How to find an affordable financial advisor near you


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Deciding you’re ready to consult with a financial advisor is a first and important step in reaching your financial goals — but finding the right professional for your needs takes some time and effort, starting with a closer look at what you need, exactly.

A financial advisor can do many things. Generally, they examine a client’s current financial picture, from debt to savings and investments; discuss financial goals (whether retirement, saving for college, or another goal); and create a plan to help the client get there.

Some financial professionals simply offer guidance or a basic plan; others may completely manage a client’s portfolio, while others may offer services that fall somewhere in between. Finding the right person hinges on whether their services match your needs, whether their cost structure makes sense, in addition to other considerations.

Benefits of Using a Financial Advisor

Financial advisors can help their clients create a financial plan that allows them to save and invest for future goals while still meeting the obligations of today. In other words, they can help craft a comprehensive plan to guide people through multiple stages of life in a way that dovetails with their unique goals. Typically, the plan has some degree of personalization.

Plus, advisors can help their clients stay the course, saving and investing for the long term. Creating a financial plan is a key step, but then it’s crucial to stick with the plan. This isn’t always easy when, for example, the market is volatile and emotions are triggered. But that’s when an experienced advisor may come in handy; they can provide perspective and help clients stay focused.

Some financial advisors help clients to become more financial savvy. Some may make trades for their clients, while many monitor investments made to help ensure that a client’s portfolio is on track. Some help with tax issues as well, e.g. whether to use a strategy like tax-loss harvesting, and more complex financial matters like estate planning.

By looking at these benefits, which seem most important to you? Sometimes making a list of requirements can be helping when trying to find a financial advisor. Under some circumstances you may even want to consider hiring a wealth advisor.

Seeking an Advisor

Next step in finding an advisor is to obtain some recommendations. To get a list of advisors to consider:

Friends and Family Recommendations

  • Ask friends and family if they’ve used or are using an advisor. If so, what services are they receiving? How happy are they? Are there any concerns about any of the advisors they’re using? Ideally you want to take recs from people in similar circumstances to your own.
  • Do the same with business colleagues, or people who belong to the same organizations that you do.

By looking at the websites of these advisors, do they seem like a potential match?

Industry Associations

Another option when seeking an advisor is to consult industry associations and trade groups.

  • The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors website (NAPFA focuses on fee-only financial planners).
  • Financial Planning Association. Advisors in this network are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS™ (CFP®s) and you can search by location, area of specialty, how they’re paid and any asset minimums that may exist.
  • Garrett Planning Network. All advisors in this network charge hourly.

Finding the Right Fit

Just as you wouldn’t buy the first car you test-drove, or the first pair of shoes you tried on, you don’t have to commit to working with the first financial planner you talk to. Many advisors offer a free consultation so you can find out more about them. While the selection process does take a little extra time, it’s worth investing that time for your future.

Questions to Consider

Some people may find that the same names keep cropping up when asking for recommendations and exploring online sites. It can therefore make sense to create a short list of financial advisors from those findings and explore those options in more depth.

Questions to ask those advisors can include:

  • What specific services do you offer?
  • What processes do you use to create a plan for me?
  • What qualifications do you have?
  • How often would we meet or otherwise communicate?
  • What is your overall investment philosophy?

If you’re a beginning investor, it can help to ask about the financial advisor’s experience in getting new people started with planning and investing in a basic portfolio.

Fiduciary Rules

Another key question: is a financial advisor a fiduciary? If so, the advisor must work in the best interests of a client and either disclose conflicts of interest or avoid them. If an advisor is not a fiduciary, he or she is required only to make recommendations that are considered suitable.

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor tried to mandate that all financial advisors needed to follow a fiduciary standard with retirement accounts. But in 2018, the Fifth Circuit Court overruled the standard. Although this issue may be revisited, for now, investors who want a fiduciary must find out what standard a particular financial advisor follows.

Advisors who follow a fee-based payment structure are, by definition, fiduciaries. Those who get paid a commission when clients make certain investments may or may not be. When an advisor isn’t a fiduciary, they might recommend investments because they’re right for the client, but they could also be recommended because the advisor gets paid a commission.

Also, when comparing advisors, what will services for each of them cost?

Common Financial Advisor Charges

Financial advisors’ fees can be structured in a number of ways, and what you pay for a financial advisor depends on a number of factors. In general, financial advisors are either paid a flat fee (such as a retainer or a fee-for-services), commissions on products and investments they sell you (such as insurances and/or mutual funds), or a hybrid.


Some advisors charge fixed retainer fees, due monthly, quarterly, or annually. The fees can range significantly; annually, the low end may be $2,000, with the high end at $7,500. Investors can ask an advisor to explain what they get for paying the retainer.


In this scenario, advisors get paid based on the products they sell to clients. Some advisors may receive a percentage of the assets of a client before the investments are made. Others can be paid by a financial institution after the transaction has occurred, while others may charge clients each time that a stock is bought or sold.

Advisory Fees

This can be a percentage of the assets being managed by the financial advisor. Generally speaking, paying 1% annually is reasonable under this structure when including both the fees of a financial advisor and any investment fees. When considering an advisor who charges these fees, it can make sense to ask for a breakdown and the reasoning behind the fee structure.

Planning Fees

This could be an upfront fee for a financial plan or for ongoing advice. There can also be a subscription-based fee structure, similar to a retainer. Fees for these services vary widely, so be sure to ask what your all-in costs would be when working with any advisor.

Hourly Fees

This would involve a straight hourly fee for services provided. For example, setting up your retirement portfolio might cost $X, while setting up a 529 college savings plan for your kids might cost $Y.

Robo Advising vs Financial Advisors

It may also make sense to consider an online robo-advisor, or automated investing platform. This is an algorithm-driven digital platform that provides clients with basic financial guidance and pre-set portfolio options.

First, the investor responds to a questionnaire by inputting their goals and time horizon. Typical questions may also include risk tolerance. (Here’s a helpful risk tolerance quiz.)

Based on the investor’s preferences, the technology on the backend comes up with a basic plan and a recommended portfolio option (e.g. one that’s more aggressive or more conservative).

Because most automated portfolios are built with low-cost index or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), these services are considered efficient and low cost compared with using a human advisor.

Robo portfolios often involve an annual fee, perhaps 0.25% to 1% of the account balance. In some instances, a robo advisor may charge a small monthly dollar amount for lower balances, e.g. $4 per month, instead of a percentage. Remember, these costs are in addition to the fees for the underlying funds in your portfolio.

Automated investing platforms may not be the right choice for people who need advice for complex financial situations, such as tax planning. It also wouldn’t fit the needs of investors who simply prefer to sit down with a human advisor, of course.

Just like with human advisors, different robo advisor programs offer different services. So if the idea of robo advising sounds appealing, it can help to check more than one option.

Free Financial Advice

Some companies offer complimentary financial advice for their customers. In some cases this feature is only offered if your account balance is high enough. But even though an advisory service might be touted as ‘no cost’, remember that different investment products always come with a fee, such as an expense ratio. Topics discussed can include how to:

  • Set and reach financial goals, based on the current financial landscape.
  • Create a budget and practice good spending habits.
  • Leverage debt strategically by balancing repayment of debt with saving for long-term goals.
  • Build an emergency fund and save for the future.
  • Create an investment strategy that dovetails with personal risk tolerance and goals.

The Takeaway

Deciding to work with a financial advisor is an exciting step toward taking control of your financial future. Finding the right person, however, takes time and diligence. Financial advisors can come with a range of qualifications and specialties. The services they offer and the fees they charge also vary.

Fortunately, there are a number of organizations that can help you do a search for someone who is the right fit. And you can also consider taking a more tech-driven route and using a robo-advisor.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

Please understand that this information provided is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as a recommendation or solicitation of any products offered by SoFi’s affiliates and subsidiaries. In addition, this information is by no means meant to provide investment or financial advice, nor is it intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision or recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Keep in mind that investing involves risk, and past performance of an asset never guarantees future results or returns. It’s important for investors to consider their specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile before making an investment decision.

The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. These links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement. No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this content.
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Communication of SoFi Wealth LLC an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Information about SoFi Wealth’s advisory operations, services, and fees is set forth in SoFi Wealth’s current Form ADV Part 2 (Brochure), a copy of which is available upon request and at Liz Young is a Registered Representative of SoFi Securities and Investment Advisor Representative of SoFi Wealth. Her ADV 2B is available at

7 wealth-building habits that can secure your financial future

7 wealth-building habits that can secure your financial future

While landing a high-paying job is a good step, many more factors are involved if you want to have a financially secure future. It’s essential to learn wealth-building habits to ensure you’re financially stable not just temporarily but in the years and decades to come. 

As Robert Kiyosaki, founder of the Rich Dad Company, explains, “It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.” 

Keep reading to learn how to keep your money, make it work for you and feel confident about your finances

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Paying yourself first doesn’t just apply to people who own businesses. It applies to everyone. Frequently, people get paid, spend money on bills, treat themselves to a few nonessentials and then plan to save whatever is left.

Paying yourself first means you automatically route funds from each paycheck into a savings or investment account

It’s often possible to do this through an employer. You can automatically have a fraction of your paycheck go towards an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Sometimes, you can also arrange to have some of your wages be deposited into a standard savings account. 

Without an employer’s help, you might choose to simply have automatic payments from your checking account go into one or more savings accounts or retirement funds. Treat your savings like bills that need to be paid.

You want to remove the temptation to skip any contributions. Many find it useful to have several accounts.

You might automatically have funds deposited into a retirement account, another amount put into a savings account labeled Emergency Fund, and another that is saving for a wedding, house, vacation or any other major expense.

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Your biggest assets are your knowledge and skills. The more in-depth your skillset is and the more experience you have, the more opportunities are available. If you make more money, you have more to save. Your career is a significant factor in securing your financial future.

It’s important to develop both in-demand soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills include interpersonal skills, personality traits, attitudes and social and emotional intelligence.

LinkedIn Learning data shows managers spend 30% more time advancing soft skills than average learners. 

Hard skills are more teachable and easily measured skills. Try upskilling, the process of learning new skills within your current job function. For example, marketers had to learn how to use social media to stay relevant in today’s digital world.

Personally, I’ve taken on freelance finance writing to earn extra income.

While life may feel expensive at any age, it unfortunately gets more costly as you get older. The good news is that investing even small amounts of money when you’re younger can lead to substantial gains later in life.

When you invest long-term, you can make riskier investments than you could if you need to use invested money within a few years. 

Often, growth stocks can lead to the highest returns. However, investors need the time to wait out the lows during the most volatile periods. Investing early gives downfalls time to recover.

When you don’t start investing until later in life, you’re usually advised to be more cautious with your investments.

The earlier you invest, the more you can take advantage of compound returns. Compound returns are essentially the returns earned on your returns.

If you continually reinvest your earnings, you’ll substantially increase your return on investment. Let’s look at an example of how saving the same amounts, at different times, affects your money.

Let’s say Trisha opens an investment account with $1,000. She continues to contribute $1,000 each month for 30 years. At the average annual stock market return of 10% per year, after 30 years, Trisha’s account would be worth nearly two million dollars, $1,991,377.67 to be exact. 

Ben decides to invest twice as much for half of the time. He opens an account with $2,000 and invests an extra $2,000 every month for 15 years.

With the same 10% returns, he would end up with less than half of the amount in Trisha’s account, $770,894.06 exactly. 

You can play with different scenarios here to quickly see how the earlier you invest, the better.

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“Too many people spend money they earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.” -Actor Will Rogers

To live within your means is to spend less money than you earn and save. Tools such as credit cards and loans often provide people with a temporary method to live outside their means.

When we want a higher standard of living, we need to earn enough money to achieve it and strategically save for both expected and unexpected expenses. 

Credit card rewards can save people money, but if you’re spending more than you can afford to pay off in full each month, you’re trying to live outside your current means.

It’s crucial to calculate how much money you actually have available to you. Your salary gets cut down by taxes, so know your actual take-home pay. With this number in mind, create a budget that shows all of your expected expenses. 

Consider trying “backward budgeting,” where you calculate your take-home pay and subtract your expenses. If this math results in a negative number, you’re living outside your means and need to either make more money, cut down on costs, or both. 

Be aware of “lifestyle inflation,” where people start to increase expenses as soon as their pay increases.

Related: Best Budgeting Apps for Couples

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Generally, people want to make and save as much money as possible. However, rather than vague goals of “as much as possible,” it’s better to have your financial goals be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely (SMART). What specifically will you need extra money for in the future? 

Write down your financial goals and categorize them as short-term (less than five years), mid-term (five to ten years), and long-term (over ten years). It’s even better if you can set target dates for each financial goal. 

Prioritize your goals in terms of what is critical, what you eventually need, and what you want. For example, you might have a surgery coming up that your insurance won’t fully cover and it’s critical to your health. That will take priority over your old car that needs to be replaced eventually, but not necessarily soon.

You might also be saving for a dream vacation. However, you put that in the “want” category because if your cash flow dwindles, it’s the goal that may need to miss a payment. Estimate how much each goal costs and divide it by the amount of time you have to save to figure out how much you need to contribute each month or year. 

For instance, if you plan to buy a house in five years and want to put $30,000 down, you’ll need to put $500 towards that purchase each month.


Surrounding yourself with successful people puts you in a wealth-building mindset and gives you more chances to discuss financial topics. It can also help you accelerate your career because the more connections you have, the more opportunities present themselves. 

It’s said that one of the best ways to increase your net worth is to increase your network. Learn networking tips to make meaningful connections with others.


Two key ingredients for leading a happy life are to be grateful and continually learning. More money is always nice, but many of us forget to feel fortunate for our current situations. 

No matter what your job or education level is, we’re all capable of picking up new skills. Learning not only makes it easier to progress in one’s career, but it also keeps us motivated, confident, and interested in our work.

The more you learn, the more potential you have to develop good money habits, grow wealth and secure your financial future.


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