Whether you’re managing your wealth or planning for major life events, a financial advisor helps you make the most of your money. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best financial advisors in Buffalo to help you find the right financial planner to make your financial goals a reality.
Hiring a financial advisor is a solid step to ensure your future financial stability. A reputable, fiduciary financial planner helps you set goals, choose investments and make tough decisions.
People in Buffalo hire financial advisors at every stage of life. If you’re anticipating a significant life change like having children, marriage, divorce or retirement, the experience of a financial planner is invaluable.
As a general rule, investment advisors and financial planners who charge a percentage fee require a minimum portfolio value around $100,000. However, Buffalo residents with any amount saved can find a financial advisor willing to work with them.
Types of financial advisors
There are more options than ever before for securing your financial future, including multiple types of financial advisors. When searching for an advisor in Buffalo, first choose either:
Robo-Advisors: Robo-advisors are automated software platforms that make investment decisions based on complicated algorithms and user input. While robo-advisors only provide general financial advice, they are cheaper and more accessible than traditional advisors.
Human Advisors: Human advisors provide a more personal, tailored approach to asset management, whether you meet with them virtually or in person. Human advisors use their education and experience to handle complicated asset management tasks and provide custom financial advice.
Next, determine if your advisor is a fiduciary. A fiduciary is legally bound to act in your best interest, regardless of whether they stand to gain or lose money. This legal and ethical standard helps fiduciary advisors avoid conflicts of interest. For example, non-fiduciary advisors might recommend less-than-ideal investments that make them more commission and lose you money.
What is the cost of a financial advisor in Buffalo?
Expect to pay your financial advisor $100 - $200 per hour or a flat fee between $1,000 and $3,000 for a basic financial plan. If you need long-term asset management, investment advisors charge either 1 - 2 percent of your assets under management or a 3 - 6 percent commission on transactions.
Financial advisors who charge fees or hourly rates call themselves fee-only advisors. These professionals charge clients directly and don’t receive any commission on the products they recommend.
On the other hand, advisors who charge fees and receive a commission use the term fee-based. These people are less likely to be fiduciary advisors and may accept third-party compensation for the investments they sell you. This is why total transparency from your advisor is so critical.
What qualifications should a financial advisor have?
Fiduciary financial advisors in Buffalo should have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and some kind of additional designation, like being a Certified Financial Planner.
During the consultation with your financial planner, ask a few questions, such as:
What is your investment style?
Do you have any professional certifications?
Are you a fiduciary?
Do you have any disciplinary disclosures?
Are there any hidden fees?
How will we communicate?
While most financial advisors in Buffalo are trustworthy, watch out for scammers posing as legitimate advisors. To avoid scams, familiarize yourself with the most common pitfalls, like Ponzi schemes, affinity fraud and advisors who promise unrealistic returns. Research your advisor’s background using tools like BrokerCheck to confirm their credentials and reputation.
Operating out of Maryland, Facet Wealth is a hybrid firm that uses both robo-advisors and human advisors. The company assigns clients a dedicated financial planner to assist with all aspects of their financial planning, from retirement planning to asset management.