10 Best Financial Advisors of January 2024

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Contributor, Benzinga
January 30, 2024

Do you want to work towards your dream retirement or optimize your wealth planning this year? Working with a financial advisor can jump-start your financial planning or help you maximize returns. However, not all financial advisors are created equal. You'll need to carefully research options and learn the questions to ask to ensure you find the best financial advisor for your needs. Below are some of the best financial advisors — with pros and cons — to get started. 

Quick Look: Best Financial Advisors

Best Financial Advisors

Ready to get started on financial planning and long-term wealth-building? First, learn about a financial planner vs. advisor, then find the best financial advisors below. 

1. Best for Retirement Advice: Datalign

Datalign Advisory aims to simplify the process of finding a suitable financial advisor for your needs through a personalized questionnaire. The platform connects users with vetted fiduciary advisors from its network based on personalized needs. Datalign emphasizes transparency, user-driven guidance and action-oriented approach. 

Pros

  • Personalized investment advice
  • Pre-screened fiduciary advisors 
  • Get a free, no-obligation phone call with your matched advisor

Cons

  • Limited online resources
  • No option to research potential advisors 

Why We Like It

If you want a simplified option to be matched with a fiduciary advisor, Datalign offers great options. 

2. Best for Video Matching: Money Pickle

Money Pickle takes a different approach to personalized financial planning. Money Pickle is a referral service for third-party financial advisors within its network. You'll start with a video call to be matched with a financial advisor that fits your needs. All network providers are fiduciary, so they'll protect your interests above their own.

Pros

  • Use from any device
  • No subscription or membership fees needed
  • No minimum account balance 
  • No minimum income
  • Get advice from investing to retirement planning
  • Fiduciary advisors

Cons

  • Lack of clarity on ongoing costs
  • Limited financial advisor pool compared to other options

Why We Like It

If you prefer to speak with someone directly, Money Pickle can be a good choice. It's a convenient way to meet with a financial advisor who is an unbiased fiduciary.

3. Best for Comparing Advisors: SmartAsset

If you want to compare a vast array of financial advisors, SmartAsset offers the tools to do this easily online. You can take an advisor match quiz to match you with an advisor to help you with your specific goals. 

SmartAsset also offers other unique financial tools to help you, including income tax calculators, mortgage calculators and more. 

Pros

  • Simple quiz to match with an advisor
  • Offers excellent financial planning tools
  • Easy to use
  • Good starting point for financial planning 

Cons

  • In complex situations or for high-net-worth individuals, there are better options. 

Why We Like It

If you're looking for simple calculators beyond Benzinga Money's existing tools, SmartAsset can help you build a savvy long-term financial plan. 

4. Best for Self-Directed/Automated Advice: Empower

Empower is specifically designed for high-value account holders with over $200,000 in their accounts. Investors in this category will be assigned two personal financial advisors to manage their accounts. Individuals with under $200,000 can still use Empower's services and access a team of advisors who work together to manage many accounts.

Pros

  • Offers excellent financial planning tools
  • Get support from AI and real investment experts
  • Good for high-net-worth individuals
  • Also has banking options

Cons

  • Some complaints about customer service

Why We Like It

While investors struggle to balance AI and personalized investment advice, high-net-worth individuals can take advantage of the best of both worlds.

5. Best for Low-Cost Financial Advice: Facet Wealth

Facet Wealth can help you get unbiased, personalized and affordable financial advice. It covers everything from starting a business to buying real estate to having a baby and more to help you maximize financial outcomes. Through Facet Wealth, you can get matched with trained, licensed and vetted professionals.

Pros

  • Get matched with vetted, licensed professionals
  • Simple to use
  • Judgment-free expert advisors
  • Only licensed advisors

Cons

  • Not the best choice for high-net-worth individuals

Why We Like It

Facet Wealth can be an excellent starting point for people beginning their financial journey who don't have a lot to spend and who want to reach diverse financial goals. You can get top-quality advice, at a fraction of the cost. 

6. Best for Financial Planning: Domain Money

Domain Money markets itself as the unicorn of financial planning. You'll get step-by-step financial plans and help from a dedicated advisor whenever you need. Whether you're planning for retirement or for a dream vacation, Domain Money can help. The flat fee structure offers low-cost, all-in-one wealth management. The cost is as low as $828 annually.

Pros

  • On-demand access to a financial advisor without limits
  • Expert-built investment portfolios 
  • No management fees
  • Can also manage external investments
  • 30-day risk-free trial
  • Tax preparation and filing
  • Option to include high-yield savings accounts

Cons

  • No joint account options

Why We Like It

If you need low-cost, comprehensive and on-demand financial advice, Domain Money is a great choice. For more savvy investors, they may not have the services you need. But if you're starting out and want strong financial advice, it's a great option. 

7. Best for Customer Care: Charles Schwab

As one of the biggest names in the financial industry, Charles Schwab's financial advisors have built an excellent reputation over decades. If you're a Charles Schwab client, you could make an appointment at any of the U.S. branches. You also have the option to attend one of the many free workshops and seminars offered throughout the year. Schwab financial consultants are generally only available for free to clients with at least $500,000 in assets. However, Charles Schwab’s Intelligent Portfolios service only requires a minimum balance of $5,000.

Pros

  • Leader in retirement planning and personal financing sector
  • $0 minimum to open a brokerage account
  • Many local branches around the U.S.

Cons

  • Higher minimum balances needed for free financial consultants or Intelligent Portfolios.

Why We Like It

If you meet minimums, Charles Schwab has a strong reputation for guiding families to optimize long-term wealth management and can be an excellent choice to start building assets.

8. Best for ESG Robo-Investing: Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple is an interesting great robo-advising choice that lets you select socially responsible investments. The automated investing service offers clear prices, no hidden fees and access to financial advisors. Choose from three weighted socially responsible portfolios or a customized portfolio based on your beliefs, such as a halal portfolio. 

Pros

  • Halal investment accounts for Muslims 
  • Low-fee ESG investing
  • Weighted portfolio settings to diversify investments
  • Access to financial planners
  • Low cost
  • Get a $25 bonus when you open an account and deposit at least $500.

Cons

  • You'll still need to check that your accounts are set up according to your socially responsible criteria. 

Why We Like It

One of the only robo advisors that offers pre-set portfolios according to your socially responsible beliefs. With low costs and customized possibilities, it can be a wealth-building solution that lets you do good at the same time. 

9. Best for New Investors: Playbook

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    Best For:
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Looking for a comprehensive solution? Playbook connects your accounts to help you build long-term financial planning. As one of the lowest cost options, you'll pay just $29 per month or $228 for an annual subscription. The platform allows you to adapt the settings based on your financial goals. Where Playbook stands out is for high earners. It could help you automate the process of optimizing savings to reduce total taxes.

Pros

  • No account under management (AUM) fees
  • Good value and low cost
  • Automates investments
  • Automates tax-reducing investments
  • Includes visualizations of your progress 

Cons

  • Seven-day free trial
  • Less user documentation

Why We Like It

Playbook is a low-cost solution for automated investing options. Whether you're just starting out or already have a high net worth, Playbook can help you automate investments to reach your goals. 

10. Best for Preparing for Retirement: Retirable

Retirable can help you build a customized retirement plan with assistance from a certified financial planner with fiduciary responsibility. It can offer you dynamic retirement advice and support to manage cash flow while hitting savings targets to ensure you can secure the retirement to suit your lifestyle. 

Pros

  • Real fiduciaries available to help you whenever you need
  • Tools to help with retirement planning
  • Plan for a range of life events

Cons

  • Fee structure for accounts below $33,000

Why We Like It

Retirement planning is an essential but often overlooked element of your financial life. Retirable offers an all-in-one retirement solution that makes it easier to prepare for the retirement of your dreams. 

How to Determine What Financial Advisor is Best for You

Wondering whether a financial advisor is right for you? Consider your current financial life, future goals and the possible value of different types of financial advisors available. These, along with performance research, costs and fees, can help determine the best fit for your needs.

Determine What Aspect of Your Financial Life You Need Help With

It's important to consider your current financial situation and what aspects of your financial life you might need help with. Consider whether you need financial guidance to set up long-term systems or help to reach specific goals. 

Are you planning for retirement and wonder whether you're saving enough? Are you dreaming of a second home and want to know if it's possible with your current income? In these cases and others, a financial advisor can help you align your financial actions to specific goals. 

Know the Different Types of Financial Advisors

The different types of financial advisors include:

  • Investment advisors: Those who provide investment advice or manage client assets directly.
  • Broker-dealers and brokers: An individual or company that buys and sells securities such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds on behalf of a client or themselves.
  • Certified financial planner®: These are certified professionals who meet the requirements of the CFP Board and have a fiduciary responsibility.
  • Financial consultant: While this is a general term, look for a chartered financial consultant, or ChFC.
  • Financial coach: This is not a regulated term. Financial coaches may focus on the basic financial planning points, such as how to save money or reduce spending, 
  • Portfolio, investment and asset managers: These professionals manage clients' assets or investment portfolios. 
  • Wealth advisors: Work with wealthy clients to offer holistic financial planning and investment guidance.
  • Robo-advisor: These inexpensive automated investment management services usually come as a low-cost subscription or a small percentage of assets under management. 

You can check your financial professional with the SEC

Choose What Type of Financial Service You Need

The different types of financial services you can choose from include investment advice, budgeting, retirement planning, tax planning, estate planning and more. Financial advisors can offer diverse services to meet specific needs or holistic services. Learn more about the importance of finding a financial advisor right for you. 

Determine the Cost and Fees of Financial Advisors

The cost of hiring financial advisors can vary based on the fee structure. They may charge a flat monthly fee, a percentage of assets under management (AUM) or other fee structure. You can learn more about financial advisor costs here

Research and Compare Financial Advisors

Research and compare the credentials and qualifications of several financial advisors before hiring one. Look for a financial advisor with a fiduciary responsibility to ensure they have your best interests in mind. 

Important Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

Be sure to speak with the financial advisor and take advantage of a free initial consultation to understand if the financial advisor is a good fit. You can find questions to ask a financial advisor here. When selecting a financial advisor, you will want to ask them about:

  • Whether they are a fiduciary and have fiduciary responsibility?
  • What is their fee structure?
  • What are their average returns in the case of investment management?
  • How do they get paid? 
  • What are the all-in costs?
  • What are their qualifications or certifications?
  • How will the relationship work? 
  • What is the financial advisor's investment philosophy?
  • What asset allocation do they use?
  • In the case of investments, what investment benchmarks are used?

Setting Up Your Financial Future

Financial advisors can offer valuable insight and strategies to optimize tax savings, set up long-term investment accounts and plan for short- and long-term goals. With the right advice, you can help protect your family's future and your retirement. All of the options above offer personalized solutions at a range of price points to take you from where you are to your next goals. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Who are the top-rated financial advisors?

A

There is no single top-rated financial advisor. Instead, you can choose from any of the options above based on your financial needs.

Q

Is it worth paying for a financial advisor?

A

It can be worth paying a financial advisor to reach specific financial goals. However, depending on your financial situation, you can also use free financial advice from trusted sources to manage your financial planning.

Q

Who gives the best financial advice?

A

Who gives the best financial advice will depend on your financial goals and current financial situation. There are many excellent financial advisors you can choose from.

Q

Where is the best place to look for a financial advisor?

A

You can look for a financial advisor online and also research in-person financial advisors. You can find some of the best financial advisors above.

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