Those one-on-one conversations can help when you face situations that are more complicated, such as a job loss or planning for how to draw funds for college tuition payments or retirement, said Frank Kolimago, head of Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, which had about $101 billion in assets under advisement as of December.
“The advisor can serve as an emotional circuit breaker to help coach you through a period where you’re feeling a little bit stressed,” Kolimago said.
Wealthfront, another online platform, does not work with human financial advisors saying that its clients, who are mostly in their 30s and 40s, do not want to talk to someone.
The company’s offerings eliminate the advisor as the middleman, and instead let the investor build plans based on their goals — and how they are related to each other — on their own.
“It’s just a very different consumer attitude,” Kate Wauck, head of communications at Wealthfront, said of the self-directed platform which oversees about $10 billion in client assets.
Keep in mind that you may need more guidance depending on the complexity of your personal financial situation.
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“Be honest with yourself about what you need,” Easterbrook said. “For high net worth planning needs, you probably need at least a hybrid.”