7 places to find investment advice

If you’re new to investing, you can find investment advice from discount brokerages that have little-to-no trading fees and offer libraries of educational material on general finance. You can also work with independent advisors or large investment management firms if your financial goals are more complex. We’ll walk you through seven places to find investment advice.

1. Discount brokerages

When you’re ready, you can begin buying and selling shares of stocks and ETFs without paying commission fees. These brokers also let you open an account with no minimum deposits or as little as $1.

However, discount brokers may not be the best option for active investors. Some lack the research tools and investment options one would find with full-service brokers.

Our top pick for

Our top pick for

Building a portfolio

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Advanced traders

How we chose our top picks
  • Our pick for beginners. We chose Robinhood for this category because it offers commission-free trading and is easy to use. You can search for stocks by company name, and the mobile app is clean and intuitive to use.

2. Financial media

If you’re an active investor or day trader, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date on any reliable market news and research you can get your hands on. These resources can give you a deep understanding of who is moving the markets and where you may find profits. But make sure you vet publications and other sources, as some may be feeding too much into market hype.

3. Robo-advisors

One of the easiest ways to get financial advice is through a robo-advisor. Here’s how it works. You visit the robo-advisor’s website and answer a few questions about your finances, risk tolerance and investment goals. The robo-advisor then recommends a diversified portfolio based on answers to your questions. From there, an advanced algorithm monitors and rebalances your portfolio to keep it on track with your goals. You can transfer your assets to a different portfolio if your circumstances change.

Robo-advisors are provided by discount brokers like Acorns and SoFi Invest or full-service brokerages like Fidelity Investments and TD Ameritrade. Both types of providers typically give you access to educational material on their websites, and some let you work with human advisors as well.

4. Financial planners

CFPs are fiduciaries, which means they are required to provide advice only in your best interests. Their fee structures are usually flexible. Some charge by the hour, while others charge a fee based on a percentage of the investments they manage in your portfolio. This fee can range from 0.05% to more than 1%, depending on the size of your portfolio.

But not all CFPs are created equal. So make sure you do some thorough research before you decide to work with one.

5. Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs)

  • Our pick for building a portfolio. We chose SoFi for this category because it offers both commission-free stocks and a free robo-advisor. That means you can open an active investing account to pick and choose companies you want to invest in, and open a robo-advisor account to help you build a portfolio and manage how much risk you take on.
  • Our pick for active traders. We picked Interactive Brokers for this category because it offers advanced tools and low fees for active investors and pros. The simpler IBKR Lite platform is aimed at less-active investors, but all users older than 21 must meet a $20,000 liquid net worth requirement for a cash account.
    • Saving for retirement
    • Investing in your children’s college education
    • Tax management through certified public accountants (CPAs) and other professionals
    • Estate planning

    RIA firms vary in services, fee structures and size. Minimum investments can range from $200,000 to more than $1 million.

    Members of the firm may have different designations like certified financial planner (CFP) and chartered financial analyst (CFA), which makes them stand out. So make sure you do your homework and find a firm or individual RIA that works right for you.

    6. Full-service brokers

    Regardless of your investment knowledge or income, you can find investment advice at a full-service brokerage. These firms offer services tailored to all levels of investors.

    Beginners can find blogs, videos and tutorials about all kinds of investment topics. Many provide account holders with free research tools to help them analyze stocks and develop their investment strategies.

    7. Family offices

    Family Offices provide wealth management services to ultra-high-net-worth families. A family office team can help these individuals achieve many financial goals for generations.

    • Retirement planning
    • Education funding
    • Tax management
    • Estate planning
    • Charitable giving
    • Investing advice
    • Debt management
    • Will drafting
    • Aircraft and yacht management
    • Travel planning
    • Business management

    However, these services don’t come cheap and they’re usually reserved for the most affluent families.

    Every investment you make has the potential to grow, but you can also lose it all at any moment. So you need a plan. Make sure your immediate finances are covered before you invest, and be aware of your risk tolerance.

    You also need to analyze your investment options carefully and diversify your portfolio strategically. Doing so can net you strong returns while giving you a cushion when the market drops. You can find investment advice at many places. But it’s best to tailor this advice into a strategy that’s uniquely yours.

    Once you’ve developed a solid investment strategy, put it into action. Open a brokerage account and start building your portfolio.

    There are plenty of brokers out there. But not all are created equal. Fees, investment types, tools and more can vary widely. So make sure you compare brokerages before you invest.

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    Whether it’s a reliable blog post about investing or a meeting with a registered investment advisor (RIA), there are plenty of places to find investment advice. Some are more accessible than others depending on your unique situation.

    Once when you have the advice you need, compare stock trading platforms and launch your investment strategy.

    How much money do I need to get investment advice?

    But if you want personalized financial planning and investment advice, you’ll need to pay fees. These fees vary depending on your advisor’s fee structure and how much work the advisor needs to do.

    The average asset-based fee for investment advice is 1%. But some financial planners charge hourly fees or flat fees that can span from $120 to $300. The average flat fee for financial advice is $7,500 to $55,000. But it depends on the assets you want managed and the duration of the advisor’s services.

    If you’re working with a registered investment advisor (RIA) firm or individual, you can look up their Form ADVs on the database of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). These official documents disclose fees and other key specifics like potential conflicts of interest.

    How much do financial advisors charge?

    Fees vary across advisors. Some charge on an hourly basis. Others charge an annual fee based on a percentage of your portfolio’s assets. Some work on a combination of both.

    But carefully vet those that make money off commissions, sometimes called “fee-based” advisors. Commissions are payments they get when you invest in a particular product.

    Your best bet is to work with a fee-only fiduciary advisor, who is legally obligated to offer advice only in your best interest.

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