Finding the right financial advisor can be a difficult task, and for women it may be even more daunting.
A new partnership between HerMoney, a digital media company focused on improving women’s relationships with money, and Wealthramp, a financial advisor referral service, aims to change that.
Since Sept. 15 when the partnership was launched, Wealthramp has gotten 240 new users, 98% of whom are women, according to Wealthramp’s founder, Pam Krueger, who also co-hosts MoneyTrack on PBS.
Providing sound financial advice to women—especially when they are young—can be an important building block in helping them to create a strong financial future for themselves. The education piece, however, is sorely lacking in many cases and can lead to serious issues later on. HerMoney, which helps women take charge of their financial lives, wanted to offer its readers another way to bring their finances to the next level—through the help of a well-matched, fee-only financial advisor or planner.
“The question I am asked most often by women is: ‘Where can I find the right advisor for me?’ It’s often clear that they want me — like they would want a friend — to give them a personalized recommendation, which of course is not always possible,” Jean Chatzky, chief executive of HerMoney.com, said in a press release announcing the collaboration. “Our partnership with Wealthramp, though, paves the way to give them a recommendation that I feel I can stand behind,” she said.
Finding a suitable financial advisor can indeed be challenging. Although there are plenty of brokers and advisors out there, it can hard for people to vet them. Sure, they can check resources such as BrokerCheck, a free tool offered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc., to research the background and experience of financial brokers, advisors, and firms. Or they can look at the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website for information about firms registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But people may not know about these and other publicly available resources, and they may not know how to find an advisor in the first place or determine how suitable a match the person is. Specifically with respect to women, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recently delved into how women over age 70 are thinking about retirement. In a few focus groups, women pointed out the challenges associated with finding a trustworthy financial advisor or knowing the right questions to ask.
That’s where Wealthramp can help. Users complete a short online questionnaire and receive vetted advisor matches based on their answers. Individuals must then initiate contact with the advisor on their own or through Wealthramp. “We want the ball to be in the user’s court,” Krueger says.
There are about 250 fee-only advisors on the platform, all interviewed and vetted by Krueger, based on strict criteria. The advisors range from small solo practitioners to small family offices, she says. Most firms are RIAs that have a team of advisors, and in most cases, advisors on the platform have more than five years of experience. Since its national launch in 2019, the platform has matched 7,000 individuals with financial advisors based on their preferences. (Wealthramp gets compensated from advisors after a prospective client decides to hire them, but they aren’t allowed to increase the client’s fee for this purpose.)
In addition to individuals who have come to the platform on their own, Wealthramp has been partnering with employers and financial institutions such as Rolling F Credit Union that want to offer fee-only fiduciary advice to their employees or members. This way, people can self-select an advisor as opposed to being directed to one particular firm, Krueger says.
The partnership with HerMoney is a way to help more women find advisors who suit them. They can find an advisor or planner using the “Find Your Advisor” tool on HerMoney’s website. HerMoney also offers content to readers to help them know what questions to ask advisors and how to approach financial planning.
An interesting side note is that a sizable chunk of the women who have come to Wealthramp through the HerMoney partnership want to work with a female advisor. One-third of Wealthramp’ advisors are women, Krueger says.