Financial Advisors in St. Louis, MO.

Did you know there are over 330,000 financial professionals in the United States? This number doesn’t include stockbrokers or insurance agents. This makes selecting the right financial advisor in St. Louis a little overwhelming. How can you be confident you are selecting the right St. Louis CFP® to help you plan your financial future and manage your assets?   

Whether you are looking for a St. Louis financial advisor to assist you in managing your investments, planning for retirement, or navigating life’s financial hurdles, an experienced St. Louis financial planner can make a significant difference in achieving your financial goals.

In our Quick Guide, we’ll cover the following important topics about finding the right financial advisor in St. Louis:

  • Chapter 1: Who Needs a Financial Advisor
  • Chapter 2: What Does a Financial Advisor in St. Louis Do?
  • Chapter 3: When Should I Consider Hiring a Financial Advisor?
  • Chapter 4: What is the Best Way to Find a Financial Advisor?
  • Chapter 5: Four Common Mistakes People Make Hiring a Financial Advisor
  • Chapter 6: Signs You May Need a New Financial Advisor
Chapter 1

Who Needs a Financial Advisor?

Financial advisors offer valuable assistance to a wide range of individuals and families. 

Here’s a look at who will benefit the most from partnering with a St. Louis financial planning firm:

  1. Ensuring enough savings to support your future lifestyle is important as retirement approaches. Remember that retirement can last 30 or more years for one or both spouses. Wealth advisors in St. Louis can help manage retirement accounts, plan for healthcare costs, and create a plan to distribute assets to heirs when you are no longer here.
  2. Managing personal finances while running a business can be challenging. Financial advisors in St. Louis can assist with everything from employee retirement plans to succession planning and tax strategies.
  3. If you have accumulated significant wealth, you can benefit from specialized investment strategies, estate planning, and tax optimization services to preserve and grow your wealth.
  4. Life events such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, children, or job changes can significantly impact your financial situation. A St. Louis CFP® can help you adjust your plans and stay on track to pursue your goals.
  5. If you are starting your career, a financial planner can help set up a budget, manage student loans, and start investing for future goals like buying a home or saving for retirement.
  6. Whether you’re planning for your children’s education, managing household expenses, or balancing long-term goals with current needs, a St. Louis financial advisor can help create a solid plan tailored to your family’s specific needs.

Trinity Insights: No matter your stage in life or financial situation, a St. Louis financial advisor can offer personalized advice and strategies to help you make the right decisions.

Chapter 2

What Does a Financial Advisor Do?

Financial advisors in St. Louis can offer a range of services aimed at helping you build, preserve, manage, and grow your wealth: 
  1. Financial Planning: Advisors work with you to create a comprehensive plan for your financial future. This includes setting goals, managing cash flow, saving, and investing based on your unique situation and aspirations.
  2. Investment Management: Financial advisors help you build and manage an investment portfolio tailored to your risk tolerance, time horizon, and financial objectives. This can involve selecting stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment vehicles.
  3. Retirement Planning: Advisors assist in retirement planning by evaluating current assets and savings, projecting future needs, and recommending strategies to increase the likelihood of success that you will have a comfortable retirement.
  4. Tax Planning: Financial advisors provide guidance on tax-efficient investment strategies to help you minimize your tax liabilities. This can include advice on tax-advantaged investment accounts, taking advantage of deductions and credits, converting to Roth IRAs, and charitable contribution strategies.
  5. Estate Planning: Advisors help you prepare for the eventual distribution of your assets after the loss of one or both spouses. This involves having an attorney create wills, trusts, health powers, and other legal documents for your peace of mind that your wishes are being followed and your loved ones are cared for.
  6. Risk Management and Insurance: Skilled professionals assess your financial risks and recommend appropriate insurance products to protect you and your family in case of death, health challenges, disability, and long-term care needs.
  7. Education Funding: If you have children or grandchildren, advisors can help you plan their education expenses using strategies like 529 plans or other tax-advantaged savings accounts.

Trinity Insights: As a St. Louis financial advisor, our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive strategy for managing your finances, helping you make informed decisions based on your financial goals.

Chapter 3

When Should You Consider Hiring a Financial Advisor?

If you've accumulated $1 million or more and/or are nearing retirement, now is a great time to consider hiring a financial advisor. 

Here's why:

  • Managing a million-dollar portfolio is no small feat. As you approach retirement, the complexity of managing your money increases with decisions about how to draw down your assets, manage taxes, and put strategies in place to increase the likelihood your money will last the rest of your life.
  • Transitioning from saving to spending your retirement funds requires thoughtful planning. A financial advisor can help create a strategy for drawing down your assets in a tax-efficient manner, increasing the likelihood you have enough income for all of your retirement years.
  • When you retire, your investment strategy should shift to prioritizing income, offsetting inflation, and protecting capital. A financial advisor can help you make the right adjustments so your portfolio matches your new goals and risk tolerance.
  • With a substantial asset amount, tax planning becomes more important. Advisors can help you minimize taxes using strategies like Roth conversions, tax-loss harvesting, and proper withdrawal sequencing.
  • Making important financial decisions during retirement can be stressful. An advisor provides expertise and reassurance, helping you avoid costly mistakes and feel more confident in your financial future.

Trinity Insights: When you are near retirement and moving assets from a 401k to an IRA, hiring the right financial advisor in St. Louis can help you make critical decisions that will impact the rest of your financial life (both spouses). 

Chapter 4

Finding the Right Financial Advisor in St. Louis

Here’s how you can be confident that you are getting a great solution for your financial needs when you search for a local financial advisor near you:

  • Determine what kind of financial help you need.
    • Are you seeking investment advice, a retirement plan solution, tax-efficient strategies, or a financial overhaul to prepare for your golden years? 
    • Knowing your specific needs, based on experience, will help narrow your search.
  • Make sure the advisors you are considering have the right credentials. 
    • Look for important certifications like CFP® (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™). 
    • These designations indicate a high level of expertise with a commitment to a higher ethical standard.
  • Schedule meetings with more than one advisor to understand the differences in their backgrounds and business models. 
    • Ask about their experience, investment philosophy, and how they communicate with their clients.
  • Understand how the advisors’ charge for their advice.  Determine where you get the best value for the services received. 
    • Advisors typically charge an asset-based fee for their services. 
    • The fee may cover their investment and planning services.
    • Or, they charge a separate fee for planning.
    • Make sure you are comfortable with the fee and the services you get for the fee.
  • Finally, choose an advisor you feel comfortable with.
    • Trust and communication are important parts of this relationship, so ensure you are comfortable discussing personal financial information with the professional you select.

Trinity Insights: Following these steps can help you find the right financial advisor in St. Louis who meets your needs and can help you pursue your financial goals.

Chapter 5

Four Common Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Financial Advisor

Choosing the right financial advisor is one of the most important decisions you will make for you and your family. Here are some of the most common pitfalls:

Choosing Advisors Based on Personalities and Sales Presentations 

It's easy to be swayed by a friendly demeanor, charismatic personality, or slick sales pitch. However, these traits don't speak to the financial advisors’ competence or integrity. In fact, sales skills and personalities may mask important information that would help you make the right decisions. A good start is to ensure the advisor you select is a financial fiduciary. This is the highest ethical standard in the financial service industry. 

Not Understanding How the Advisor Will Be Compensated

Many overlook the importance of understanding how their advisors get paid and who pays them. Advisors can be compensated through fees, commissions, or a combination. You or a third party (broker/dealer, mutual fund) can pay them. Always ask for a documented explanation of their compensation model to ensure no hidden costs, conflicts of interest, or surprises.

Failing to Get Information in Writing

Verbal communication can be deceiving and lead to misunderstandings. Make sure you get the information that is important to you in writing. 

Ignoring Potential Conflicts of Interest

Some advisors may push proprietary products that earn them higher fee splits or commissions. While these products might suit you, it's essential to question their motives for recommending them. Always ask if the products being recommended have higher fees or if there are alternatives that might be more cost-effective.  

Other advisors or their firms provide a proprietary investment style that may remove the objectivity you desire for performance and accountability.  Ask yourself, “Will I wonder if their performance is as good as other options, and will they tell me if so?”

Trinity Insights: By avoiding these common mistakes, you can make a more informed decision and select a competent financial advisor you can trust.

Chapter 6

Communication Signs You May Need a New Financial Advisor

If you're wondering whether it's time to find a new financial advisor, pay attention to these vital signs:

1. Poor Client Service: Client service is crucial to your relationship with a financial advisor. If your advisor is unresponsive, dismissive, or treats you like one of many accounts, you are experiencing a red flag. Lack of timely follow-through is another. Too many advisors like to take credit for bull markets and avoid confrontations in bear markets. You should feel valued and heard during every interaction.

2. Lack of Depth: Financial matters can be complicated, difficult to understand, or require specialized analysis.  Less knowledgeable or sales-oriented advisors tend to work at a high-level only dealing with basic topics.  They dodge the tough questions and won’t commit to helping with projects that are complex or require analysis and coordination.  You deserve to work with an experienced St Louis advisor that is committed to answering your concerns, helping with the analysis and coordinating the team.

3. Lack of Communication: Regular updates and proactive communications (face-to-face meetings, telephone, Zoom) are vital during volatile markets. An experienced financial advisor should increase their communications during volatile conditions so you are never left wondering what is happening and how it impacts you.

4. Confusing Communications: It can be unnerving when you don’t understand your financial advisor. Some advisors use complex investment jargon because they believe it makes them sound more professional. On the other hand, the best financial advisors avoid using terms their clients may not understand. In the long run, this is a more effective way to communicate. 

5. Infrequent Meetings: Regularly scheduled meetings should discuss markets, your portfolio, performance, risk, and planning issues. This is the minimum amount of information you need to build confidence that you are on track to pursue your goals. Anything less should be a serious red flag.

6. Not Listening to Your Concerns and Needs: The best financial advisors have exceptional listening skills. They ask the right questions because that is part of their job. Some advisors may ignore their clients’ input. If you feel your input is being ignored, select a financial advisor with better listening skills.

Trinity Insights: Your financial advisor should be a partner in your financial journey, offering support, clear communication, and personalized services, especially during challenging times.