Not everyone wants to manage their own investments, but finding a financial advisor you can trust can be challenging. The last thing you want is to get ripped off or sign on with an advisor that lacks the proper knowledge or experience.
This is where WiserAdvisor comes in. WiserAdvisor can match you with professional advisors in their network that they have vetted in advance. The best part is that their service is free, and there’s no obligation.
But is WiserAdvisor a legitimate platform? Find out in this full review.
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What Is WiserAdvisor?
Launched in 1998, WiserAdvisor provides users with a directory of qualified financial advisors from across the USA. They also offer a free service that matches clients to up to three advisors based on the client’s requirements and preferences. According to WiserAdvisor, its goal is to “help consumers gain fundamental financial knowledge that may enrich their lives.”
In addition to the directory and matching service, WiserAdvisor publishes educational articles and blog posts on its website and provides users with access to various financial calculators.
WiserAdvisor can match you with advisors in every state except Hawaii, Mississippi, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia.
- A simple matching process with vetted advisors
- No fees to WiserAdvisor
- Educational resources for investors of all experience levels
- No obligation to hire after consultation
- Not available in Hawaii, Mississippi, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia
- The vetting process less thorough than some competitors
WiserAdvisor offers four primary services to its users: a financial advisor directory, an advisor matching service, a financial learning center, and free financial calculators. Here are some key features of each service.
Directory of Financial Advisors
WiserAdvisor maintains a list of qualified and thoroughly-vetted financial advisors located throughout the United States. The list compiles advisors from well-known Fortune 500 companies and small, independent firms.
As you scroll through the list of advisors on the WiserAdvisor website, you’ll find information such as:
- SEC number and other official information
- Current number of advisors at the firm
- Current amount of funds under management
- Number of clients
- Services provided
- Fee structure
Each advisor is registered with FINRA/SEC and has a clean record. WiserAdvisor calls its network independent, unbiased, and trusted.
Advisor Matching Service
WiserAdvisor matches investors with advisors located near them. According to WiserAdvisor, all of the advisors on their list undergo an interview process before they are approved.
To use their service, you simply fill out a form that asks a few questions about your financial situation. Your responses give WiserAdvisor an idea of when you want to retire, how much money you have invested, etc.
Once you’ve completed the form, WiserAdvisor will match you with 1-3 vetted advisors. From there, you can interview each advisor and decide which one, if any, is a good fit.
Note that WiserAdvisor does match clients with fee-only and fee-based advisors. You can’t necessarily request one or the other.
That said, WiserAdvisor is transparent about fees so that you can simply turn down recommendations for advisors if you don’t like the compensation model.
Financial Learning Center
WiserAdvisor has a financial learning center with blog posts and articles regarding money management.
Some of the articles listed on the site as of this writing include:
- Financial Planning for High-Net-Worth Individuals
- What is Goal-Based Investing?
- Choosing the Best Retirement Accounts
- Why and When You Need a Financial Advisor
- The Complete Guide on Financial Planning for Couples
The articles are geared toward readers with varying levels of personal financial management knowledge, from beginner to experienced.
For example, you’ll find tips to improve your financial literacy if you’re new to personal finance and investing.
Conversely, the site also has an article on investing $1 million in today’s market. The site’s commitment to serving those with all levels of wealth means that there’s something for everyone.
WiserAdvisor publishes financial calculators on its site, so you can figure out if you’re on track to retire or make investment projections based on product type, time horizon, rate of return, etc.
How Much Does WiserAdvisor Cost?
WiserAdvisor is free to use as they don’t charge visitors for their services. Instead, they make their money by charging the advisors listed in their directory.
However, if you hire a financial advisor through WiserAdvisor, they will charge you fees to manage your portfolio. Depending on the advisor, you may be required to pay a fee based on a percentage of assets under management, a flat fee, or commissions.
It’s important to understand the impact of fees on investment returns before signing on with any advisor.
Who Is WiserAdvisor Best Suited For?
WiserAdvisor can benefit a wide range of investors. You might like WiserAdvisor if you’re searching for a financial advisor but aren’t sure where to start.
As mentioned earlier, the company does the hard work of screening advisors before they add them to their list of recommended advisors.
This could make the screening process much easier for you. WiserAdvisor could also be beneficial to you if you simply like learning more about money and playing with numbers.
Between the blog articles and the financial calculators, there’s plenty of education to be had for the taking.
And because the site doesn’t charge consumers, you can use one or all of the services at no cost to you.
WiserAdvisor matches you with advisors by asking you a series of questions about your financial situation and goals:
– What is your zip code?
– When do you want to retire?
– Do you own a home?
– Do you own a business?
– What is your current income?
– Do you want your advisor to be within commuting distance?
– What is your email address?
From there, the company recommends between one and three advisors that fit your criteria.
Advisors pay to join the WiserAdvisor network. However, not every advisor who makes that request is accepted. Each advisor is subject to a thorough vetting interview. If they pass the interview and have a clean record with the SEC/FINRA, they may be accepted.
WiserAdvisor works with both fee-based and fee-only advisors. Fee-only advisors charge a set fee and do not receive commissions for selling certain products.
Fee-based advisors charge a set fee but may also be paid commissions for selling certain products. Because of that, charges from advisors will vary. You should discuss fee schedules with advisors before signing an agreement to work with one.
Yes, the WiserAdvisor platform is safe to use. The company promises not to share your personal information with anyone unless they have your consent. They also use SSL technology to help keep your information safe.
Before signing up with WiserAdvisor, it makes sense to look at the alternatives. Here are a couple of companies I found that provide a similar service to WiserAdvisor.
Like WiserAdvisor, Zoe Financial provides referrals to financial advisors at no cost to clients. Zoe claims that the advisors they recommend are in the top five percent of their field. While I’m unsure how they determine this, advisors must possess a CFA, CFP, or CPA designation to be considered by Zoe, along with at least five years of industry experience.
One of the main differences between WiseAdvisor and Zoe Financial is that WiseAdvisor offers help to any level of investor. In contrast, Zoe Financial is geared toward investors with at least $100k in investments.
Wealthramp also helps its clients find financial advisors. The advisors Wealthramp partners with are fully and personally vetted by Wealthramp’s CEO.
Wealthramp doesn’t offer the abundance of free resources that WiserAdvisor offers. Also, their services, like Zoe Financial, are targeted toward those with a portfolio of at least $100,000.
If you’re in need of a financial advisor but are struggling to find one on your own, WiserAdvisor might be worth a shot. Their service is free and not restricted to higher net worth investors, like some of the competition.
If you aren’t satisfied with their recommendations, there is no obligation to continue. Just be mindful of the fees that will eventually be charged by any advisor you deal with. There’s a reason that more people are choosing to manage their own investments through online brokers or deal with a robo-advisor.