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Best Financial Advisors in Columbia

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SmartAdvisor by SmartAsset logo
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SmartAdvisor by SmartAsset

Columbia, MD
  • Estate Planning
  • Financial Planning
  • Investment Management
  • Retirement Planning

Business Description

SmartAsset's free, five-minute tool makes it easy to find qualified financial advisors in your area. The exclusive tool uses a quick survey to help SmartAsset's exclusive algorithm match you with up to three advisors based on your specific financial needs. Each advisor is a fiduciary, legally bound to work in your best interest, and rigorously vetted by SmartAsset. You can speak with each for free, sometimes within a matter of minutes, and choose whom you want to work with. Hundreds of thousands of smart investors and retirees have already used SmartAsset's simple, no-cost service to find the right financial advisors for them.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.0
Google
3.2 / 5 (15)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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Detail
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Price: Free consultation

Athlon Advisors logo
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Athlon Advisors

10715 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 120, Columbia, MD 21044
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  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Business Description

Athlon Advisors is a financial services company that caters to clients in Columbia. It provides financial planning services for individuals, including retirement and estate planning. The company uses various software tools from brands like Riskalyze and e-Money to help clients track personal financial goals. It also offers tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll management solutions for small business owners. Mike Engler, one of the company's co-founders, is a former investment broker for Merrill Lynch. He is a U.S. Navy veteran.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
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Detail
Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors logo
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Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors

5950 Symphony Woods Road Suite 600, Columbia, MD 21044
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  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Retirement Planning

Business Description

Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors, Inc., is an independent investment planning firm serving individuals, families, business owners, and non-profit entities in Columbia. It has three members who have the Certified Elder Planning Specialist (CEPS) designation, which allows the firm to develop better custom aging plans. Finances and planning for healthcare, legacy, legal matters, and end-of-life directives are all included in the firm's aging plan service. The firm also assists with pension benefits, retirement account rollover, and Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (12)
Google
4.8 / 5 (4)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
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Bay Point Wealth logo
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Bay Point Wealth

10320 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Suite 200, Columbia, MD 21044
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  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Business Description

Bay Point Wealth guides clients in Columbia with their financial journey. Its team of Certified Financial Planners, Certified Public Accountants, and Chartered Financial Analysts assist individuals in developing a financial plan unique to their needs and situations. The financial plan incorporates investment and tax strategies to promote wealth growth. The team suggests investments that fit the client's circumstances and risk level. It also looks into tax savings opportunities. For over 20 years, the wealth management firm has helped many clients and families achieve their financial goals.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (2)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Bestgate Wealth Advisors, LLC logo
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Bestgate Wealth Advisors, LLC

6700 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 200, Columbia, MD 21046
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  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Estate and Trust Specialist

Business Description

Bestgate Wealth Advisors, LLC is a fiduciary financial advisory firm serving individuals and businesses in Columbia and the nearby areas. Its advisors provide clients with a wide range of services, including retirement plans, investment strategies, estates, wealth management, and business and financial planning. It also provides Medicare insurance coverage. The managing partner, Greg Will, holds various certifications, including Certified Investment Management Analyst and Personal Financial Specialist. Will also gives seminars to professional groups regularly.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (4)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Brightworks Wealth Management logo
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Brightworks Wealth Management

10025 Governor Warfield Pkwy #100, Columbia, MD 21044
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  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Business Description

Brightworks Wealth Management is a team of independent financial advisors that serves individuals, businesses, and non-profits and foundations in Columbia and neighboring areas. They assist in building an investment portfolio, as well as in planning for retirement, college education, estate, and charitable giving. To provide comprehensive advice, they work with external professionals like CPAs, attorneys, and third-party administrators. With over a decade of experience in financial services, co-founder Scot Millen holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Centuria Financial Group logo
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Centuria Financial Group

2333 Baltimore Blvd Suite B, Finksburg, MD 21048
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  • Retirement Planning
  • Insurance Products

Business Description

Since 2020, Centuria Financial Group has been serving clients in Columbia. Its team helps individuals develop a roadmap to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals. They help in setting budgets, choosing insurance policies, and planning for retirement with a stable and sustainable income. The firm also runs a personal financial website to help clients keep track of their targets. Lead financial planner David McCabe has more than a decade of experience in the mortgage and financial sectors.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (2)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Cetera logo
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Cetera

10008 Colesville Road Suite B, Silver Spring, MD 20901
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  • Tax Preparation

Business Description

Cetera provides clients in Columbia and the surrounding communities with tailored wealth management services. The financial advisors help individuals develop retirement strategies, manage wealth distribution, find suitable insurance plans, and set up an investment portfolio. They also guide clients into understanding securities, including stocks, mutual funds, and variable annuities. One of the firm's financial advisors, Joyce A. Wallace, is a summa cum laude accounting graduate. She is also a Certified Public Accountant, financial advisor, and insurance agent.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)
Chesapeake Financial Advisors logo
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Chesapeake Financial Advisors

8115 Maple Lawn Blvd, Suite 350, Fulton, MD 20759
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  • Retirement Planning

Business Description

Chesapeake Financial Advisors has been providing services to families and individuals in the Columbia metro since 1998. Its range of services includes retirement distribution, wealth accumulation, and education planning. The independent company also offers investment management solutions, such as institutional investment accumulation, retirement plan consulting, asset allocation strategies creation, and 401(k) investment check-ups. In addition, its financial advisors deal with tax preparation. Founder Tom Taylor is a member of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of Tax Professionals.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (6)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Financial 1 Tax logo
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Financial 1 Tax

8850 Columbia 100 Parkway, Suite 403, , MD, Columbia, MD 21045
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  • Estate Planning
  • Tax Planning
  • Tax Preparation
  • Retirement Planning

Business Description

Financial 1 Tax has been serving families and individuals throughout Columbia for more than 19 years. The firm provides a wide range of services, such as charitable tax planning, drafting wills and trusts, Roth IRA conversion strategies, retirement planning, and Social Security tax reduction. Its team of financial advisors advises clients in matters involving estate planning and elder law. Financial 1 Tax has been featured in various publications, including US Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, and MarketWatch.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Google
4.5 / 5 (182)
Facebook
4.5 / 5 (57)
Yelp
1.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Jolles Financial logo
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Jolles Financial

5052 Dorsey Hall Drive Suite 203, Ellicott City, MD 21042
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  • Estate and Trust Specialist

Business Description

Established in 1985, Jolles Financial serves individuals, professionals, and business owners in the Columbia metro. It offers a wide range of financial-related services, including investment, retirement, and estate preservation and legacy planning. The company creates holistic planning strategies tailored to clients' needs and lifestyles. In addition, its financial advisors process life and disability insurance policies. Founder Brian Jolles is a Chartered Life Underwriter and a Chartered Financial Consultant who has been in the industry for nearly 40 years.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (5)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Lim Financial Group logo
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Lim Financial Group

9250 Rumsey Road Suite 103, Columbia, MD 21045
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  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Business Description

Lim Financial Group is an independent financial planning firm that helps clients in Columbia and the surrounding areas grow and preserve their wealth. Its team of wealth advisors guides clients in retirement planning, investment management, insurance planning, estate conservation, and business succession planning. The firm is composed of founder Alexander H. Lim, who has over two decades of experience in the financial services industry, and Director of Planning Steven Lim, who holds Certified Financial Planner designation.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)
Maven Wealth Management logo
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Maven Wealth Management

P.O. Box 266, Fulton, MD 20759
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Business Description

Maven Wealth Management is an independent financial services firm that serves clients in Columbia. It assists individuals in pursuing and achieving their financial goals through financial planning, investment management, and retirement planning. Its wealth management team has members with diverse areas of expertise as a result of working for various Wall Street firms. The team is led by Denika Tokunaga, who specializes in providing wealth management services to high-asset individuals, corporations, and non-profit organizations.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (27)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Severn Financial Advisors, LLC logo
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Severn Financial Advisors, LLC

1610 West Street, Suite 105, Annapolis, MD 21401
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  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Business Description

Severn Financial Advisors, LLC, is a firm that helps clients in Columbia manage their money and achieve their financial goals. It offers different kinds of financial planning services, from investment and risk management to funding for education and retirement. For businesses, the firm offers assistance in company retirement and business succession and key person planning. It also designs a wealth management plan aligned to the individual's needs, goals, and current financial position. Stephen James, the founder, is a Certified Financial Planner.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
White Oak Wealth Management logo
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White Oak Wealth Management

8840 Stanford Blvd. Suite 4000, Columbia, MD 21045
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  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Business Description

Established in 2016, White Oak Wealth Management serves clients in Columbia and the surrounding areas. The company offers a broad portfolio of financial and wealth management services, including financial planning and investment management services. The company comprises highly qualified financial and asset management experts who help clients grasp the complexities of financial planning by creating simple financial reports. This assists their consumers in determining how far they have progressed in meeting their financial objectives.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Back to Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

Are financial advisors worth it?

Whether or not a financial advisor is worth it depends on your personal situation. If your finances are fairly straightforward, then you may be better off handling it on your own. But if you have substantial assets or a complex investment portfolio, then hiring someone to handle it for you can be well worth the cost.

Introduction

There are many titles for financial professionals, so it's challenging to track what each one means. A financial advisor is probably the term you've heard most often. Financial advisor is a broad term for a professional who helps individuals or companies manage their finances, including investment choices. There are over 100 certifications that financial advisors can obtain.

  • Financial planners, wealth managers, and investment advisors are all financial advisors with different focus areas.
  • A financial planner helps an individual or a company make a plan to achieve long-term financial goals.
  • A wealth manager helps individuals maintain their wealth through various disciplines and services, such as taxes, estate planning, and investment advice.
  • An investment advisor offers investment advice and recommendations to individuals or organizations.
There’s a misconception that you have to be extremely wealthy to use a financial advisor. In reality, they can be beneficial for people from any income level. Keep reading to find answers to the most commonly asked questions about financial advisors, so you know which type can fit your specific needs.

What does a financial advisor do?

Financial advisors can have many types of specialties. Generally, a financial advisor advises on or helps to execute a financial plan. Some examples include assisting people with getting out of debt, building out an investment portfolio, and handling taxes.

How much money do I need to work with a financial advisor?

There’s no specific income level you need in order to work with a financial advisor, but there may be a minimum investment amount for certain types of services. Some financial advisors won’t manage your money unless you have $100,000 or more to invest, but this isn’t the case with financial coaches or robo-advisors.

What does a financial coach do?

Financial coaches focus on improving your financial literacy and money management skills. For example, they can help you figure out how to pay down your student loans or decide how much money to put away for retirement. They usually charge by the hour and don’t offer asset management services or investment advice.

When should I use a financial advisor vs. doing it myself?

Smart money management can give you freedom and comfort. Being responsible with your money makes it possible to meet goals and pay for major expenses. A financial advisor is trained and can offer you expertise that would otherwise take years to learn. They know how to save you money and make it go further.

How do I know if my financial advisor is trustworthy?

Because financial advisors aren’t licensed or regulated, it’s up to the client to make that determination for themselves. However, if your advisor is a fiduciary, that means they’re legally bound to act in your best interest. Some types of advisors, including Certified Financial Professionals (CFPs), are held to fiduciary standards.

What\'s the difference between a financial advisor and a financial planner?

The term financial advisor is a broad phrase that encapsulates many specialties, including financial planner. It's similar to how doctor applies to different physicians, while a cardiologist is a specialty doctor. A financial planner helps their client plan to achieve long-term financial goals, such as saving for a house or retirement.

Are financial advisor fees tax deductible?

Until 2018, financial advisor fees were tax deductible as a miscellaneous expense. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act elimited that deduction until at least 2025.

What is a financial consultant?

A financial consultant and a financial advisor are essentially the same. In recent years, financial consultant has become a less popular term, with financial advisor being much more common. Sometimes, the financial professional may opt for the term consultant when offering services to a business rather than an individual.

What makes someone a fiduciary?

Fiduciary is a legal term for a person who has a legal or ethical responsibility to act in your best interests. For example, a trustee and a beneficiary. A financial advisor may have a fiduciary obligation to make financial choices that are best for you, even if it means they earn less in commissions or fees.

What is a robo-advisor?

A robo-advisor is essentially an algorithm that manages your investment portfolio for you. Because their services are automated, you’ll pay less than you would for a human advisor — often between 0.25% and 0.50%. They don’t require large initial investments either, making them a popular choice for entry-level investors. However, you won’t get the same level of advice that you would get from a personal financial advisor.

How often should I meet with my financial advisor?

After your initial meeting, you may only need to check in with your financial advisor on a quarterly or annual basis. Ask them in advance how often you can expect to hear from them, and whether they offer in-person, phone, or virtual meetings.

Should your financial advisor be a fiduciary?

It’s important to understand that only some — not all — financial advisors have a fiduciary obligation to their clients. Always ask your financial advisor if they’re bound by fiduciary duty. If not, it’s possible that they’ll push products or services that earn them the highest commission, not necessarily what’s best for you. Opt for a financial advisor bound by fiduciary duty whenever possible.

Can my financial planner help with taxes?

Financial advisors aren’t necessarily accountants or tax preparers, so don’t expect them to prepare your taxes for you. However, they may be able to provide tax-related advice to help you optimize your returns and deductions. If you need an advisor who can file your taxes, look for one who is also a CPA (Certified Public Accountant).

Do I need a financial advisor?

Ask yourself if a financial advisor can fill a need or solve a problem you can’t easily handle on your own. They can be helpful in a wide variety of ways, such as building budgets or financial plans, finding ways to save money on taxes, creating an investment portfolio, or offering investment advice.

What experience should I look for in a financial advisor?

 If you have specific goals or a unique financial situation, look for a financial advisor with expertise in that area. For example, some financial advisors specialize in working with millennials or focus on socially responsible investing.

How do financial advisors get paid?

Clients pay to work with a financial advisor whether it’s through fees, commissions, or salaries. If they’re paid by client fees or commissions, their salary is tied to how much business they bring in. The harder they work, the more they make. In comparison, a salaried employee is guaranteed their wage no matter how many clients they have.

How much does a financial advisor cost?

A financial advisor’s costs depend on their fee structure. Some advisors charge a fee — either hourly or a percentage of the client assets under management. Another common option is to charge a commission on the products sold or investments made.

Should I hire a financial advisor before buying a house?

While not always necessary, a financial advisor could help you decide how large of a mortgage to apply for, how much money to put down, and how to balance the purchase with other savings and investment goals.

How many financial advisors are there in the U.S.?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s estimated that there are 218,050 financial advisors. California is the state with the highest employment of financial advisors across the nation.

Do banks offer financial advisors?

Yes, many banks have financial advisors on staff. Your bank may also offer incentives to work with their financial advisors, such as lower fees or free accounts. However, it's important to note that many of the bank's financial advisors don't have a fiduciary obligation and might prioritize the bank's products above all else. There is a cost when working with your bank's financial advisor.

Should I hire a wealth manager?

A wealth manager can help offer complex financial planning services, including tax guidance, estate planning, and legal assistance. While you don't have to be a high-income earner to benefit from a financial advisor, a wealth manager is typically for those that have a high net worth. However, many people build wealth and need a wealth manager later on in life.

Is wealth management worth it?

Wealth management is typically worth it for those who need help with multiple endeavors or comprehensive financial situations, such as charitable contributions or investment portfolio management, or want to protect their assets. A wealth manager can also offer you guidance if you’ve been neglecting your finances or making poor judgements.

How can you tell if a financial advisor is bad?

Your relationship with your financial advisor is a very personal one, as you’re trusting them with your wealth and future. Some general signs that your financial advisor is bad include:

  • They can’t answer your financial questions
  • You have worked with them for a while but haven’t seen a financial improvement
  • They don’t provide you with progress reports
  • They don’t check in with you

What do you need to be a financial advisor?

As mentioned, there are over 100 types of certifications for financial advisors. The training or experience you need will depend on which specialty you want to pursue. Generally, financial advisors need to have:

  • A Bachelor’s degree
  • A General Securities Representative license (Series 7 license)
  • A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification isn’t mandatory but is often preferred

Where do financial advisors work?

Where a financial advisor works will depend on what type of financial advisor they are. Financial advisors can work at a variety of places, including:

  • Securities and commodity brokers
  • A bank
  • A credit union
  • Independently
  • Insurance companies
  • Financial investment firms
  • Small investment advisory firms

How much do financial advisors make?

In 2019, the national average salary for a financial advisor was $87,850. However, it’s important to note the average salary varies from state to state and the different focus areas — an investment advisor may make a lot more than a financial planner. Lastly, salary can depend on how the individual is getting paid. Financial advisors can be paid by client fees, commissions, or salaries.

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