Going Virtual: The Benefits of a Financial Advisor a Click Away

Increase your personal finance knowledge and read more in our article exploring What Are The Benefits of A Virtual Financial Advisor?

Published Mar. 30, 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes.

In a span of weeks, our lives have gone online faster than we ever thought possible. From working from home to now virtual happy hours with friends many have begun to discover that digital relationships could be as successful and fulfilling as our traditional lives. As all continue to transition to living digitally, it’s a good opportunity to evaluate which of your existing relationships are sustainable online.

A virtual financial advisor is a financial planner or advisor that offers financial planning, retirement planning, and portfolio management services via the internet. They use various mediums like phone calls, videoconferences, and texting as well as technological tools to ensure convenience and safety for their clients. Working virtually with a financial advisor, particularly one who has ample experience doing so, has various short and long-term benefits. 

Location Agnostic 

A virtual financial advisor allows you the ability to connect from anywhere.  With the flexibility of a videoconference, you can easily use your smartphones, tablets, or laptops to connect with your financial advisor at the click of a button. It becomes substantially easier to work together and collaborate with your advisor, as you are no longer limited in choosing the ideal. By working with a virtual advisor, you easily eliminate friction by guaranteeing your ability to work with an expert regarding your financial plans or concerns from the comfort of your own home. 

A location-agnostic financial advisor also typically has already worked out the “kinks” of communicating with their clients virtually. By doing so, they are best able to leverage the power of technology to deliver the personal finances services you need regardless of where you are located.

Location Arbitrage

Investors looking to hire an advisor in cities with a high cost of living often struggle to find an advisor that is affordable or that will take them as a client if they don’t qualify based on their asset minimum. Having a virtual relationship allows investors in say San Francisco or New York City to hire an advisor in Scottsdale or South Carolina that will likely be more affordable and have a lower stated asset minimum even though they have the same expertise and level of service offering.

On Your Time 

The US logs one of the highest worked hours per week rates in the world. Those professionals who work hard get paid well, yet they often are unable to find an advisor who is available when they are – outside of business hours. A virtual advisor is typically not constrained by “office” hours and can connect with you when you need it! 

During times of high financial stress, a simple annual plan review is often not enough. As an investor, you more than likely prefer that your financial planners or advisors be available throughout the year. The client/advisor relationship is not a “set it and forget it” relationship, but rather a continuous dialogue. This includes ongoing text or email conversations that are much more convenient than a once a year set scheduled in-person meeting. 

Increase Your Odds of Finding the Right One 

Often, by being tied to location, people choose financial advisors who aren’t the ideal fit. Instead of focusing on finding a trustworthy advisor who has your best interest in mind and that has the expertise for your specific needs, physical constraints might lead you to hire a subpar advisor that just happens to live nearby. The ability to search for an advisor who works virtually opens up your pool of potential candidates to ensure you find the best match for you! 

Financial advisors have all sorts of backgrounds, and the value that they add can vary greatly. Even if an advisor is fee-only, that does not mean that they have the same level of expertise, offer the same services, or cater to the same types of clients. Zoe helps match you with the top 5% of independent fee-only advisors in the country, so you’re able to find a highly vetted advisor regardless of location.  

Once you can trust that your potential virtual financial advisor has the right expertise, you then have to evaluate whether their expertise aligns with what you and your investments need.  The value that consumers are looking for from an advisor has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Back in the day, the advisor’s value was in their ability to try to “beat the market” by picking stocks, bonds, or mutual funds on your behalf. Technology and product innovation have commoditized many of those tasks via more passive and cost-efficient investment vehicles, such as index funds or ETFs. A virtual financial advisor practice can provide high-touch service that has already modernized to working virtually with their clients.

So…How Exactly Do I Interview a Virtual Advisor? 

It’s simple. After selecting the advisors you would like to interview, you can schedule time with them on their calendars. Virtual financial advisors are skilled at meeting potential clients via secure video conferencing tools, so your initial interview is smooth and worry-free. Virtually Interviewing a financial advisor has the same goal that a face-to-face meeting: to figure out if the advisor is the right match for you. The big difference is that with a virtual advisor, you can interview them from your living room couch.

Disclosure: This blog is not investment advice and should not be relied on for such advice or as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting, tax, legal or financial advisors. The observations of industry trends should not be read as recommendations for stocks or sectors.

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