Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a tech professional advancing in your career, someone who’s inherited wealth, or just wondering how you can grow your wealth and build a comfortable lifestyle, finding a financial advisor in Silicon Valley could be a significant help.
But how do you find a financial advisor who can help you reach personal financial goals?
In some ways, starting the search for a financial advisor in Silicon Valley resembles searching for a real estate agent—many people sell homes, but not everyone can match a home to your wants and needs at a fair price. Likewise, a good financial advisor should be able to help you build a cost-effective personal financial plan and investment strategy that can help you manage wealth throughout your life so that you reach your personal goals.
Qualifications to Look for in a Financial Advisor
The term financial advisor can mean many different things. Some financial advisors in Silicon Valley serve as financial planners that help you manage finances in most or all aspects of your life. Others might serve more as investment advisors to help you choose how to invest your money but not necessarily how to manage areas like employee benefits.
Instead of getting caught up on terms like financial planner or wealth advisor, consider the professional’s experience, qualifications, and legal obligations to you. Consider whether they have designations such as the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) certification. A CFP® professional undergoes rigorous training, studying 72 areas of finance to be able to provide comprehensive financial planning services.
Similarly, certifications such as the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) designation can indicate a high level of investment management expertise. Do your homework on a potential advisor’s certification to see how their training and experience can help you meet your wealth management goals.
Beyond such certifications, the fee structures that financial advisors employ indicate important differences. For example, a professional who calls themselves a fee-only advisor cannot take commissions or other payments from companies for selling their financial products. They get paid by their clients only. In contrast, a fee-based or commission-based advisor could take commissions, so they may have more conflicts of interest.
Investors can also look for a financial advisory firm in Silicon Valley that is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). These firms must follow the fiduciary standard, meaning they must put clients’ interests first and provide a duty of loyalty and care. For many investors, this status conveys that they can more readily trust the RIA firm to do what’s right for clients.
Consider Whether a Financial Advisor Aligns with Your Needs
Beyond qualifications and legal obligations, consider whether a financial advisor in Silicon Valley offers the expertise and service that align with your needs.
For example, some financial advisors specialize in advising entrepreneurs and business owners, whereas others might be more focused on helping retirees manage their money. Some advisors may focus on multiple areas, so you don’t necessarily need to find one that serves only clients like you. You may also find that your financial needs change through the years, so a financial advisor with expertise serving multiple types of clients may be in a position to help you through your various life transitions.
Similarly, consider the financial services that a potential advisor offers. Some advisors primarily provide investment management; if that is what you are looking for, the advisor may be a fit.
If your finances are more complex, you might ask whether a potential advisor offers comprehensive financial planning. Not everyone does, and you will need to make sure that what they do offer matches what you need. Not every advisor will help in areas such as tax planning, for example, yet this generally is an important component of financial planning, especially in a high-tax state like California.
Where to Find Financial Advisors in Silicon Valley
Investors can find financial advisors in Silicon Valley through a mix of methods ranging from word-of-mouth to online searches. For example, you can find an advisory firm by:
- Asking friends and colleagues for recommendations
- Asking for recommendations from other professionals you use, e.g., accountants and lawyers
- Attending events put on by a financial advisor
- Consuming media such as podcasts or articles from a financial advisor
- Searching online for financial advisors in your area
Once you find financial advisors in Silicon Valley that seem to fit what you’re looking for, take the time to meet with a few of them so you can get a better sense of whether you want to work with them long term.
Schedule a complimentary meeting with our Silicon Valley financial advisory firm to see how we can help you reach your goals.
This material was prepared by Kaleido Inc. from information derived from sources believed to be accurate. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice.