Could I match you up with a financial adviser you could trust — one who would give good investment and planning advice — and who would put your interests first and fully reveal all incentives, fees, costs and commissions? In other words, could I hook you up with a true fiduciary who has a long track record and many satisfied clients like yourself?
That’s a question that pops up several times a week on my Ask Terry blog at TerrySavage.com. My usual response is to give you the websites of financial organizations such as NAPFA.org, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, or CFPBoard.org, the website of the Certified Financial Planners Board, where there are geographic directories.
That may or may not get you connected to a fiduciary planner who understands your individual situation. I’ve often thought that what you need is a tool like a dating service — eHarmony or Match — to fix you up with the right person — and vouch for the integrity of the matched advisor.
Now, that matching service is in existence. It’s called Wealthramp, and it is the long-term project of Pam Krueger, well-known host of the award-winning “MoneyTrack” investor education television series seen nationally on over 250 PBS stations. She’s an investment adviser, but she prefers — as I do — to reach a broader audience of people seeking trusted advice.
Pam has spent the past several years vetting advisers for her service, researching their credentials and talking with them to ensure they meet her standards. Here are her criteria:
—They must be fee-only advisers who work directly with clients.
—They must act as fiduciaries, promising in writing to put your interests first.
—They must demonstrate a track record of knowledge and successful advice-giving.
Krueger makes a point that she is not seeking a huge list of advisers but rather a select group that she can confidently recommend to people who ask her for help. And she is very open about the financial arrangements. If the match is successful, she takes a portion of the annual advisory fees. The client does not pay additional fees to cover this arrangement. No advisor can pay her to get into the Wealthramp network of recommended advisers.
The matching process is more than a geographic search. Krueger explains: “This is a real algorithm that uses weights to score and rank answers to match individual consumers with individual advisers whose expertise aligns with the consumer’s priorities — including how they expect to interact.”
She notes that communication and shared expectations are essential to a successful match. Some individuals are seeking only investment advice, while others want holistic financial planning. But no matter what the topics covered, it’s important to set expectations about frequency of communication and whether updates are in person or by phone or even by Skype.
Krueger has been beta testing the service for the past few years, and is now launching nationally. She has carefully chosen almost 200 advisers, and says she will probably never have more than 500 on the platform.
She says most people want an adviser in their geographic region. But she notes: “Almost all of the advisers on the platform are willing to drive to meet their clients face to face, or even fly out to meet clients in different states. No longer must people settle for an adviser in the strip mall down the street!”
Even if you’re not considering getting or changing an adviser, you’ll really enjoy going through the online search process at Wealthramp.com. Just sorting your priorities into “buckets” will make you think about all an adviser can do for you. It’s fun! And you get instant match results. Note: Your information is kept completely private and is not shared with the recommended advisers until and unless you reach out directly to them or you request an email introduction from Pam.
What a terrific idea this is — a matching process for individuals seeking financial help to connect them with advisers they can trust. I advise you to give it a try. And that’s The Savage Truth!