While the majority of Americans struggle to save for retirement, plan for emergency expenses and budget their income, a group of professionals are available to solve their financial problems: financial planners.

Financial planners are like the nutritionists and personal trainers of the fiscal world – they can keep a customer on track to get out of debt just as a trainer helps their client lose weight.

But not every financial planner is created equal. Some are inexperienced, lazy or simply money-hungry, while others are experienced, professional and serve the best interest of the customer. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find the latter when there are so many of the former.

Fortunately, GuideVine is here to help, with a slew of reputable advisors. Here’s how to use GuideVine to find the best one for you.

Why Choose GuideVine

A report from 2014 found that there are more than 250,000 financial planners in the US. With all those options, it makes sense that consumers have no way of weeding out the legitimate financial planners from the money-grubbing charlatans.

That’s where GuideVine steps in. They’re an independent company that vets financial advisors and lists them on a directory that anyone can use for free. You don’t have to register or supply any personal information to be a GuideVine customer.

How to Use GuideVine to Find a Planner

When you first visit GuideVine.com, you instantly see a search bar where you can enter your zip code, select how much you have in investible assets and choose what specialty you want your advisor to have.

There are 16 total areas of expertise you can choose from, which include:

  • Investment management
  • Financial planning
  • Investment consulting
  • Asset allocation
  • Retirement planning
  • Tax planning
  • College planning
  • Real estate and mortgage advisory
  • Estate planning
  • Insurance management
  • Alternative investments
  • Personal lending
  • LGBT services
  • Socially responsible investing
  • Cross border financial planning
  • Employer sponsored retirement plans

Then, you’ll hit enter and find a list of planners that match your criteria, including information about where they’re located and what their qualifications are. Some advisors will also have ratings from 0-100 left by previous and current clients.

Each planner also has at least one video you can watch to see what their personality is like before you reach out to them. The GuideVine website also allows you to set up a free consultation if you’re interested in speaking further.

When you look at an advisor’s profile, you’ll see what kinds of certifications they have, where they went to school, how their fee structure is set up, how long they’ve been practicing, and what kinds of professional memberships they have.

GuideVine also provides a free concierge service where you can speak with a GuideVine employee who is trained to match you with an advisor. Afterwards, you’ll get a customized list of advisors who fit your profile and you can interview as many or as few of those advisors as you want for free.

Because the GuideVine search function lets users determine what they’re looking for and how much money they can invest in, there’s less of a chance that you and your prospective advisor won’t mesh.

The GuideVine Promise

All of the advisors listed on GuideVine have a fiduciary obligation to their clients, which means they must recommend only products and services that will benefit their client. A fiduciary standard is the highest level of care a financial planner can offer his or her client. Not all financial planners are fiduciaries.

GuideVine-listed advisor Marguerita Cheng of Blue Ocean Global Wealth said all advisors are diligently screened before being added to the GuideVine network. In fact, they must pass background check to ensure there are no disciplinary issues or red flags in their history.

All GuideVine advisors are registered, either with the SEC or their state. Registration is one of the first steps an advisor must take to legally offer investment advice.

GuideVine also only takes on experienced advisors, with the average GuideVine planner having 18 years of experience and $180 million worth of assets under their care.

Why GuideVine Is Better Than Other Resources

While GuideVine isn’t the only resource that lists advisors, it is the best resource to find one. That’s because the GuideVine algorithm ensures you’ll only be placed with advisors who match your needs.

Plus, the GuideVine system takes care to personalize each advisor’s profile. You’re not just staring at a wall of text trying to decipher if this advisor matches your needs. You’re also watching multiple videos, reading reviews and seeing proof that they’re legally able to practice as a financial planner.

Every GuideVine advisor is carefully vetted before they’re allowed to join the GuideVine network, so investors don’t have to do their own due diligence about a financial planner.

Not sure where to start your search for a financial advisor?
Book a Free Appointment with a GuideVine concierge today!

Zina Kumok

Zina Kumok

Zina Kumok is a personal finance freelance writer. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Learnvest and DailyWorth. She writes a blog about how to be mindful with your money. Follow Zina on Twitter and ConsciousCoins.com