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How do I Choose the Best Online Financial Advisor?

Article Details
  • Written By: Geri Terzo
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Before the evolution of the Internet, a search for a financial advisor was limited to word of mouth and the telephone book. Now, with the infinite resources that the web has to offer, there are tools to make that search more effective. Finding the best online financial advisor is possible, but it will require some evaluation of what your goals and expectations are for investing, preserving and growing wealth. After that is determined, the search for professional guidance becomes more streamlined, and you might be able to find the right online financial advisor with a simple Internet search.

Online stock brokers are available to provide guidance about investing in the financial markets. In the world of investing in the stock market, there primarily are two types of online stock brokers: discount brokers and full-service brokers. As the name suggests, a discount broker will offer investment advice more cheaply than a full-service broker will. Although both brokers provide some offering of online tools to help with the investment process, a full-service broker offers investors additional options that are more personalized to the client. Some brokers still maintain physical office locations, but nearly all stock brokers have an online presence.

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A straightforward query using an online search engine for either a discount or full-service broker will yield a series of responses that will launch your search process. For instance, most online brokers advertise the fee schedule on their website in addition to the services that are offered. A line-by-line comparison of the various services and fees can help you determine which online financial advisor is best suited for your needs. Most brokers offer some free support, such as charting and graphing, but depending on how much money you want to invest and how frequently you plan on buying and selling stocks, one online financial advisor will meet more of your criteria.

In addition to a stock broker, the Internet also can lead you to another type of online financial advisor, a wealth manager. Wealth management goes beyond just investing in stocks and bonds, and this type of financial guidance typically is reserved for the most wealthy investors. For instance, a wealth manager might advise a client to purchase private real estate or foreign currency. Again, an Internet search will broaden your options, because you don't need to live in the same city as the professional in order to obtain investment advice. Search for a company that has a multi-year history and that has established a positive reputation already, or even a firm that has been around through various market cycles, because this experience will come in handy during turbulent economic times.

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