This algorithm can help you find a better financial advisor

Zoe Financial matches you with an advisor based on your needs and payment preferences.

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Myelle LansatNews EditorMyelle Lansat is a former news editor at Policygenius, where she covered insurance and personal finance. Previously, she was a personal finance writer at CNBC and Acorns, and a reporter for Business Insider.

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Online matching services are useful for finding a date, job, and now, a financial advisor. Zoe Financial can match you with a financial advisor based on your needs and goals.  

Financial advice is all over the internet, but one in four people say professional advisors are the most trusted source for money advice, according to a 2021 study from Northwestern Mutual. But finding a financial advisor (human or otherwise) who is reputable, relatable, offers the right services, and falls within your budget can take time. Zoe Financial can decrease your search time. Based on your needs and payment preferences, the site matches you to an advisor who’s been vetted based on their background and credentials. Here’s how it works.

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How the algorithm finds your match

Zoe Financial asks for your age, zip code, occupation, income, assets you currently have, and the financial areas you want help with. This could include retirement, buying a house, taxes, family planning, financial windfall, investments. 

The site will match you with three advisors based on your answers. 

“We’ve experimented with showing more or less, and three seems to be just about right. People feel they have a choice but at the same time, they're not paralyzed by too many choices,” says Andres Garcia-Amaya, founder and CEO of Zoe Financial.  

You can fine-tune your match further based on gender or payment type if you’re not in love with your first three matches. 

How Zoe Financial gets paid

Zoe Financial does not charge you for finding or hiring a financial advisor. If you do find an advisor using the service and hire them, the advisor will pay Zoe Financial a fee. 

The site takes measures to protect you from having the hiring fee passed onto you. Advisor prices are public on the site. Advisors’ contracts also say they can’t charge more for using Zoe Financial, Garcia-Amaya says. 

“It comes directly from the advisor’s pockets rather than indirectly from the client’s pockets,” he says. 

You can customize your search for an advisor based on how you want to pay them, like assets under management (AUM), a flat fee, or both. Other financial firms may incentivize advisors to push products that make a firm money, but “we only feature advisors whose source of revenue is [financial] advice,” Garcia-Amaya says.

Finding the right advisor for you

A financial advisor can help you achieve financial goals, like growing your retirement account, investing in real estate, buying a house, or planning for your child’s education

You’ll need to decide if you want a human or robo-advisor. We recently put both to the test and gave each $5,000 to see what they would do with it. You can see our results here

You can narrow your advisor search based on your need: 

  • Certified Financial Planners need to complete a rigorous certification process and can advise you on the widest breadth of financial matters.

  • Certified Public Accountants need to complete four certification exams to help you file and prepare your taxes. A CPA can also offer broader advice like maximizing your retirement investments or savings accounts to get the most tax benefits.

  • Investment advisors are licensed through the Securities and Exchange Commission and can advise you on investing and wealth management.

  • Stockbrokers need to pass two main licensing exams to manage investment transactions.

Most financial advisors will offer a free introductory meeting. Make sure you’re prepared with any relevant documents or financial information. Be prepared to talk about your debt, living costs, assets, savings, and expenses. Also be prepared to talk about your financial aspirations. Are you interested in sustainable investments or starting your rental empire in five years? Tell your advisor that. Your financial advisor is there to help you afford your lifestyle and achieve your financial goals. 

Image: Zoe Financial