How Do Online Financial Planners Work? (Guide to Online Advisors)

Guide to online advisors

 

Even though consumers have been using online banking and mobile applications for years, the concept of online financial planners like Mint.com is still new. In comparison to a traditional face-to-face financial planning relationship, how do online financial advisors work?

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 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!
  • 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.

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. 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.

Where can I find a financial advisor?

You can flip open the Yellowpages and find tons of financial advisors offering services in your area, or 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, realizes that it’s probably too good to be true.

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.

Mint.com is a full online financial planning suite, and it's completely free. Click here to sign up!

Photo credits: RambergMediaImages, kenteegardin, and photosteve101

Google+