Finding a financial advisor to trust with your assets can be overwhelming. A quick search online will yield hundreds of options, but how do you decide which is right for you?
I’ve rounded up the top ten best financial advisors of 2023 to make it easier for you to determine which advisor provides the services you need.
Knowing what the top financial advisors offer can help you choose the one that’s right for you.
Top 10 Best Financial Advisors in the U.S.
Here are the best financial advisors in the U.S. and what they offer:
- J.P. Morgan
- Charles Schwab
- Fidelity Investments
- Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management
1. J.P. Morgan
With an intuitive robo-advisor platform, self-directed investing, and a digital advisor service, J.P. Morgan has a lot to offer new and experienced investors.
The Self-Directed Investing account allows you to make unlimited commission-free trades on stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds. The platform also offers a wealth of educational resources and investing tools on a user-friendly digital platform.
New account holders can earn a welcome bonus of up to $700 when they open and fund their accounts.
If you’re looking for a digital advisor, J.P. Morgan Personal Advisors is one of our top picks. The service gives you access to a team of dedicated financial advisors who build you a tailored financial plan, choose investments that align with your goals, and provide ongoing financial advice.
While there is an annual fee of 0.4%-0.6%, you can enjoy the first six months of service without paying any advisory fees.
J.P. Morgan Personal Advisors
Limited Time: Get no advisory fee for 6 months
For a more personalized, holistic approach for your investment strategy, consider J.P. Morgan Personal Advisors. You’ll have access to a financial advisor from home via video or phone who will match you to expert-built portfolios and provide ongoing advice.
2. Charles Schwab
If you’re a DIY investor, you can use Schwab’s modern and sophisticated digital trading platform, which includes exceptional tools and research. It consists of an advanced trading platform and options for active traders, with $0 commissions on stocks and ETFs and $0.65 commissions on options contracts.
If you prefer a hands-off method, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios is a robo-advisor that creates a diversified portfolio with ETFs and includes automatic rebalancing and the option to upgrade to their Premium service for 1:1 access to a CFP. Even without the premium service, all investors can access registered representatives 24/7. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios doesn’t charge any advisor fees or commissions but requires a minimum $5,000 balance.
Vanguard also offers many options for investors, including a digital advisor, personal advisor, and dedicated advisors.
The Vanguard digital advisor requires a minimum balance of $3,000 and invests in low-cost index funds. In addition, they offer customized portfolio options and automated tax-loss harvesting and rebalancing. Vanguard charges a low fee of $2 for every $1,000 invested annually.
Vanguard Personal Advisor requires a higher balance of $50,000 and is a combination of human interaction, advice, and digital technology to automate investments. There is an annual fee charge of 0.35% for assets under management on index investments and 0.40% for active and investment portfolio combinations.
If you prefer to work only with a human advisor, you get a dedicated advisor in the Personal Advisor Select program, but you need $500,000 invested. Your advisor operates as a fiduciary and doesn’t make a commission on your investments.
Empower offers a combination of a free personal dashboard to track all your investment and retirement accounts in one place with an option for a human advisor/digital advisor option. You’ll need a minimum account balance of $100,000 for the paid account.
If you meet the minimum investment requirements, you’ll get human advice with the benefit of hands-off investing with a robo-advisor. All investment plans are customized to your needs, and you get dedicated financial advisors who get to know you and your financial needs.
The only downside is Empower’s management fee is higher than many other advisors. They charge a 0.89% of assets under management fee on assets up to $1 million.
5. Fidelity Investments
Fidelity is one of the longest-standing investment firms that has changed with the times, providing investors with many options to manage their funds.
Fidelity’s most popular programs are Fidelity Go, a robo-advisor, and Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice, a hybrid between a human and a robo-advisor. They also have a Wealth Management program for investors with at least $250,000 invested and a Private Wealth Management program for wealthy investors.
Fidelity Go is a digital financial service that automatically rebalances portfolios as needed and invests funds in low-cost mutual funds. There are no advisory fees for balances under $25,000, and there’s no minimum to open an account. Fidelity Go costs 0.35% of assets under management after you have over $25,000 invested.
If you have at least $25,000 invested, you can get personalized planning and advice in the Fidelity hybrid program. You still use the robo-advisor to manage your account, but you can access unlimited 30-minute one-on-one phone calls with a human advisor.
SmartAsset isn’t a financial advisor as you’d think. Instead, they offer comparisons of the top advisors based on your personal situation.
SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool asks important questions about your financial life, goals, and other personal questions to match you with advisors that meet your needs.
7. Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management
Large amounts of wealth require complex wealth management services. Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management combines a global entity handling your wealth with the personalized service you’d expect from a smaller firm.
The Private Wealth Management team offers clients customized plans, personalized support, and VIP service. In addition, the PWM plan offers access to alternative investments, impact investing, risk management solutions, and family resources.
BlackRock is one of the world’s largest investment advisory services. They operate as a fiduciary for clients, helping them invest for the future. BlackRock works with wealthy clients with an average minimum balance of $250,000 to $1 million.
BlackRock offers a variety of investment strategies, and their fees vary by the type of account (individual or institutional) and the amount of assets invested.
WealthSimple is a robo-advisor with low account minimums and fees. They invest funds in low-cost index funds while focusing on tax efficiency. WealthSimple offers dividend reinvesting, automatic rebalancing, and tax loss harvesting.
WealthSimple offers commission-free trading, access to human advisors, and portfolios meant for long-term growth. In addition, their portfolios include socially responsible investments and Halal investing that complies with Islamic law.
WealthSimple charges 0.4% to 0.5% of assets under management, depending on the amount invested and chosen plan.
Playbook is a financial planning app. You link your bank and investment account information, and Playbook creates a financial plan that helps you maximize earnings and decrease tax liabilities. In addition, you can change your risk tolerance, lifestyle, and financial goals to ensure your plan always aligns with your goals.
Playbook charges $29 and up per month rather than a percentage of assets under management. The fees are month-to-month, and you can cancel at any time.
The above firms are the best financial advisors of 2023, but here are a few others to consider.
- Betterment Premium – Betterment Premium is a higher tier for investors with at least $100,000 in assets. Betterment Premium costs 0.4% of assets under management but offers unlimited one-on-one phone support with a CFP and advice on investments not held with Betterment.
- Wealthramp – Wealthramp is a service that helps you find a financial advisor. There is no fee to use the service. However, the service doesn’t differentiate between the advisor fees, so you may not know the cost until you begin working with a matched advisor.
- Facet – Facet is a virtual, full-service financial planning service. All meetings are held via video or phone, and the plan provides a holistic view of your financial life. Facet’s fees are service-based, so you pay only for the services you need or use.
- Harness Wealth – Harness helps match investors with eligible investment firms. Most of the firms on their list charge a 1% of assets under management fee, and most advisors offer a complimentary consultation.
- Q.ai – Q.ai claims they can ‘hack Wallstreet’ to help you create the most optimized portfolio. The service is open to investors of all levels, and they have low fees with no investing commissions.
- Best Financial Advisors for Millennials
- Best Financial Advisors for Young Adults
- Independent Financial Advisors
Choosing Which Financial Advisor Is Right for You
Choosing the best financial advisor is a big decision. Each has different strengths and specialties, catering to certain types of clients. The key is determining your needed services and how much hand-holding you want.
For example, are you looking for someone to walk you through step-by-step, provide advice only when needed, or an automated financial advisor who does the work for you?
A human advisor, as the name suggests, is a person you consult with about your financial life. They advise and help you choose how best to invest your money based on your goals and financial situation.
- Actively manages your portfolio
- Can provide financial advice
- Provides advice or helps choose between investments
- May have a multitude of investment strategies to use
- Provides personalized advice and strategies
- Charges more than robo-advisors
- You may have different strategies than you had in mind
- Subject to ‘human mistakes’
A robo-advisor is a computer-run algorithm that invests for you. Robo-advisors offer a more passive form of investing. After answering questions about your financial goals, lifestyle, income, and savings, the robo-advisor matches you with one of their pre-made portfolios.
The robo-advisor oversees the portfolio, reallocating the funds as needed to reach your goals, providing the ‘set it and forget it’ investing method. You can set up recurring deposits or make manual deposits as you are able.
- Low barrier to entry; most require low deposits
- You don’t have to make tough financial decisions
- Low fees
- Completely hands-off, as the robo-advisor will reallocate your portfolio as needed
- You have little to no control over the chosen investments
- Little to no contact with human advisors
- Fewer investment options
Considerations When Selecting a Financial Advisor
With the large number of financial advisors you have to choose from, how do you pick the right one? Here are the top factors to consider.
Always check an advisor’s credentials. Since anyone can call themself an advisor, you should ask to see the real credentials. For example, are they a CFP or CFA? Focus there as this requires the advisors to act as fiduciaries, which means they must operate in your best interest and don’t earn commission based on your choices.
Working with advisors with the proper credentials ensures they have the education and training and follow a specific body of ethics when handling your money.
Ensure They’re a Real Fiduciary
It can be difficult to discern who is a true fiduciary and who isn’t because anyone can claim they are one. To determine if an advisor will work on your behalf, ask about their ongoing education, especially concerning tax planning and retirement. They are likely true fiduciaries if they are up-to-date on the latest regulations and requirements.
Determine the pay structure before choosing a financial advisor. The pay structure means what you pay for each service, investment, and transaction.
Most charge an Assets Under Management fee (AUM) or a percentage of your assets that they manage. Others charge flat fees or per investment, so knowing what you’ll pay is important.
Typically, advisors that work on commission, aka charge per investment, are the most biased and least likely to act as fiduciaries, so try to stick with advisors that charge AUM or a flat fee no matter what investments you choose.
It’s important to interview any financial advisors you’re considering, asking the following questions to ensure they are a good fit.
- What Types of Clients Do You Serve? You should work with a financial advisor that works with people within your demographic. For example, if you have $25,000 to invest and choose an advisor that primarily works with people investing $1 million or more, you won’t get the right level of service.
- What Services Do You Provide? No two advisors offer the same services. Think about what you want, and ask specifically about those services. For example, do you want portfolio building, asset allocation rebalancing, financial advice, or something else?
- What Investment Strategies Do You Use? Investment advisors have strategies they believe in that may or may not align with your views. Working with an advisor who uses the same strategies will help you achieve your goals and feel most comfortable trusting them with your money.
Finding the right financial advisor is a big job. First, you are trusting someone with your largest asset. Here are some more questions people have about them.
How Much Does a Financial Advisor Cost?
How much a financial advisor cost depends on their services and how they charge. Some charge a percentage of the assets you ask them to manage, and others charge a flat fee. Yet still, some charge a commission per investment.
Financial Planner vs. Financial Advisor – What’s the Difference?
A financial advisor is a term used for almost any financial professional in any capacity. Financial planners, namely Certified Financial Planners, have extensive training in estate planning, retirement, taxes, and insurance. CFPs are also always fiduciaries.
Can Financial Advisors Give Clients Tax Advice
Financial advisors can give clients tax advice up to a point. It’s a fine line they walk unless they are a CFP and have extensive training in tax planning.
The Bottom Line
Determine what you want from a financial advisor before starting your search. Whether you’re beginning your investment journey or looking to change, there are many great financial advisors to choose from, but you must know your needs first.
Compare services and fees from multiple financial advisors to see who will offer you the best services at the best prices, helping you solidify your financial future.