Financial Planning

Looking for a Financial Advisor for Student Loans?

By  Brian Thorp

Disclaimer: To make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers, including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor their promotion over others. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

Do you have considerable student loan debt? We asked financial advisors specializing in student loans to offer their tips to help you tackle and repay your debt.

The financial health of millions of Americans suffers from the burden of significant student loan debt. According to, more than 43 million Americans collectively owe $1.7 trillion in federal student loans. This equates to nearly $40,000 in federal student loan debt on average.

Especially for individuals and couples early in their careers, this debt overhang can hinder their ability to purchase a house, afford to start a family, and sufficiently save the money needed to retire at an ideal age. For many people, this debt load can also cause stress and take an emotional toll on their mental health as well.

A financial advisor specializing in student loans can help turn feelings of fear and uncertainty into confidence by designing a personalized repayment plan that offers a light at the end of the tunnel.

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 financial advisor specializing in student loans.

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 clients who have significant student loan debt is a better fit to help with your unique financial planning needs.

How Much Does a Financial Advisor Cost?

➡️ How Much Does a Financial Advisor Cost? Read the Article

Smart Tips for Finding a Financial Advisor

Before hiring a financial advisor, here are a few quick tips to help you find the best advisor for you.

1. Decide Which Services You Need

Before hiring an advisor, determine what services you need from them. Whether it’s full-service investment management or a plan focused on a specific area of your finances, put together a list of what you’d like help with before contacting an advisor.

Though most people use a financial planner primarily to invest for retirement, this is only a small part of what many advisors offer. Here’s a quick rundown of potential services a financial advisor may offer you:

  • Budgeting and money management
  • Debt management
  • Insurance planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Other investment planning
  • Inheritance planning
  • Estate planning
  • Tax planning

As you can see, financial advisors can help you with your entire financial picture, not just investing. As you start to plan for life’s bigger milestones, you should consider finding a financial advisor that specializes in those areas.

Finding the right advisor can help you minimize risk, maximize gains and take advantage of tax breaks while investing for your future. They can also help you protect your assets with the right kinds of insurance and help you pass on your financial legacy with a proper estate plan.

2. Consider Your Budget and Payment Preferences

Once you have a list of services you would like, review the fee structures financial advisors offer. Finding a balance between the services you need and the cost of those services will help narrow down the field of advisors you may want to work with.

If you are looking for a full-service advisor to manage all of your investments, consider searching among fee-based financial advisors. If you want to manage your money yourself, consider the flat fee and monthly subscription advisors for ongoing support.

3. Interview Multiple Financial Advisors

Once you have chosen the services and fee structure you prefer, it’s time to contact a few advisors and interview them. Here are questions to ask financial advisors:

  • What services do you provide?
  • What are all the ways you get paid? (fee transparency)
  • What is your investment strategy?
  • How do you measure investment performance?
  • How do we communicate about my plan?

Interview multiple advisors to get a feel for who you want to work with. A combination of fees, services, and customer service will help you determine the best fit for your financial advice.

4. Review Financial Advisor Credentials

Once you find an advisor (or two) you feel comfortable with, it’s always a good practice to check their credentials and the firm’s details. You can do this at the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website

You can check both the individual and the firm to view their background and experience details, as well as any disciplinary action taken against them or their firm.

As licensed financial professionals, there is oversight into how financial advisors conduct business, so running a quick (free) check on them is recommended.

For additional information about advisor credentials, read our article to learn the most popular designations held by financial advisors, as well as specialized credentials which may be important to consider if you have unique financial planning needs.

Get to Know Financial Advisors for Student Loans

📍 Click on a pin in the map view below for a preview of financial advisors who specialize in helping their clients repay their student loans and can help you reach your money goals with a personalized plan. Or choose the grid view to search our directory of financial advisors with additional filtering options.

🙋‍♀️ Have Questions About Your Student Loan Debt?

How Can Financial Advisors Help You Dig Out of Student Loan Debt

💡 In the Q&A below, you’ll gain insights from financial advisors specializing in student loans to help you make smart decisions with your debt so you can enjoy life more with less money stress.

🙋‍♀️ 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.

Q&A: Financial Advisors Specializing in Student Loans

Five Questions with Ben Martinek, CFP®, CSLP®, EA, RICP®

We asked Bismarck, North Dakota-based financial advisor, and student loan specialist Ben Martinek to answer five questions to help people considering hiring a financial advisor make a more informed and educated decision.

Q: For people with considerable student loan debt 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? 

Ben: Student loan repayment can either be done via conventional debt repayment (simply pay the debt off as you can according to the terms of the agreement) or through an Income-Driven Repayment plan.

Deciding which way to go can be a nuanced conversation, but generally speaking, the decision to pursue Income Driven Repayment is largely determined by the proportionality of the individual’s income to their student debt level. The more the student loan debt is a “multiple” of one’s annual earnings (let’s say the debt is $200,000 while the individual makes $100,000, producing a multiple of “2”), then there is need for an advanced consultation to determine whether an Income Driven Repayment plan is the better choice.

Usually, if the debt to income level exceeds a multiple of “1,” then a borrower can save money by pursuing Income Driven Repayment and the different forms of forgiveness offered with these plans.

In short, if your student loan debt exceeds your annual income, you should reach out to profressional for advice. See this Morningstar article for further explanation.

Q: How do the financial planning services you offer to tackle student loan debt distinguish you and your firm from other advisory firms? 

Ben: We have service packages that deliver advice specific to these questions. It’s a subject we handle on a daily basis.

Q: When you first speak with someone who wants to discuss their student loan debt with you, what questions do you like to ask to understand their unique circumstances better and determine how you can best help them achieve their goals? 

Ben: We want to know about their current student loan plan. We also want to understand their current and future household income, whether they intend to marry and have children, where they plan to live, whether their work qualifies for Public Service and whether the loans are Federal or private loans.

Get to Know Ben Martinek, Financial Advisor for Student Loans:

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

Q: You hold the Certified Student Loan Professional (CSLP) designation among your professional credentials. Can you describe how this benefits you and the clients you serve who have considerable student loan debt? 

Ben: The Certified Student Loan Professional (CSLP) is the leading designation for advising clients on student loans. It took over 100 hours of study to acquire (yes, student loans are that complicated!) and it’s ushered me into a community of other professionals who spend most of their time advising student loan borrowers.

Q: What questions do you recommend people with sizable student loan debt ask financial advisors they’re considering hiring to help them decide if they’re a good fit?

Ben: There’s a large number of questions to ask, but since individual tax filings have a significant impact on monthly payments under an Income Driven Repayment plan, a critical question is whether the student loan professional can complete their tax filings or are working with a tax professional who can.

Many times, student loan advising sits in the intersection of student loans and tax filing status, so you need to be working with someone who can provide assistance in both regards to get the most comprehensive advice.

Q: Is there anything that comes up frequently in your initial meeting with people who have sizable student loan debt that surprises you? 

Ben: For most people, a large amount of student loan debt is scary and overwhelming. There are many clients whose lives are overrun with worry about what to do with this item of their finances, even though they are highly educated.

In other words, student loan advising is an emotional matter that many times determines whether a borrower can be at ease with their debt obligations and overall finances. Borrowers are not able to rest easy until this matter is resolved and a plan is put in place.

Are you a financial advisor who specializes in student loans?

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Resources to Help You Choose a Financial Advisor

Top Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

How Much Does a Financial Advisor Cost?

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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: To make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers, including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor their promotion over others. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.