Human Advisors Vs Robos: How Do You Choo...

 

Robo-Advisors are a pretty popular investment approach option these days. These advisors typically differ from brokerage to brokerage,but the idea is that a complex computer algorithm can manage your investment portfolio better than a human Financial Advisor. Companies like Betterment, Personal Capital, Ellevest all have great Robo-advisor options. In addition, these companies offer customer support for questions about the site or the service. 

 

What's Great About Robo-Advisors (Pros)

 

1) Cost: (sort of): Most people believe that Robo-Advisors are always cheaper than human Financial Advisors but that is not always true. This is because there are different types of human Financial Advisors: Fee Only, Hourly, Fee Based. The difference lies in how these advisors get paid. Fee Only Advisors set their own flat fee prices, and Hourly Advisors  are paid hourly. Fee Only Advisors also typically charge at least 1% of the total value of your portfolio.  Robo Advisors can charge as little as .25% of assets under management all the way up to 2%+ of AUM --so you really need to read the fine print when you are comparing advisors. Fee Based advisors earn commissions on the investment projects they recommend. 

 

2) Lower Minimum Amounts- Depending on the Robo-Advisors you choose, these advisors can have a lower bar to get started. Personal Capital has a minimum investing amount of $50,000 and other advisors like Personal Capital or Ellevest allow you to get started investing with only $1000 to $5000. As a point of comparison, some human advisors (mostly private wealth managers) require at least $500K of investable assets, but others (like many of the advisors in the Guidefi Advisor Network) can help you start investing with as little as $1000. 

 

3)  Simplicity: Most Robo Advisors pride themselves on ease of use. Many have cool simple apps and interfaces that put you in the investment driver seat.

 

What's Not So Great About Robo-Advisors (Cons)

 

1) Money is personal and Robo-Advisors Are Not: Robo Advisors are not customized to your individual needs and they are not designed to be. Robo Advisors assume a base of knowledge and aren't available to talk you off the ledge after a significant market downturn. They can't help you adjust to personal life changes that impact your finances and they don't allow you to see your whole financial picture. Taxes, estate planning are typically left out of view when dealing with a Robo-Advisors.  

 

2) No Face to Face Meetings: If you are the type to "Set It And Forget It" then a Robo Advisor approach might work best for you. But if you would like to sit down and meet in person or virtually with your Financial Advisor and have a relationship with that person, a human advisor is likely a better option for you.

 

3) Robo-Advisors can be limiting: Robo-Advisors are limited by asset class.  Sophisticated and newbie investors may want a broader investment portfolio with a wider range of asset types than a typical Robo-Advisor offers. Of course whether you are an expert or a new investor you may be limited to the Robo-Advisors online community or glossary for additional information about an investment choice. 

 

The Final Analysis

No matter which approach you opt for, selecting a Robo-Advisor versus a human Advisor is a personal choice. When you are making the decision, please be sure to consider  the level of investment guidance you need to suit your individual style, personal goals, and your level of baseline knowledge. If you are looking for a great culturally competent advisor of color be sure to sign up to be matched on our site. 

How Can You Tell If Your Financial Profe...

Financial Professionals are not all created equal—so it is important to understand the financial advice industry’s most common credentialing standards. The Guidefi Advisor Network is made of vetted credentialed financial professionals which includes financial planners, financial counselors and financial coaches. Several of the financial professionals within the Guidefi Advisor Network have the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, one of the most rigorous credentials for the financial planning profession. Our financial coaches and counselors have the AFC, Accredited Financial Counselor or FFC, Financial Fitness Coach certification, which are the gold standards for financial coaching and counseling. The AFC and FFC credentials are issued by the ACFPE, Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education. We have compiled a list of the most relevant financial planning, coaching and counseling credentials below:

1.Certified Financial Planner (CFP): The issuing organization is the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. All CFP holders must have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher from an accredited college. In addition CFP candidates must have three years or 2,000 hours of practice in a financial planning role. The requirements of the role is that the candidate must complete the CFP Board exam. Any candidate that holds either a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Certified Loan Underwriter (CLU), Attorney’s License, Ph.D. in Business or Economics or DBA, may be exempted from the examination. There is a continuing education requirement of 30 hours every two years. 

2. Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®): The issuing organization is ACFPE, Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education. AFC holders must have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher from an accredited college in financial planning, counseling or related field. In addition, candidates must have 1000 hours of practice in a financial counseling role and complete the ACFPE exam. 

3. Financial Fitness Coaches (FFC): The issuing organization is ACFPE, Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education. FFC holders must complete the FFC financial coaching certification. 

4. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): This credential is issued by the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute, which is a global association of investment professionals. As such, most CFAs focus on investment management and opt for wealth management and some retirement planning roles. CFA candidates must be in their final year of their Bachelor’s program at minimum, and have four years of professional experience or a combination of university education and work experience that totals four years. The CFA’s education requirement is based on a 250 hours self-study program in readiness for a very difficult three-level exam, which must be passed. In addition, CFA candidates must have at least 4 years of experience in finance in a decision making role. The CFA does not have a continuing education assessment. 

5. Registered Investment Advisor (RIA): Contrary to popular belief, the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) credential is not a professional designation but it is a very important credential for an investment firm. In order to legally operate an organization that provides investment advice, the investment organization must be registered with the Securities Exchange Commission or the financial securities board in their state of practice. Most wealth managers and investment managers are RIAs. Practice as an RIA also requires the passing of the Series 65 examination or the maintaining a Series 7 and Series 66 with a broker-dealer firm. The Series 65 is can be waived in some states if the individual holds CFA, ChFC, PFS or CFP. 

6. Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC): The Chartered Financial Consultant designation is issued by the American College. The main prerequisites are three years of full-time experience within five years of applying for the designation. In addition ChFC candidates are required to take seven core and two elective courses, an equivalent of 27 credit units. There is also a final closed book examination, with 30 hours of Continuing Education every two years.

If you are evaluating a financial professional, it is important to ask about their credentials. Sign up for our newsletter to get more tips on choosing the right financial professional for your journey to build wealth

8 Reasons To Hire A Financial Profession...

Many Americans have no issues seeking professional help for their health. The idea of going to a medical specialist for specific health concerns seems very commonplace. Yet when it comes to their finances--many people try to go it alone and they choose not to seek help. This is where Guidefi comes in. We make it easy for you to find the financial help or guidance you need. Through the Guidefi Advisor Network, we can connect you with a culturally competent financial professional with the expertise to address your specific financial needs. At Guidefi, we connect our users with two types of financial professionals: Financial Advisors and Financial Coaches. Financial Advisors provide financial planning and investment management services, while Financial Coaches provide financial coaching and counseling services. 

 

The services of a financial professional can be extremely flexible, they can help you survive a financial crisis or simply plan for your financial future. We have compiled a list of 8 life situations where the expert guidance from a financial advisor or financial coach would be useful. 

1. STUDENT DEBT: If you have excessive levels of student debt ($10,000+), a financial professional can help you develop a budget to free up income to help pay down your debt. This professional can also help you restructure the debt to pay your balances off faster. Guidefi can help you find the right financial professional to help you manage your student debt. 

2. ENTREPRENEUR: If you are an entrepreneur (or small business owner), your personal and professional taxes may be more complicated than usual. Do you know that there are financial professionals that specialize in supporting entrepreneurs? Guidefi can help you find a financial professional to examine your current and future small business cash flows to ensure it is adequate for your personal retirement planning and other financial goals. 

3. NEW FAMILY: If you just started or are about to start a family, a financial professional can help you determine how to manage your newly expanded household with the additional expenses of childbirth, and college planning.  

4. RECENT DIVORCE OR JOB SEPARATION: If you recently got divorced from your spouse or separated from your job, a financial professional can help you scenario plan and figure out the best way to move forward financially.

5. UPCOMING RETIREMENT: If you are 5 -10 years away from retirement or are already retired, a financial professional can help you determine if you have the funds available to live comfortably for the next 10 -20 years. . .

6. FEEL OVERWHELMED BY YOUR FINANCES: If you feel overwhelmed by your financial situation, a financial professional can help. They can help you identify your financial goals and the priorities and actions needed to get there.  

7. FINANCES ARE OK, BUT...YOU WANT TO BE SURE: If your finances seem are ok, but you just want to know if you are missing anything –like tax breaks, or financial leaks in your budget, a financial professional can help. 

8. WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR FINANCES: If you recognize that you want to learn how to manage your finances, but you need a guide, a financial professional would be helpful for you.

There is always a good reason to look for good financial advice. Whether you need to confirm your current financial plan or change directions, the right financial professional can help you get on or stay on the right financial path. If you want to find the right financial professional for you —Guidefi can help. Sign up to use our free advisor match tool and get started on your journey to build wealth. 


 

4 Ways to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King T...

The third Monday in January is the day we honor the life of civil rights hero, Dr. Martin Luther King. Some of us will use this day as a day of volunteer service, others will visit museums honoring people of color and still others will attend marches and community events. And some will do nothing at all. As part of our own efforts to celebrate Dr. King – the Guidefi Team wanted to offer an approach that allows us to honor him everyday single day.

Achieving economic and social justice in America continues to be a complex challenge for politicians, activists, and local citizens. The social activism led by Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1960s started with protests against racism, but also focused on the plight of the poor, unemployable, and unemployed. Unfortunately, near 60 years later, many of the problems Dr. King identified as focus areas still persist today. So what does it mean to continue the economic justice legacy work of Dr. King in 2020? And how might we, the young, able bodied and engaged parents of this country practice what is called, Every Day Economic Activism?

At Guidefi, we believe Economic Activism begins with you --everyday. It starts with taking full responsibility about how you spend your most important resources –time and money. It doesn’t matter if you have a little money or a lot—this is the time to be more conscious of every dollar you own and every minute you have on this earth. Both of these resources must be put to their highest and best use at all times. There is so much work to do and we all have a part to play in the quest for equity in all schools, healthcare systems, throughout the business community, and throughout the justice system. Here our list of strategies for Every Day Economic Activism.

1. Live within your means: As a parent or single person, you can put this strategy in practice today. No matter if you make $10,000 or $100,000 a year –spending more than you make is a very bad idea. It is just that simple. Learn to be responsible with your money. Buy a drink when you are out –but don’t buy the bar. Keep gift giving expenses to a minimum. There is nothing wrong with splurging, but splurge within reason. Develop a budget for yourself and stick to it. Need to know how to start budgeting? 

2. Buy and Invest Your Values: According to a 2014 Neilson report on the African American Consumer[1], the buying power of African-Americans is $1 trillion and expected to grow to $1.3 trillion in the next few years. The sheer magnitude of that number is powerful. And this economic spending power should not be taken lightly. Use it to your own advantage. Only support businesses and establishments whose values resonate with your own ideas, values, and principles. Business that don’t align with your personal priorities simply don’t deserve your time OR your money.  Any business that that does not respect you as a consumer, or creates an environment where you feel mistreated or uncomfortable should be boycotted indefinitely. Don’t spend your time arguing and talking about it –just simply take your business elsewhere. Voting with your feet (or boycotting) is one of the loudest and most effective protests of all. 

3. Maximize your earning power through career advancement and/or entrepreneurship: Benjamin Franklin once said “An investment in knowledge pays the most interest.” We could not agree with him more. Strive to understand the career path in your chosen field. Set ambitious goals and work toward progressive promotions. Committing to your personal career advancement helps to drive your earning power which in turn will help you build wealth for your family. Building wealth for your family ensures that you will be able to absorb financial shocks of life, save money for your childrens’ college funds, and adequately prepare for retirement. In addition to your full-time job, explore entrepreneurship in an area that you are passionate about. 

4. Become a life-long learner of financial and wealth literacy: We believe that all parents and individuals should strive for two things: gaining financial education: 1) Gaining the knowledge of financial products and attaining financial capability, and 2) gaining the ability to use math numeracy and critical thinking skills to make good decisions with the acquired financial knowledge. Arm yourself with unbiased information from reputable sources. Sign up for the Guidefi newsletter for helpful money principles, tips, and simple common sense money lessons for you and your family.

So what do our 4 strategies have to do with Dr. King ? Everything actually. Dr. King understood the importance of economic justice and the power that it affords. Dr. King’s last campaign before he died on January 15, 1968 was about fighting poverty and achieving economic justice for all people. It was called the Poor People’s Campaign. According to the King encyclopedia at Stanford, “King believed that African Americans and other minorities would never enter full citizenship until they had economic security. These steps will enable you to honor Dr. King’s legacy within your own family by ensuring your own economic stability and security now and for years to come.

 

[1] http://www.popai.com/Research%20Library/Nielsen%20Essence-2014-african-american-consumer-report-Sept-2014.pdf

Pivots, Praise and Lessons Learned from...

2020 was a year to remember. The Guidefi Team wanted to take a moment to celebrate the progress, the pivots, and accomplishments and share our most impactful lessons from this tumultuous year. In 2020, we were able to mark Guidefi’s first full year of operations and we are super excited about the progress we have made as an organization.

2020 Guidefi Highlights:

  • Seedspot Social Impact Accelerator Participant
  • Received first angel investment
  • Dooney Fund Grant Recipient
  • Press mentions in Forbes, DC Inno, Technical.ly
  • Fintech Equality Coalition Founding Member, Executive Steering Committee member

Memorable 2020 customer moments included helping a family of four recover financially from a COVID related job loss and supporting a widowed retiree as she sorted through her fund payout options to leave a financial legacy for her only son.

Despite the uncertainty of the global pandemic, and the racial unrest across the United States, our team was able to stay laser focused on its mission of closing the racial and gender wealth gap. We are proud of our progress to date and offer these four lessons which served as our North Star this year.

  • We learned to practice attitudes of gratitude. As a team, we have so much to be grateful for. We are grateful for the health and safety of our immediate families, the health care heroes in our families and around the country,and the countless other professionals working to eradicate the Coronavirus. Early in the pandemic, it became clear that the simple ability to get anything done amidst the ongoing chaos was a true blessing. Because of this, we set milestones and timelines for important deliverables, yet extended ourselves grace if those timelines could not be met. 
  • 2020 confirmed that time is our most precious resource. Despite being a financial services organization, which helps people manage their money and build wealth, 2020 confirmed for us that TIME is our most precious resource. As a result, we are walking into 2021 with an even greater sense of urgency and a more intentional focus on time prioritization. 
  • Health is wealth. Prioritizing our team’s mental, physical, and emotional health and wellness has been a key success factor this year. In order to do this we have integrated conversations about fitness and overall wellness into our staff meetings. Our Founder, Charlene Fadirepo re-discovered a love of running this year and Chief Engagement Officer Rachelle McCoy has been working on strength training and her overall wellness. We hope to continue our commitment to health and wellness into next year. 
  • Racial justice is a business imperative. Guidefi is a Black owned and Black woman led financial services organization that has been designed with racial justice at its core. In fact the historic inequities faced by communities of color across the wealth management industry has prompted the very need for our organization. The racial turmoil of 2020 encouraged corporations across the country —especially those within the financial services industry to learn, clarify and solidify their position on racial justice and align those positions with significant financial commitments. We celebrate this renewed sense of focus from Corporate America. We are proud to continue the fight for racial justice through economic empowerment in the work that we do every day. And as  founding members of the Fintech Equality Coalition, we are committed to using our voices and platform to drive wealth equity and financial inclusion for American families.

2020 took our team, through the fire, to the limit and to the wall. And through that fire, we learned that we are much stronger and more resilient than we could have imagined. Thank you to all of the mentors, friends, confidants, cheerleaders and for your continued support of Guidefi. 

Our best is yet to come.