Financial Planning

Looking for a Financial Advisor for Young Adults?

By  Brian Thorp

Disclaimer: In order to make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured on our platform. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor promotion of our clients over other professionals and firms not featured on Wealthtender. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

If you’ve recently graduated college or are just beginning your career, a financial advisor specializing in serving young adults can help you make smarter money moves.

While some people may believe financial planning for young adults is fairly straightforward, the reality is that your 20s and 30s can be a pivotal time when financial decisions can have significant consequences decades later. For example, a thoughtful plan to save for a house, strategies to pay off student loans, and learning how to make the most of your employee benefits like a 401(k) plan and Health Savings Account can increase your chances of being able to retire comfortably at an earlier age.

A financial advisor specializing in working with young adults understands how to answer their clients’ questions as they build their lives and establish strategies to help them achieve their financial goals.

You’ll likely find dozens of nearby financial advisors well-suited to help you reach your money goals with a personalized plan. But it may be more difficult to find a local financial advisor who specializes in serving young adults.

Fortunately, many financial advisors offer virtual services so you can meet online no matter where you (or they) live. This means you can choose to hire a specialist financial advisor who lives hundreds of miles away if you decide their knowledge and experience working with young adults is a better fit to help with your unique financial planning needs.

Financial Planning for Young Adults

💡 In the Q&A below, you’ll gain insights from financial advisors who work with young adults to help them make smart decisions throughout their 20s and beyond.

🙋‍♀️ Do you have questions not answered below? Use the form on this page to submit your questions, and we’ll update this article with answers from the financial professionals and educators in the Wealthtender community. You can also contact the financial advisors featured in this article directly to set up an introductory call or ask your questions by email.

💸 Smart Money Insights for Young Adults

This page is organized into sections to help you quickly find the information you need and get answers to your questions:

  1. Q&A with Financial Advisors Specializing in Serving Young Adults
  2. Get Answers to Your Questions About Financial Planning for Young Adults
  3. Browse Related Articles

Q&A: Financial Advisors Specializing in Serving Young Adults

Seven Questions with Chad Duncan, MSFP

We asked Newberg, Oregon-based financial advisor Chad Duncan to share his insights for young adults interested in building a strong financial foundation in their 20s and 30s. With his specialist knowledge of serving clients just beginning their adult lives, Chad knows the importance of making smart money moves sooner rather than later in life.

Q: When you first speak with someone who recently graduated college and is just beginning their career, what questions do you like to ask to understand their unique circumstances better and determine how you can best help them achieve their goals? 

Chad: I like to start off with an introductory meeting where I start with “What’s on your mind?”. I find it valuable to not come into the conversation with any bias as to what I think they will say. A first exploration of what is top of mind for that person is important to get on the table first. 

After understanding what concerns they have, we prioritize the most important aspects that need to be addressed. This can range from one goal to ten, but understanding what is the highest priority starts to uncover the client’s vision of their life. 

When we understand what is important and in what order, we talk about what I can do to best serve them in achieving their goals. That can range from them having someone they can trust to talk to, someone to keep them accountable, to manage their investments, etc. If what they need/want from me is something that I can provide, I will work with them. If it is beyond my scope, I do my best to refer them to someone who can help. 

Once we understand what the person wants and needs and how I can help them, we come up with the next steps in terms of what meetings we will need to conduct, what financial information will need to be analyzed, and what the process will look for them going forward. 

After this initial meeting, I always conduct a discovery session with them. This is where we uncover things like how they grew up with money, their current relationship with money, what their parents taught them, and what they feel pressured to do vs. what they want to do. We start to paint a picture of why they have made the decisions they have in the past and start to formulate their own thoughts of where they want to go from here. 

Q: What is a common financial planning challenge unique to young adults and recent grads that you frequently encounter when working with your clients? How do you work with them to overcome this challenge? 

Chad: Younger individuals tend to have a lot of decisions ahead of them. These can be planning on buying a home, paying off student loans, gaining traction in their careers, starting a business, getting married, and figuring out employee benefits and insurance, to name a few. The biggest challenge is knowing what the right track is for that person specifically. 

We talk about all the goals and ensure they are what the person wants, not what they feel they should be doing. We then create a financial life plan that takes all of these different aspects into account and aligns it with the person’s values. The goal is to get started on the best track we can and set up guardrails to ensure we are on track through the years to come. 

Get to Know Chad Duncan, Financial Advisor for Young Adults:

View Chad’s profile page on Wealthtender or visit his website to learn more.

Q: For young adults who are unsure whether or not they should hire a financial advisor at the current point in their lives, what guidance can you provide to help them make a more informed and educated decision? 

Chad: If the thought of figuring out their entire financial situation and what they will do for the next ten years overwhelms them, this is a good indicator to have someone in your corner. Making an informed decision can be reading about advisors and what’s out there through Wealthtender, the CFP board, XYPN, FPA, and NAPFA.

There are quite a few resources available to understand what an advisor does and how it relates to your situation. I recommend not getting your information from sources like Tik Tok, YouTube, Twitter, etc. It is difficult to know who has good intentions vs. those trying to gain clout and money. A lot of these people mean well, but a lot of their advice comes from unknown biases and social pressure that can stunt your own personal growth. 

Q: How do the services you offer young adults distinguish your firm from other advisory firms? 

Chad: Firstly, my ideal client is a young adult and most firms do not serve this clientele in general. Another difference between a typical advisory firm and one that helps younger clients is the assets minimums, of which I have none. 

I help my clients figure out what makes sense to them when buying a home, understanding their student loans and the options that are available, what employee benefits to use for them, and how to set up policies that they can live by that will help them maneuver the complexities of life. I like being a part of the decisions people make in their 20s and early 30s. A lot of advisors focus more towards the middle to later parts of lives where clients want to leave a legacy, focus on retirement, and buttoning up loose ends before they stop working. 

Q: What questions do you recommend young adults ask financial advisors they’re considering hiring to help them decide if they’re a good fit?

Chad: Most advisors have an intro meeting to discuss their services, pricing, etc. The biggest thing I can say is to research what the advisor offers specifically. Most advisors have an ideal client that they write into their bio or service offering that they focus on. 

  • Who do you like working with? Why? 
  • Have you helped other people my age? With what specifically? – Are you fee-only? Are you a fiduciary?
  • What are your credentials, education, and experience? 
  • What is your approach to finance? 

You can know a lot from someone by just talking with them. Follow your gut feelings when you are interviewing advisors; if they can’t relate with you or you don’t feel comfortable, move on. 

Q: Is there anything that comes up frequently in your initial meetings with recent grads and young adults that surprises you? 

Chad: Social norms and influencer pressure and how subtle it can be. In a world that revolves around connection online, seeing others look like they are succeeding and having no problems can be detrimental to our lives. 

When a client starts seeing that a lot of their decisions and goals are based on what they think they ought to be doing instead of what they actually want. It’s a good feeling that I feel will never get old. 

Q: Are there any particular financial books for young adults you like to recommend to your clients? 

Chad: Yes.

Are you a financial advisor who specializes in working with young adults?

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About the Author
Brian Thorp, Founder and CEO of Wealthtender profile picture

Brian Thorp

Founder and CEO, Wealthtender

Brian and his wife live in Texas, enjoying the diversity of Houston and the vibrancy of Austin.

With over 25 years in the financial services industry, Brian is applying his experience and passion at Wealthtender to help more people enjoy life with less money stress.

Connect with Brian on LinkedIn

Disclaimer: In order to make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured on our platform. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor promotion of our clients over other professionals and firms not featured on Wealthtender. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

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