Money Management

Is an Online Financial Advisor Best for You?

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.

Are you considering hiring a financial advisor who can meet with you online? A virtual financial advisor can help you make smarter money moves (and avoid sitting in traffic).

In this article, we’ll discuss the rapidly growing trend of hiring an online (or virtual) financial advisor who can meet with you from the comfort of your own home via a videoconferencing tool like Zoom. And we’ll introduce you to a diverse mix of online financial advisors ready to help you develop a personalized plan for your unique needs.

What is an Online Financial Advisor?

An online financial advisor offers virtual financial planning services to their clients primarily or entirely through videoconferencing tools and by phone. You may also hear these financial professionals referred to as virtual financial advisors.

This means no matter where you or your financial advisor choose to live, you’re always just a Zoom call away from a face-to-face meeting.

The Benefits of Hiring an Online Financial Advisor

Virtual financial advisors have been gaining steadily in popularity for many years and for many reasons.

One of the first reasons people began working with financial advisors online was to gain time back in their day by not having to get in the car and sit in traffic to meet with their financial advisor when a phone call or Zoom meeting works just as well.

For people who travel frequently or anticipate moving to another part of the country (or living overseas), working with an online financial advisor also ensures no disruption to your relationship no matter where life takes you.

Perhaps the most significant development accelerating the trend towards online financial advice is the ability for financial advisors to specialize in serving a niche that simply wouldn’t be practical if limited to working with clients in their hometown.

For example, many advisors now specialize in working only with clients in a particular occupation (e.g., doctors, lawyers, small business owners, technology workers, real estate agents), with particular family needs (e.g., sandwich generation families, college funding, blended families, single-income families), or investing specialties (e.g., crypto investing, DIY investors, socially responsible investing), among many other niches, served.

What this means for you is an opportunity to hire a specialist financial advisor who truly understands your individual needs based on their education, experience, and commitment to helping people just like you.

📍 Click on a pin in the map view below to discover financial advisors who can work with you online to develop a personalized financial plan. Or choose the Grid option to view these virtual advisors in a directory.

Ron Zunker Pax Financial Group Fee Based Fiduciary Advisor
Serving Clients Nationwide
San Antonio, Texas
Mark V Powell Edward Jones Financial Advisor
Serving Clients Nationwide
Huntsville, Alabama
Laura Simpson, CFP® PAX Financial Group Fee Based Fiduciary Advisor
Serving Clients Nationwide
San Antonio, Texas
Guy Davis, CFA GCI Investors We invest, we don’t speculate.
Serving Clients Nationwide
Houston, Texas
Michael Jensen, CFP® Falcon Wealth Planning Planning Made Simple.
Serving Clients Nationwide
Irvine, California
Charles F. Hall Jr. Clear Rock Advisors Managing Wealth for Generations
Serving Clients Nationwide
Austin, Texas
Ty Sanders Clear Rock Advisors Managing Wealth for Generations
Serving Clients Nationwide
Austin, Texas
Corey Long, CFP® Clear Rock Advisors Managing Wealth for Generations
Serving Clients Nationwide
Austin, Texas
The Goff Financial Group Fee-Only | Fully Independent | Fiduciary
Serving Clients Nationwide
Houston, Texas
Showing

📍Double-click or pinch pins to view more.

What to Expect When Working with an Online Financial Advisor

We asked financial advisors to help us understand what it’s like working with them from across the country and to share examples based on their own experiences.

Clients Across the US Choose to Work with this Advisor in Maryland

Philip Weiss is a financial advisor based in Phoenix, Maryland. Weiss launched his advisory business, Apprise Wealth Management, to serve clients both locally and nationwide. Today, he serves clients in 18 states, plus Washington, D.C.

“I have a client who lives in California and works for the government. He told me that he would rather work with me than with a local advisor because I have experience working with government employees. That’s worth more to him than being able to meet face-to-face,” Weiss said.

“I have another client based in Long Island, New York. She told me that she’d rather work with me virtually than with a local advisor because that means she doesn’t have to deal with the local traffic when she wants to meet with me,” Weiss added.

“For my clients and me, working virtually is more efficient. I don’t have to spend time driving to see clients, and my clients don’t have to spend time driving to me. I do offer in-person meetings for local clients. Most prefer to meet by Zoom. I am still able to get to know my clients without meeting them in person,” Weiss said.

A woman meeting with her financial advisor online, typing on a keyboard, using a tablet computer.
A woman meeting with her financial advisor online.

A Widow in Illinois Found Her Ideal Financial Advisor in Pennsylvania

Stephanie McCullough is the founder of Sofia Financial, a financial planning firm based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, helping divorced, widowed, and single women in their 50s and up.

Stephanie has many clients she’s never met in person, and others like this one she’s only met once, with all subsequent financial planning services offered virtually:

“About three years ago, a friend connected me with her sister-in-law who lives in Illinois. We met in person when she came here to visit, but since then, our interactions have all been long-distance. She had worked with 3 other advisors since the death of her husband 10 years prior and hadn’t been happy with any of them. We work wonderfully together, and happily, the distance is not a barrier,” McCullough said.

A Midwest Business Owner Looked to Texas to Hire a Financial Advisor

Ryan Firth is a financial planner with Integrity Financial Planning, based in Houston, Texas. A client living near Champaign, Illinois, searched online for a financial advisor specializing in cryptocurrencies and tax planning. Since they began working together online, Ryan has helped the client prepare to sell their business in coordination with a tax attorney in Chicago.

“We primarily meet using Google Meet or Microsoft Teams. Working remotely makes it easier for everyone to coordinate schedules and do screen sharing, share files via email or securely through a client portal,” Firth said. “Also, the client has a vacation home near one of the Great Lakes and adult children in the southwest, so meeting virtually makes it easier on them if one or both of them are traveling, but we need to meet.”

This Financial Advisor in Austin Serves West Coast Technology Workers

Rebecca Conner is the founder of SeedSafe Financial, an Austin, Texas, financial advisory firm specializing in serving technology workers. While Austin is home to several technology employees she counts as clients and who have the option to meet with her in person, Conner frequently uses Google Hangouts to meet with other clients who live on the west coast.

“I work with a client who just moved from San Francisco to Seattle. Our virtual relationship allowed the client to find her best fit for what she needed – the expertise she needed in tech stock compensation and tax planning when other local options did not,” said Conner. “Each person is so different – shouldn’t we be able to find a larger selection of advisors who also understand those differences?”

A Denver Retiree Chose This Advisor in Sacramento for Financial Guidance

Douglas Boring is a managing partner and senior wealth advisor with Aspire Financial Planning, based in Sacramento, California. His firm employs a team approach by using paraplanners, tax specialists, as well as the lead financial advisor.

“We were referred to a client who lives in Denver. We were able to communicate a Retirement Income strategy to this client, which made sense to him. We have found that if the prospective client likes working virtually, then the rules of communication are much the same as when you meet in the office,” said Boring.

“The main focus we try to be mindful of is how to communicate efficiently with Zoom by not getting into too much detail with our presentations,” Boring added. “We keep it simple and keep the numbers to a minimum by focusing on a few key concepts.”

Bi-Coastal Entertainment Industry Workers Choose this New York Financial Advisor

Michael Raimondi is a wealth manager with Clarus Group, based in New York City, specializing in serving clients who work in the entertainment and media industries. While several call Los Angeles home, they regularly spend time on the east coast for part of the year.

“One couple I work with became clients after we found each other on LinkedIn. We developed a relationship over Zoom and later Microsoft Teams, using the screen sharing technology to engage with our interactive financial planning tools in real-time or hopping on the phone when we just need to have a quick conversation,” said Raimondi.

“We are working our way through the full financial planning process together, from risk management and tax management (their accountant joins us for meetings via Zoom) to investment and retirement planning. They like that we can hop on a meeting from anywhere and that we can meet in the morning before they start their day since they are most often on the west coast and I am in New York. The easier it is for us to meet, the easier it is to build a relationship. The stronger relationship, the more of their questions get answered and the more progress they see toward their financial goals,” Raimondi added.

From a Colorado Mountain Town, This Advisor Serves Clients in Arizona and Beyond

Nathan Mueller is a financial advisor with BlackBird Finance based in the small mountain town of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Beyond the clients Mueller serves nearby who share his love for the outdoors, he works with clients online nationwide.

“One of my clients is based in Arizona, and we found each other through a referral. I primarily do video meetings using Google Meet. During our meetings, we do a complete financial plan working on retirement, estate, debt, investments, and risk management,” Mueller said.

“I believe the client and I both enjoy the virtual arrangement as it provides the greatest flexibility. Neither of us has to worry about commuting to a location to meet. It allows the client to not be limited to local advisors but to find an advisor that best fits them no matter the geographic region,” Mueller added.

This Virtual Business Owner in Chicago Chose a Virtual Financial Advisor in Indianapolis

Michael Reynolds is the principal at Elevation Financial, an advisory firm that exclusively serves clients virtually, operated from his hometown of Indianapolis. For Reynolds, working with clients nationally using Zoom for online meetings is part of his daily routine.

“As a 100% virtual firm, I tend to attract clients who love the convenience of meeting online. It eliminates inconvenient travel times and other hassles,” Reynolds said.

“One example is a client I work with in the Chicago area. She found me online and specifically noted that she was looking for a virtual advisor. I provide comprehensive financial planning and investment management, and we meet via Zoom. She loves it because she also runs a virtual business and the flexibility of meeting with me from her home or wherever she happens to be is valuable to her,” Reynolds added.

Foreign-Born Clients and Overseas Travelers Choose this Advisor in the Lone Star State

Jane Mepham is the founder of Elgon Financial Advisors, based in Austin, Texas. Mepham specializes in serving foreign-born clients and offers comprehensive financial planning, one-time project plans, and investment management.

“My clients find me online or are referred by other advisors. They love that they can use my expertise with cross-border planning and appreciate the flexibility of meeting online, usually using Zoom,” Mepham said.

“Meeting online is also perfect for those that spend a lot of time overseas. For example, I’m currently working with a client who just moved to Europe and another one that spends a lot of time in Canada,” Mepham added.

A Woman in Washington Finds Her Advisor in Wisconsin

Brian Behl is the founder of Behl Wealth Management, an advisory firm located near Milwaukee in the town of Delafield, Wisconsin. Especially during COVID, Behl found that many people were forced to adopt newer technologies like Zoom and are now very comfortable with them.

“One of my most recent clients lives in Tacoma, Washington. This client came to me via a referral from another advisor, who felt I was a better fit for her planning needs. With this client, our first communication was an introductory phone call, but all other meetings were completed via Zoom,” Behl said.

“This client in particular was looking for detailed retirement projections and strategies focused on lifetime tax minimization. She also wanted a one-time project financial plan without the obligation of an ongoing relationship or a retirement to move her assets to my firm to manage. In the end, the client got exactly what she was looking for and shared how appreciative she was and how much she learned going through our planning process. Our Zoom meetings went very smoothly with the ability to see each other on camera, share our screens with each other, and walk through all of the software items needed to complete her plan,” Behl added.

“While this client was across the country, I am finding that other clients of mine who may only live 30 minutes from my office are even requesting Zoom meetings instead of coming to the office. We can cover all of the same planning discussions, but they can do it from the comfort of their home while saving about an hour of drive time,” Behl said.

A Young Family in Southern California Hires an Advisor in North Carolina

Michael Acosta is a financial planner on the Tom Dumas Team at Consolidated Planning, who specializes in serving young families and new parents. Acosta works with clients locally and nationwide from his hometown near Charlotte, North Carolina.

“One of my best client relationships is with a young family in Los Angeles, California. We’ve been working together since 2018 and have actually never met in person. I had my ‘first date’ with them online to learn more about their goals, concerns, and specific needs and shared how I work with my clients specifically,” Acosta said.

“We concluded that we liked one another, trusted one another, and are compatible, so we decided to work together. We haven’t looked back, and the success they’ve had personally, professionally, and financially has been awesome to witness, from new certifications to new jobs, to having their first child, to now purchasing their first home,” Acosta added.

Preparing to Hire an Online Financial Advisor

Whether you plan to hire a nearby financial advisor or a virtual financial advisor hundreds of miles away, it’s important to interview a handful of advisors to learn how they work with clients and ensure you feel comfortable speaking with them.

Many of the questions you might ask a virtual financial advisor are the same questions you would ask when interviewing an advisor to work with in person. These include:

  • Do you work with clients whose circumstances are similar to mine?
  • What services do you offer? (e.g. financial planning, investment advice, etc.)
  • How do you charge for your services?
  • What is your experience and background as a financial advisor?
  • What financial certifications do you hold?

 Questions you might ask a virtual advisor specifically include:

  • How long have you been working as a virtual financial advisor?
  • What do your clients enjoy most about working with you virtually?
  • How often will we meet?
  • What technology and tools will we use to meet? (e.g. Zoom, Google Hangout, visual tools, etc.)
  • Can you describe a typical meeting?
  • How often should I expect to hear from you beyond our meetings?
  • How do you ensure the confidentiality of information shared between us?

Whether you choose to work with an advisor in-person or virtually, your objective should be the same in deciding who you hire. You’re looking for a trustworthy financial professional who has the professional training and background to help you achieve your financial goals.

Are You Ready to Hire an Online Financial Advisor?

With many virtual financial advisors today specializing in helping clients with specific occupations, family needs, or life priorities, you’re more likely to find your ideal financial advisor by expanding your options to advisors nationwide.

Of course, you’re still able to meet in person when you’re in the same area. And you may find the best financial advisor for you does live nearby and offers flexibility to meet online when you prefer.

But in the new world ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic combined with the technology and tools that let us meet online from wherever we are, it’s time to rethink how you find the ideal financial advisor for your individual needs (or time for a checkup to ensure your current financial advisor is still best for you).

How Do I Find a Virtual Financial Advisor?

When you’re ready to find a virtual financial advisor, you’ll discover a diverse mix of advisors on Wealthtender who offer their services online and by phone. Among them, you’ll find financial advisors with a broad range of education, experience, and specializations to help you locate your perfect match.

How do I know if my financial advisor is a good match for my needs?

We encourage you to interview multiple financial advisors to ensure both you and the advisor you decide to hire are a good fit for each other. Most financial advisors offer a free initial introductory meeting for this purpose and may even require it before getting started.


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

About the Author

Brian Thorp

Brian is CEO and founder of Wealthtender. He 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.