- Review: Wealthminder
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Originally a robo-advisor, the new Wealthminder is now a registered investment advisory (RIA) service. Though it has been in existence only since 2013, the company made a decision to shift to investment advisory services in 2015. The shift was based on the fact that the vast majority of households in the US have less than $100,000 in investable assets, which is not considered sufficient to support involvement by investment advisors. Wealthminder has developed a unique software solution that helps both small investors and financial advisors connect with comprehensive financial planning and other financial services.
The business model streamlines the process, which reduces the cost of investment advice for both the consumer and the investment advisor. The objective is to make financial advisory services — including investment advice — available to a wider number of investors.
Wealthminder maintains that every investor’s situation is unique, and there should be appropriate investment advice to match that situation. In addition, it is their position that sophisticated wealth management techniques should be available to every investor.
While the site is set up to provide access to a wide variety of financial advisors for consumers, it also serves an important function for the advisors themselves. Wealthminder provides a platform in which financial advisors can market their services in order to expand their business. The fact so many advisors have come forward and are participating in the service is a complete win for consumers. It forces advisors to compete with one another for the consumer’s business.
How Does New Wealthminder Work?
The platform actually enables you to connect with more than 300,000 financial advisors located in every state in the US. The service allows users to choose specific financial topics, from which you select the primary concerns you have. When you add your ZIP Code, the platform enables you to request quotes from financial advisors who will help you reach your goals.
Wealthminder uses a five-step process that looks like this:
- You describe the financial assistance you are looking for.
- Wealthminder sends your request to their network of financial advisors.
- Advisors submit proposals with a description of what they will deliver, as well as the price for their services.
- You review the advisors’ proposals, compare the quotes and select the one you feel will work best for you.
- You will work directly with the advisor you select, and Wealthminder will handle payment once you’re satisfied with the service.
Features and Pricing
Wealthminder offers financial advice on at least 12 different topics, including:
Investment Management/Portfolio Review. You can select any level of service you need, from a periodic portfolio review to comprehensive management of your investments.
401(k) Advice/Other Employee Benefits. Though many millions of employees are covered by 401(k) plans, not everyone fully understands what they’re about. You can get advice to help you better manage your plan. You can also get advice for maximizing the benefits you receive from your health insurance, flexible spending accounts, and stock options. Wealthminder even has a list of scores of major companies with the details of their 401(k) plans, where you can get plenty of general information.
Debt Reduction. Millions of people are carrying more than a comfortable level of debt. Sometimes what is most needed is either advice or a comprehensive plan that will get you moving in the right direction. Wealthminder has the resources to make that happen for you.
Education Funding/Planning. Wealthminder’s network of advisors can help you determine how much it will cost to send your children to college, what financial aid programs are available, student loan options, and 529 investment plan options.
Tax Planning. Access to professional tax advice is increasingly important as more people are preparing their own income taxes using various tax software programs. There are complexities in the tax law that need specific explanation, even before the information is entered into a tax program. This is particularly true in the case of many types of investment situations, particularly as it relates to the many different investment accounts that are available.
Comprehensive Financial Planning . This is a category in which smaller investors are not well served by the industry. But Wealthminder can connect you with their network of financial planners who can help you establish needed long-term priorities in order to reach your goals. This includes not only investing options, but also ways to reduce risk in the process.
Retirement Planning. Given most people are not remotely prepared for retirement, this may be the most valuable service Wealthminder makes available. They have experts who will help you determine when the best time is to begin collecting Social Security benefits, as well as how much money you will need to retire and the best strategies to build that portfolio.
In addition, Wealthminder offers the following features:
- Wealthminder Blog — Here you will find hundreds of helpful articles dealing with virtually every personal financial topic you can think of. It’s entirely possible you will find answers to some of your most pressing money questions on the blog, without ever needing to incur the cost of getting advice from financial professionals.
- Pricing — Wealthminder is free to use by consumers. The platform actually earns its revenue by collecting a small fee from financial advisors for the privilege of participating in the network. You will of course have to pay agreed-upon fees to any financial advisors whose services you actually use through the platform, but no fees to Wealthminder.
- No Investment Minimums — Financial advisors often cater to high-net-worth individuals, mainly those with at least $500,000 of investable assets. But since Wealthminder is essentially an open forum, you have an opportunity to find advisors who will work with you regardless of your portfolio size.
Though the website can be accessed from a smartphone, there is no specific mobile app available for the service.
- Wealthminder is available for small investors — The service is available for people with less than $100,000 in investable assets, a market not well served by traditional investment advisors.
- Wealthminder uses fee-only fiduciaries — This selection process eliminates the possibility of an investment advisor trading your account to generate commission income.
- Transparent pricing — You always know exactly what you will pay for what services before you commit.
- Satisfaction guaranteed — Wealthminder promises you will be satisfied with the service or they will "make it right."
- Choice of investment advisors — Wealthminder provides long lists of advisors in your state, and you choose who you will work with.
- Advice for specific needs — You can select only the services you need; for example, you can get estate planning advice without selecting an entire estate planning package.
- May be more expensive than robo advisors — Though the advice offered from financial advisors is much more specific, it will also likely be much more expensive than the low fees that are available with robo advisors.
- Wealthminder is really a financial advisor aggregator — That means it is essentially a forum where you can connect with various financial advisors. But it will be up to you to select each advisor, as well as to perform any due diligence as to their integrity.
- The platform doesn't actually provide any hands-on services — It is essentially an online meeting place between you and financial advisors. Plenty of free information but no specific tools.
- No Peer Ratings — Wealthminder doesn't provide a method for other customers to score the service of their financial advisor.
Wealthminder is now essentially an aggregator for financial planners, much like an online job board or dating service. In that regard, it functions extremely well, which is why it rates 3.5 stars.