Best Online Financial Advisors 2024: Find the Right Fit for Your Needs (2024)

Personal Finance Investing Financial Advisors

Written by Tessa Campbell; edited by Laura Grace Tarpley

Updated

  • Best Online Advisor for Low Fees
  • Best Online Advisor for Diversified Investing
  • Best Online Advisor for 529 Plans
  • Best Online Advisor for Financial Planning and Personal Development
  • Best Online Advisor for Retirement Saving
  • FAQs
  • Why You Should Trust Us

Paid non-client promotion: Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate investing products to write unbiased product reviews.

What Are Online Financial Advisors?

A financial advisor is a catch-all term that includes financial planners and investment advisors. Most online advisors offer investment management — whether it's carried out by a human or a sophisticated computer algorithm — and financial planning services or tools.

Types of Online Advisors

The main types of online financial advisors are:

  • Robo-Advisors: Automated investment platforms (aka robo-advisors) use algorithms to generate a custom investment portfolio based on an individual's risk tolerance, goals, and time horizon. Robo-advisors typically offer low-cost ETFs as a cost-effective way to instantly diversify an investor's asset allocation and mitigate risk.
  • Human Advisors (Virtual): Financial advisors that offer personalized financial planning and investment advice online through virtual meetings, email, and other virtual communication channels.
  • Hybrid Models: Some online brokerages offer hybrid financial advice, combining automated investment advice and management through a robo-advisor and one-on-one consultation from a human advisor.

Benefits of Using Online Financial Advisors

Online financial advisors allow you to ditch the in-person hassle and access expert financial guidance from your phone or home computer. Online financial advisors leverage investment technology and generally low-cost compared to traditional in-person consultants.

Not only does it make investing more affordable for many individuals, but clients can more easily adjust and monitor their investments on their own time. Robo-advisor and hybrid online advisors typically offer online dashboards and tools for convenient managing and monitoring.

Compare the Top Online Financial Advisors 2024

For this list, we didn't consider online advisors that match clients and advisors for comprehensive financialplanning services, such as Zoe Financial or Facet Wealth. Instead, we focused on tech-driven firms where you can access an automated and personalized portfolio and consult a professional for advice when needed.

Here are our top picks for the best online financial advisors as picked by Business Insider editors in 2024.

SoFi Automated: Best Online Advisor for Low Fees

Best for low fees

SoFi Automated Investing

Start investing

On SoFi's website

Insider’s Rating

4.57/5

Perks

SoFi Automated Investing supports individual investment accounts, joint accounts, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, and 401(k) rollovers.

Account Minimum

$0

Fees

0%

Pros

  • No account minimum or management fees to invest
  • Goal planning and automatic portfolio rebalancing
  • Range of other account options across SoFi website
  • SoFi offers complimentary CFP access across all accounts

Cons

  • No tax-loss harvesting
  • No socially responsible portfolio options

Insider’s Take

SoFi Invest is one of the best investment apps and the best investment apps for beginners. It's a great platform for US investors who are looking for an intuitive online trading experience, an open active or automated investing account, and assets like cryptocurrencies.

SoFi Automated Investing review External link Arrow An arrow icon, indicating this redirects the user."

Product Details

  • Promotion: None at this time.
  • Consider it if: You're new to investing and want to leave the trading decisions to professionals.

SoFi Automated Investing offers individual and joint taxable brokerage accounts, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and SEP IRA.

SoFi stands out for its lack of advisory fees, free one-on-one consultations with CFPs, portfolio diversity, and goal-planning features. SoFi builds a personalized investment portfolio based on your risk tolerance, goals, and time horizon. Additional SoFi membership perks include loan discounts and career counseling.

What to look out for: SoFi doesn't have tax-loss harvesting features and limited portfolio diversity.

SoFi Invest review

Betterment: Best Online Advisor for Diversified Investing

Best for diversified investing

Betterment Investing

Start investing

Compare investing options

Insider’s Rating

4.6/5

Perks

Betterment offers individual or joint accounts, IRAs, trust accounts, and cash reserve or checking accounts.

Account Minimum

$0 to open, $10 to start investing ($100,000 for premium plan)

Fees

$4 per month (or 0.25%/year) for digital plan; 0.40%/ year for premium plan; 1%/year for crypto portfolios

Pros

  • No minimum for standard investing account
  • Goal-based planning, tax-loss harvesting, charitable giving, and socially responsible investing available
  • Access to certified financial planners
  • Mobile app with external account syncing options

Cons

  • You'll have to pay to consult a human advisor, unless you have the premium plan
  • $4 monthly fee (or 0.25% annual fee)

Insider’s Take

Betterment is best for hands-off investors who want to take advantage of professionally built, personalized ETF and cryptocurrency portfolios. The platform offers CFP access, so it could suit those in search of additional guidance from human advisors.

Betterment review External link Arrow An arrow icon, indicating this redirects the user."

Product Details

  • Promotion: None at this time.
  • App store rating: 4.7 iOS/4.5 Android
  • Consider it if: You want access to robo-advice with multiple service levels.

Betterment Investing offers individual and joint taxable brokerage, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, inherited IRA, and trust.

What stands out:Betterment is a robust trading platform offering premium plans with unlimited access to CFPs through phone or email. Investors can use the platform's goal-setting feature, ESG investing, automatic rebalancing, and easy-to-use financial dashboard.

What to look out for:Accounts with a $100,000 balance can upgrade to get advisor access, but the annual fee increases from 0.25% (an industry low) to 0.40%

Betterment review

Wealthfront: Best Online Advisor for 529 Plans

Best for 529 plans

Wealthfront Investing

Start investing

On Wealthfront's website

Insider’s Rating

4.34/5

Perks

Fund your first taxable investment account with at least $500 in the first 30 days of account opening and earn a $50 bonus.

Account Minimum

$1 ($500 for automated investing)

Fees

$0 for stock trades. 0.25% for automated investing (0.06% to 0.13% for fund fees)

Pros

  • Low annual fee for investment accounts; crypto trust investments available
  • Tax-loss harvesting, portfolio lines of credit, 529 college savings plans available
  • Cash account
  • Mobile app and investing and retirement tools

Cons

  • You need at least $100,000 to utilize additional investment strategies
  • No human advisor access

Insider’s Take

Wealthfront is one of the best robo-advisor options if you're in search of low-cost automated portfolio management, and one of the best socially responsible investing apps for features like tax-loss harvesting, US direct indexing, and crypto trusts.

Wealthfront review External link Arrow An arrow icon, indicating this redirects the user."

Product Details

  • Consider it if: You're balancing several goals and want to streamline your finances.
  • Promotion: Fund your first taxable investment account with at least $500 in the first 30 days of account opening and earn a $50 bonus.

Wealthfront Investing offers individual and joint taxable brokerage, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, trust, and 529 savings plan.

Wealthfront is one of the best online financial advisors for college education savings and cryptocurrency trusts. You can borrow up to 30% of your investment balance at a low interest rate with a portfolio line of credit. Wealthfront also offers personalized recommendations with smart financial planning software.

What to look out for:On-staff financial advisors don't offer personalized advice

Wealthfront review

Ellevest: Best Online Advisor for Financial Planning and Personal Development

Best for financial planning and personal development

Ellevest

Start investing

Compare investing options

Insider’s Rating

4.27/5

Perks

Ellevest offers two investing portfolios to fit your needs.

Account Minimum

$1 - $240 (varies by portfolio)

Fees

$54 - $97 annually; $5 or $9/month

Pros

  • Personalized, automated investment advice with a $0 minimum requirement
  • Monthly plans include discounted access to certified financial planners
  • Automated IRA accounts and 401(k)/403(b) rollovers available
  • Private wealth management for individuals, families, and institutions who have at least $1 million to invest

Cons

  • No active trading opportunities available; money is mainly invested in stock ETFs and bond ETFs
  • You can only open individual investment accounts and retirement accounts; joint accounts or custodial accounts not available
  • No tax-loss harvesting

Insider’s Take

Ellevest is one of the best robo-advisors for goal-focused investing. It could be a good fit if you want automated investing and retirement accounts.

Ellevest review External link Arrow An arrow icon, indicating this redirects the user."

Product Details

  • Promotion: None at this time.
  • Consider it if: You're looking for a one-stop shop for financial planning.

Ellevest offers individual taxable brokerage, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and SEP IRA (all held at Folio Investments).

Ellevest is a comprehensive financial advisor and trading platform built around women's unique needs and challenges. Investors get access to an extensive library of content and advisor-led workshops. Additionally, Ellevest offers a socially responsible investment portfolio and monthly progress reports.

What to look out for:Financial coaching costs extra (but members get 30%- 50% off). Access to retirement account management requires an upgrade.

Ellevest review

Ameriprise Financial Investments: Best Online Advisor for Retirement Saving

Ameriprise Financial Investments

Learn more

On Ameriprise Financial Services's website

Insider’s Rating

3.83/5

Perks

Ameriprise Financial Services has been operating for 130 years Ameriprise Financial Services is licensed in all 50 states but only has 10 physical locations throughout the US; it's currently headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Account Minimum

Varies by account

Fees

$500 annual advisory fee, 2% AUM

Pros

  • Access to personal finance research and investment tools
  • Fiduciary financial advisor access
  • Various account and investment options

Cons

  • High account minimums
  • Difficult to navigate website
  • Complex fee structure

Insider’s Take

Ameriprise Financial Services is a brokerage and financial advisory firm best for experienced, passive investors interested in using the site's financial planning services, wealth management tools, and fiduciary advisor access.

Ameriprise Financial Investments review External link Arrow An arrow icon, indicating this redirects the user."

Ameriprise Financial Investments offers three managed account options that can be opened as an individual brokerage account, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, Simple IRAs, SEP IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 529 plans, and Coverdell education savings accounts (CESA).

Ameriprise Financial Investments is one of the largest registered investment advisors in the US and is best for experienced investors looking for advanced charting and investing features. You'll get access to fiduciary financial advisors for consultations or account management.

What to look out for: Ameriprise 's managed account fees are high, and it has a complex fee structure.

Ameriprise Financial Services review

How Much Do Online Financial Advisors Cost?

Financial advisors providing financial advice often charge by the hour, typically between $100 to $300. Advisors creating a comprehensive financial plan tend to charge a flat rate between $1,000 and $3,000.

If you hire an advisor to manage your investment portfolio, you'll be charged a percentage of your account balance, typically between 1% and 3% annually. In comparison, that's much higher than the fees that the best robo-advisors charge; you get the added benefit of building a relationship with a trusted source who can adjust your strategy as needed, provide personal recommendations, and answer questions when they arise.

How to Choose the Best Online Financial Advisors

The best online financial advisor for you depends on your goals, risk tolerance, investments, and time horizon. If you're a new investor interested in passive investing, an online robo-advisor is likely a good place to start. On the other hand, if you're looking for professional insight and a customized financial plan, you're better off with access to a human advisor through phone or video calls.

You can also meet with an expert in person for financial guidance. So if you prefer to meet face-to-face, here are some tools to find some in your area:

FAQs

Are online financial advisors trustworthy?

Online financial advisors are generally trustworthy. The best advisors follow the fiduciary rule, meaning they operate in their clients'best interest and are fee-only. This means client fees are their only compensation, and they don't earn a commission when they invest in certain funds or buy financial products.

Is a robo-advisor right for me?

Not everyone needs a robo-advisor, but beginners or passive investors looking for a hands-off approach to stock trading may prefer how cost-effective and convenient robo-advisors are. Affordable financial advisors can be hard to come by, so robo-advisors are a great alternative for many people. However, a financial advisor may be better if you need specific advice on your finances or investment strategy or if you're too overwhelmed or confused by your money to plan for retirement or invest in the stock market.

How much does an online financial advisor cost?

The cost of an online financial advisor varies from platform to platform and advisor to advisor. The cost largely depends on the services, licensing, account balance, and complexity. Robo-advisors typically charge lower fees than human advisors.

Why You Should Trust Us: Our Methodology

We Reviewed the best online financial advisors using Business Insider's methodology for rating investment platforms. We compared a long list of Registered Investment advisors (RIAs), considering fees, investment selection, access, ethics, and customer service. The best online advisors have top marks in all five categories. Investment platforms are given a rating between 0 and 5.

Tessa Campbell

Investing and Retirement Reporter

Tessa Campbell is an investing and retirement reporter on Business Insider’s personal finance desk. Over two years of personal finance reporting, Tessa has built expertise on a range of financial topics, from the best credit cards to the best retirement savings accounts.ExperienceTessa currently reports on all things investing — deep-diving into complex financial topics, shedding light on lesser-known investment avenues, and uncovering ways readers can work the system to their advantage.As a personal finance expert in her 20s, Tessa is acutely aware of the impacts time and uncertainty have on your investment decisions. While she curates Business Insider’s guide on the best investment apps, she believes that your financial portfolio does not have to be perfect, it just has to exist. A small investment is better than nothing, and the mistakes you make along the way are a necessary part of the learning process.Expertise:Tessa’s expertise includes:

  • Credit cards
  • Investing apps
  • Retirement savings
  • Cryptocurrency
  • The stock market
  • Retail investing

Education:Tessa graduated from Susquehanna University with a creative writing degree and a psychology minor.When she’s not digging into a financial topic, you’ll find Tessa waist-deep in her second cup of coffee. She currently drinks Kitty Town coffee, which blends her love of coffee with her love for her two cats: Keekee and Dumpling. It was a targeted advertisem*nt, and it worked.

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