Even though consumers have been using online banking and mobile applications for years, the concept of online financial planners like Mint is still new. In comparison to a traditional face-to-face financial planning relationship, how do online financial advisors work?
Online financial advisors allow users to manage their investments, track their spending, create budgets, and leverage key information to make smart financial decisions. While in-person financial advisors can be costly and limiting depending on your income, online financial advisors are convenient, inexpensive, and accessible to anyone from nearly anywhere.
Online Financial Advisors
An online financial advisor can help you analyze your finances and develop a custom plan. Online financial advisor services may vary in their scope, depending on your needs but they can help with budgeting, investing, retirement planning, and more.
What Is an Online Financial Advisor?
An online financial advisor can help you set a budget, track your spending, manage your investments, and reach your short- and long-term financial goals. With online financial advice, you can tailor your investment strategy to your own preferences and come up with an effective personal finance plan that sets you on the right track to achieve your goals.
In this article, we take a closer look at the benefits of using an online financial advisor and explain what to look for when seeking one out. To learn more about the best online financial advisors, continue reading. You can also use the links below to skip to any section in this article.
Online financial advisors can be either human or robo-advisors. Human online financial advisors offer the same services as in-person advisors, yet they’re typically more accessible and less expensive. The advantage of a human financial advisor is that, over time, they can gain a better understanding of your needs, preferences, spending habits, etc. and tailor their services to match your lifestyle.
On the other hand, robo-advisors can offer precise investment advice at a low price. Robo-advisors are convenient and affordable options for those who want advice on how to manage their investment, which is why they’ve been growing in popularity over the years. In fact, it’s expected that approximately 479 million people worldwide will be using robo-advisors by 2025.
How Do Online Financial Advisors Work?
There are two types of online financial advisors—human and robo-advisor—each type handles the financial process in a different way. With a robo-advisor, you’ll typically complete a questionnaire that provides insight into your financial tendencies, such as your risk tolerance and long-term goals. The robo-advisor will use this information to automatically manage your investments based on an algorithm.
A human advisor provides many of the same services that a robo-advisor does—such as personalized investment management advice—but with a human touch. A human advisor can offer personalized advice in many different areas of personal finance and you can communicate with them directly.
The advantage of a human online financial planner is that they will likely be able to offer more in-depth advice and expertise when compared with a robo-advisor. You can call them and have them break down complex financial topics or personalize your investment strategy to align with specific situations in your life.
What Does an Online Financial Advisor Do for You?
Online financial advisors allow you to:
- Develop plans for your finances with budgeting templates that are comprehensive enough to include college funds, estate planning, insurance investments, long-term investment management, spending trends, and retirement planning.
- Analyze your debt, understand how debt management works, and develop a plan to pay down debt using an online financial planner tool.
- Access expert guidance when it comes to making investments, creating budgets, and setting financial goals.
- Analyze your financial situation and run scenarios to cover “what if” questions about your financial future. If you want to readjust your short term or long term savings goals, you can change your financial plan at no extra cost.
- Keep your information private. Unlike a traditional financial planner, no one else needs to see your personal information, and you can rest assured your information is stored securely. When you use an online financial advisor, you don’t need to worry about a biased advisor or stockbroker tipping your investment accounts in their own favor.
- Run quick reports, and understand them easily. No more waiting for quarterly reporting and untimely email replies. If you sign up for financial planning help online, you can pull data and gain insights into your personal capital with the snap of a finger. Better yet, with a monthly financial planner from Mint.com, you’ll be able to read the figures printed in your report with an intuitive, easy-to-read layout — meaning you have the power to monitor your funds all on your own, no Calculus degree or professional financial help required!
With online reporting, your days of using a manual calculator are over.
Benefits of Using an Online Financial Advisor
There are many benefits that come with using an online financial advisor. First of all, you’ll receive expert insights and personal finance tips that enable you to develop a financial strategy that works for you.
Online financial advisors are also relatively inexpensive and convenient because you don’t have to visit a physical office—just interact with your financial advisor online or via phone to get the service you need.
Some of the top benefits of using an online financial advisor include:
- Convenient: Access finances at any time. You don’t need to make appointments with a financial planner or schedule an office visit plus travel time. Simply log onto your financial planning website and access live information in real time – all from the comfort of your couch!
- Usually, lower cost and sometimes even free: An in-person financial planner often charges higher rates than an online financial advisor. In some cases, you can even get online financial advisor services for free!
- Online tools and insights: Online financial advisors often come with easy-to-use analytical tools that help you track investment performance and monitor your spending.
What to Look for in Your Online Financial Planner:
Your online financial planner should offer the benefits of a traditional financial advisor, plus more:
- Portfolio and Asset Tracking: Get up-to-the-minute data on your investments and total assets, and get advice on your investment portfolio. There are many free financial resources you can use to track your investments all on your own, but a financial advisor will have a better understanding of the market volatility and when it’s time to rebalance your portfolio.
- Risk Analysis: Quickly understand the risk level of any proposed investment, and get advice on risk management. Risk management refers to an investor’s willingness to take on accounts that could have dramatically high gains, as well as sudden, significant drops. Generally speaking, your online financial advisor will suggest a more aggressive stance for younger investors, because their account will have more time to recover in the event of a market crash.
Your financial advisor should also be able to help you decrease your own level of perceived risk to potential lenders, starting with a free credit score before slowly bringing your number up little by little with persistent advice.
- Mobile Features: Gone are the days of scheduling appointments during your financial planner’s office hours. With a free online financial advisor, you can view your account from any device, including smartphones and tablets. Make updates and changes from anywhere, anytime.
- Financial Calculators: Make “what if” projections, calculate the potential return, and plan for the future. Using free online financial calculators, you’ll be able to calculate your current net worth and create a plan to grow your savings account, build wealth, and pose yourself for financial success in the years ahead.
- Goal Tracking: Set up financial goals, and easily see how you’re tracking against them. Services like Mint even offer email and mobile alerts, bill reminders, and more, to help you stay on top of your goals.
Everyone needs a road map. Online financial planners allow you to set specific goals for your retirement, education, investments, and spending, and stick to them. Ultimately, good online financial planners help you make wiser spending and purchasing decisions and cheer you on as you achieve your financial goals.
Is It Worth Talking to an Online Financial Planner?
You don’t have to be a millionaire to use an online financial planner. As a matter of fact, many people can benefit from using an online financial planner, as most Americans don’t have a professional advocating for their financial wellness. This is illustrated by the fact that 65% of Americans reported that they didn’t have a financial representative in 2020.
An online financial planner can help you get started with investing in the stock market. Or, if you’re already an experienced investor, an online financial advisor can provide advanced analytics and suggest alternative strategies. An online financial planner can even help with simple things, like setting up a monthly household budget.
No matter what your personal finance goals are, having an expert by your side can help you stay on track to achieve them. So, if you want professional advice without having to spend a fortune, an online financial planner may be a good option.
Where Can I Find an Online Financial Advisor?
You can hop over to Google and see the many financial websites available for you to choose from. But don’t just take any online financial advisor at their word – if you come across a promise to quick riches, realize that it’s probably too good to be true.
In order to find a financial advisor, you can:
- Ask friends or family members if they recommend one
- Find an online financial advisor database
- Read online reviews of different financial advisory services
You can also save yourself time and stick with us, the trusted pros at helping you achieve your financial goals. From investment accounts to college savings, credit card debt to retirement planning, our online financial planner tool has all the features you need to help you budget and plan accordingly.
Pro-tip: Before you move forward with a financial advisor, make sure to vet them with Investor.gov’s convenient tool first.
How Do I Find an Online Financial Advisor for Free?
Using the Mint app, you can access free online financial advisory services quickly and easily. Mint can help you manage your finances as you pursue your short- and long-term financial goals. With the Mint app, you can:
- Track cash flow, including recurring bills and subscriptions.
- Create personalized budgets.
- Analyze your spending.
- Regularly check your credit score.
- Track your investment portfolio.
Mint.com is a full online financial planning suite, and it’s completely free. Click here to sign up!
Use an Online Financial Advisor to Prepare for the Future
An online financial advisor can provide individuals with several benefits, no matter their income or financial situation. With the help of an online financial advisor, you can create budgets, track your spending, personalize your investment strategy, and more. The best part is that it’s convenient and inexpensive compared to traditional financial advisors—sometimes it’s even free!
Sign up for the Mint app today to access free online financial advisory services. The Mint app is a tool that enables you to improve your financial well-being and achieve all of your financial goals. With Mint, you can carry powerful financial management tools wherever you go, and access them in no time.
Sources: Statista 1 | Statista 2