options.

Brokerage options: 4 out of 5 stars

Some financial advisors require that you have your money at a specific brokerage. Zoe Financial advisors allow you to keep your assets at any major custodian, including Schwab/TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and Pershing. There is no limit to the number of brokerage accounts clients can have.

Accounts supported: 5 out of 5 stars

Zoe's network of advisors offer traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, taxable accounts, 529s, trusts or any account that can be held at a major custodian. Select advisors can directly manage 401(k)s.

Tax strategy: 5 out of 5 stars

All advisors offer comprehensive tax planning. Some advisors also prepare taxes for clients. Tax loss harvesting, business tax planning, direct indexing, and other specialized strategies are offered by some advisors in the Zoe Network.

Customer support options: 4 out of 5 stars

Zoe customer support is available via chat and email 24/7, and by phone and text Monday through Friday and holidays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST.

Is Zoe Financial right for you?

If you’re looking for an advisor and don’t want to spend your weekends researching which one is right for you, Zoe Financial could help you with that. Similar to Harness Wealth, Zoe Financial doesn’t charge a fee to match you with a financial advisor.

If you’re just looking for investment management, a robo-advisor could also be a good option. Robo-advisors use algorithms to build and manage an investment portfolio for you. Some even offer tax strategy and access to financial advisors for no additional charge.

» See our picks for the best robo-advisors

How do we review online financial advisors?

NerdWallet's comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks U.S. firms that either provide financial planning services online or connect users with a financial advisor, using a multifaceted and iterative approach. This process does not cover wealth management services offered by brokerages or banks. It does include several robo-advisors that offer clients access to human advisors as a premium upgrade. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs.

DATA COLLECTION AND REVIEW PROCESS

We collect data directly from providers, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. Our process starts by sending detailed questionnaires to providers to complete. The questionnaires are structured to equally elicit both favorable and unfavorable responses from providers. They are not designed or prepared to produce any predetermined results. The questionnaire answers, combined with product demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

RATING FACTORS

Evaluations vary by provider type, but in each case are based upon the weighted averages of factors that include but are not limited to: advisory and account fees, account minimums and types, investment selection, investment expense ratios, trading costs, access to human financial advisors, educational resources and tools, rebalancing and tax minimization options, and customer support including branch access, user-facing technology and mobile platforms.

Each factor can involve evaluating various sub-factors. For instance, when gauging the investment selections offered by robo-advisors, 80% of the score is based on the potential for diversification (how well-diversified a resulting portfolio of investments could be) combined with the availability of specialty portfolios and level of customization for investors. Expense ratios form an additional 10% of the score, and low or no management fee the remaining 10%.

FACTOR WEIGHTINGS

The weighting of each factor is based on our team’s assessment of which features are the most important to consumers and which ones impact the consumer experience in the most meaningful way. The factors considered, and how those factors are weighted, change depending upon the category of providers reviewed.

INFORMATION UPDATES

Writers and editors conduct our broker reviews on an annual basis but continually make updates throughout the year. We maintain frequent contact with providers and highlight any changes in offerings.

THE REVIEW TEAM

The review team comprises seasoned writers, researchers and editors who cover stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, exchange-traded funds, alternative investments, socially responsible investing, financial advisors, retirement and investment strategy on a daily basis. In addition to NerdWallet, the work of our team members has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, USA Today, Bloomberg News, Nasdaq, MSN, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance and other national and regional media outlets.

The combined expertise of our Investing team is infused into our review process to ensure thoughtful evaluations of provider products and services from the customer perspective. Our writers and editors combine to have more than 70 years of deep experience in finance, ranging from a former Wall Street Journal reporter to a former senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

While NerdWallet does have partnerships with many of the reviewed providers, we manage potential conflicts of interest by maintaining a wall between our content and business operations. This wall is designed to prevent our writers and the review process from being influenced or impacted by our business partnerships. This way, all reviews can provide an unbiased review that serves the interests of our users. For more information, see NerdWallet’s editorial guidelines.

on Zoe Financial's website