SmartAsset Review – Find A Local Financial Advisor

ADVERTISING DISCLOSURE

SmartAsset is a site that matches you with local certified financial advisors.

Using a brief questionnaire to determine your location, financial goals, and familiarity with investing, SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor tool finds a financial advisor near you to help you make a plan for your money.

SmartAdvisor helped individuals with over $5.2 billion in assets find a financial advisor in 2019 alone.

This SmartAsset financial advisor review will cover how the service works, how much it costs (hint: nothing!), and how to get started to find a local financial advisor.

SmartAsset Financial Advisor Review
smart asset logo

Name: SmartAsset Financial Advisor

Description: is a free automated service that matches you with financial advisors near you.

Overall
4.8
  • Price
  • Availability
  • Ease Of Use
  • User Experience

Summary

SmartAsset is a free automated service that matches you with financial advisors near you.

Pros

  • Free to use!
  • No obligation required so you can feel confident shopping for the right advisor
  • They pre-screen advisors so that you know you are meeting with a certified financial advisor and not someone pretending to be

Cons

  • Not all advisors have the same credentials, so you need to do your research

How Does SmartAsset SmartAdvisor Work?

SmartAsset has two main features: helping you find personalized financial planning help and free tools.

This review will focus on SmartAdvisor, their matching tool to help you find a local certified financial advisor.

With their questionnaire, they’re able to pair you with a financial advisor quickly. This helps cut down on the guesswork for both parties⁠—financial advisors don’t have to hunt for potential clients, and those interested in working with a financial advisor can easily find one near them.

Each question asked in SmartAsset’s survey relates to four themes: life status, advisor preferences, investment goals, and advisor specialization.

After you answer their questions about your financial situation and goals, they will get you matched with up to three qualified, pre-screen advisors. You can then use their online tools to book an appointment.

You’ll need to provide your zip code, email address, and phone number to receive the matches. A member of SmartAsset’s Concierge team will then reach out to you to answer any questions. They will also facilitate communication with your advisor matches.

We recommend this tool to many of our readers because the last thing you want to do is rely on a site like Yelp to find help with one of the most important aspects of your life.

What Makes SmartAsset Unique?

SmartAsset invests heavily in its team of engineers and analysts. This means they can quickly match you with financial advisors anywhere in the U.S.

What sets SmartAsset apart is that they pre-screen all of the financial advisors so that you know you are meeting with someone who has the right qualifications.

Not everyone qualified to be a financial advisor will be equally as good as everyone else, but they do the legwork to make sure you are at least meeting with legit financial advisors.

In their words, “Our matching algorithm then finds up to three advisors who fit your needs. Anyone with whom you are matched has already been carefully vetted. Before allowing investment advisor representatives onto our platform, we verify that they are investment advisors and are properly registered with either the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the appropriate State regulator. We also confirm that they do in fact possess the licenses they say they do. They cannot have any relevant pending or valid regulatory disclosures from within the last 10 years. If an advisor has disclosed a severe infraction, he or she will not be permitted on our platform. The only exception to this rule is if the complaint has been withdrawn, denied, or otherwise dismissed.

Who Should Hire A Financial Advisor Using SmartAdvisor?

While it’s clear that their tool makes it extremely easy to find a certified advisor near you, how do you even know if you need a financial advisor?

Should you be investing in a Roth IRA or Traditional IRA? How much should you contribute to your 401K? What investments make the most sense for you? Are you saving enough for retirement? How are you going to pay for your kid’s college?

If reading that list of questions made you sweat a little bit, you aren’t alone. These are the exact types of questions that a certified financial advisor can guide you through.

Anyone can benefit from a financial advisor’s guidance, but there are a few life changes that can make professional advice extra valuable. A few of those events include getting married, having a child, buying a home, nearing retirement, or dealing with estate planning.

It’s Vital To Find An Advisor That You Trust And Get Along With

It’s crucial for you to realize that the relationship you have with your advisor is essential. If you meet with an advisor and don’t click with them, don’t panic. There’s no obligation to work with anyone. Meet with someone else until you find someone you can trust.

You’ll be sharing a lot of your private family information with them, so make sure they are someone you’d be happy to do business with over a long time horizon.

If you are early in your career or don’t have very much money to invest, you should consider a robo-advisor like Wealthfront or Betterment. These services charge relatively low fees and use technology to automatically invest your money in low-fee portfolios based on modern portfolio theory.

In fact, SmartAsset’s matching tool won’t even match you with an advisor if you have less than $25,000 of investable assets.

It’s also important to understand that not all financial advisors have the same education or abilities. Credentials can help signal those things, but there’s no guarantee. For independent advisors, a prestigious certification is the CFP, which stands for certified financial planner. What I love about CFPs is that they are required to act as fiduciaries, which means they are bound to put your interests before their own.

Pros & Cons Of SmartAdvisor, SmartAsset’s Financial Advisor Finder

Pros: 

  • Free to use!
  • No obligation required so you can feel confident shopping for the right advisor
  • They pre-screen advisors so that you know you are meeting with a certified financial advisor and not someone pretending to be

Cons: 

  • Not all advisors have the same credentials, so you need to do your research

What I Wish Was Different About SmartAdvisor

I love the fact that SmartAdvisor makes it so easy to see financial advisors near me who are accepting new clients and are certified. The only downside for me is having to provide your contact information to use the free service.

I understand that the reason they need my contact information. Their business model revolves around providing high-quality new customer leads to financial advisors, so it’s important for them to collect it.

How Much Does SmartAsset Cost?

SmartAsset’s services are entirely free to use

You should note that while their tools and matching service are free, your financial planner’s services are not. If you decide to use a personal advisor found through SmartAsset, you’ll still have to pay that advisor’s rate.

Typical fees for traditional advisors range between 1% and 3% of your investment portfolio.

Is SmartAsset Safe?

The short answer is, yes. SmartAsset has an extensive review process for all their financial planners. Not only does SmartAsset verify all financial advisors’ licenses and qualifications, but they also require any advisor to have no outstanding complaints or compliance issues within the past ten years.

This means any financial advisor you match with through SmartAsset has been checked and verified with the proper qualifications and a good reputation.

How Does SmartAsset Make Money?

SmartAsset makes its money in two main ways: commissions and partnerships. Financial planners pay SmartAsset for directing potential clients their way. This amount depends on how much money the client has to invest. 

This system works out well for you as an end-user, since it means you’re not paying anything to use SmartAsset’s matching service. Also, this income helps keep their tools freely accessible, which is another win for you.

SmartAsset also regularly partners with other companies and develops affiliate relationships with them.

Also, SmartAsset almost always provides multiple recommendations. This lets you choose between several options, weighing the pros and cons of each as you do. It also means they may be compensated for making those recommendations. Remember, if you are unhappy with all of your matches, there’s absolutely no obligation to work with any of them. It’s your call.

How To Get Started On SmartAsset

When you first go to SmartAsset, you’ll find a big green “Get Started” button. This takes you to the start of their questionnaire, which helps you find and select a financial advisor who best fits your needs.

You’ll fill out some relevant details like your #1 financial priority, planned retirement timeline, marital status, and preferred specialties of your advisor. From there, SmartAsset’s algorithm matches you with up to three local financial advisors.

Your paired advisors will reach out to you within a few days, allowing you to learn more about each match and pick the one who feels right.

From there, you’ll be able to communicate directly with your chosen advisor via phone or email as they work with you to manage your money.

Note that SmartAsset itself does not manage your money. Instead, they only connect you with an advisor. Think of SmartAsset as a link between you and your financial advisor.

You can see a few of the questions they ask below:

smartasset financial advisor question showing the first step of the sign up process.
text box asking when you plan to retire
smartasset financial advisor questionaire
smartasset review box showing a question about investment preferences

Should You Use SmartAsset?

Whether or not you should use SmartAsset to find a financial advisor depends on your situation, financial goals, and desire or ability to handle it on your own.

If you’ve decided that you’d like local professional financial advice, I think SmartAsset should be one of the first places you search for one.

Most financial advisors prefer to work with clients who already have a significant amount of money to invest (think $100,000+). If this isn’t you, it may not make financial sense for you to get a professional financial advisor just yet.

Alternatives For Those Still Building Wealth

Luckily, there are other options for those who don’t have a substantial nest egg built. And SmartAsset recognizes this fact too—for anyone wanting to invest less than $25,000, they automatically recommend a robo-advisor. 

We recommend robo-advisors like M1 Finance. You can read more in our M1 Finance review.

Some people prefer to work with a human advisor virtually for a flat monthly fee. If that’s you, see our review of Facet Wealth. They exclusively offer virtual financial planning services for a flat monthly fee.

Are you ready to plan your future with the help of a professional financial planner? Click to start using SmartAsset now!

Leave a Reply