Are you looking for a Maryland financial advisor? It can be hard to know where to start when you are searching for a financial planner. Entrusting someone with your finances is a big decision. Your financial planner should get to know you and your dreams, address your concerns, and help you in achieving your financial goals. With so many financial planners in Maryland, we have spent time narrowing down the list for you. We round up Maryland’s top financial advisory firms and their services, fees, and investment strategies.
How did we search for the best financial advisors in Maryland?
We started our search for the best financial advisors in Maryland in March 2023. All of the data that we used comes from each firm’s latest Form ADV filing available at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website. This helps to ensure the accuracy and reliability of our rankings.
We first narrowed down our search by only considering fee-only financial advisors who are required to act in your best interest. A fee-only financial planner offers transparent pricing and does not earn commissions. Unlike other financial advisors, a fee-only financial planner is not incentivized to sell you insurance or annuities that may not be good for you. Fee-only financial planners are fiduciaries, which means they have sworn a duty to serve their client’s interests.
We searched for fee-only financial advisors by looking at both the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and XY Planning Network. This criterion effectively filters out “financial advisors” who are not fiduciaries, like insurance or annuity agents. All of the firms listed are bound by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) the fiduciary duty.
Next, we filtered the search further by only considering Maryland fee-only financial planners that have a CFP® designation. The CFP® designation is the most well-recognized financial planning designation and requires extensive training and experience.
The other four criteria we used to find the best financial advisors in Maryland were:
- They have a website.
- They have at least one blog post in 2023. This indicates to us that they value educating the public and giving back to the Maryland community.
- They serve professionals in their 20s, 30s and 40s. This is a sign that they are willing to make financial planning accessible to everyone, not just retirees or the ultra-rich.
- They have at least 2 years of experience as a financial planner.
We added bonus points for fee-only Maryland financial planners who:
- Have another financial planner or associate as a team member. We believe that working in a team setting greatly enhances the collective knowledge and experience that a financial planning firm can give to a client.
- Have a CFA designation. Chartered Financial Analyst professionals have undergone intensive training specifically on investments.
- Have an AFC® or ChFC® designation. These two designations bring additional expertise. For example, an Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) is trained on money management behaviors and the emotional aspects of money.
- Are BIPOC-aware. Meaning they have minority representation in their team or in their marketing materials, or they explicitly state they work with BIPOCs. BIPOC stands for black, indigenous, and people of color.
We decided to exclude the amount of assets under management (AUM). We believe that the amount of assets a firm has nothing to do with the quality of their service.
We closely examined about 25 fee-only financial advisory firms in the Maryland area. While our ranking system is designed to help you compare top financial planning firms in Maryland and narrow down your search, it does not indicate which financial planning firm may be best for you.
Top Financial Advisors in Maryland - 2023
|Advisory Firm||Upfront Cost||Yearly Minimum||Yearly Maximum||Fee Structure|
|Planning For Progress||No upfront cost||$2,000||$15,000||Fixed Feesq|
Percentage of AUM
|Crest Wealth Advisors||$1,000 - $3,000||$2,400||$7,200||Fixed Fees|
Percentage of AUM
|Northbrook Financial||$200 - $2,000||$2,400||$60,000||Fixed Fees|
Percentage of AUM
|MainStreet Financial Planning, Inc.||One-third of the fee is required upfront||$3,400||$5,800||Fixed Fees|
|District Capital Management||No upfront cost||$3,540||$9,600||Fixed Fees|
Percentage of AUM
|ReFrame Financial Planning||No upfront cost||$4,800||$10,000||Fixed Fees|
|2050 Wealth Partners||No upfront cost||$5,500||$8,500||Fixed Fees|
Percentage of AUM
|Entelechy||No upfront cost||$6,000||$10,000||Fixed Fees|
Percentage of AUM
Who are the top 7 Maryland financial advisors for 2023?
Here are the results of the top 7 Maryland financial advisors. The MD financial advisors are listed in order of lowest to highest monthly minimums. We have included a blurb from their website and a brief note about their company/financial planners. This is not an exhaustive list of Maryland financial advisors and it reflects our personal opinion per our criteria above.
Financial planners all have different backgrounds, perspectives, and services that will suit different clients. You will be the best judge of who is the best financial advisor for you. Hopefully, our list can help you narrow down your list and point you in the right direction. Working with a financial planner you feel comfortable with and who you can work with to achieve your financial goals is important.
1) Planning For Progress – Silver Spring, MD
“Financial planning and advice you can trust. Navigating financial decisions can be a headache. You deserve objective financial guidance tailored to your specific goals, needs, and values. “
Ethan, the founder of Planning For Progress, runs the company as a one-man operation. He works primarily with public service professionals, couples planning for the future, and progressives with inherited wealth.
2) Crest Wealth Advisors – Annapolis, MD
“Crest Wealth Advisors is an independent, fiduciary, fee-only wealth management firm. We do not sell financial products or receive commissions, eliminating many conflicts of interest. We are devoted to helping you get the most out of your money, aligning your decisions with your life’s goals. “
Crest Wealth Advisors is a one-man operation run by the founder, Jason Dall’Acqua. He works with mainly individuals and families in the mid-to-late stages of their careers.
3) Northbrook Financial – Baltimore, MD
“ We want you to live your dream life, and we’ll help you use your money to reach your goals. Our clients and their families have reached the next stage of their life where things have gotten more complicated. They have busy lives and want to make sure during their prime earning years, they are focusing on what matters now, as well as planning for their future. Markets go up and down, careers change, college needs funding, and unforeseen life events occur; now is the time to maximize your money’s potential. At this critical point, time is your most valuable asset. The earlier you start planning the more powerful your outcome will be.”
Northbrook Financial is a newer company and they have only been around for two years. They also have a big focus on tax planning.
4) MainStreet Financial Planning – Odenton, MD
“MainStreet Financial Planning, Inc., is a national fee-only, project-based, financial planning firm. There is no minimum of assets or income required to work with our financial planners, as we don’t manage investment accounts or sell financial products. Our entire focus is to help our clients build a path to Financial Independence.”
MainStreet Financial Planning has a diverse set of clients and a growing team of financial advisors. Their financial planning fees are slightly lower than some of the other financial advisors but they only meet with their clients twice per year.
5) ReFrame Financial Planning – Howard County, MD
“ReFrame Financial Planning helps shift the mindset around wealth and retirement. I work with individuals and couples to envision and design their lives to better align with their passions and values. As a fee-only, flat-fee financial planner, my interest sits squarely with you.”
Mary Thompson, CFP® has been in the financial planning industry for 14+ years.
6) 2050 Wealth Partners – Lanham, MD
“Our team provides ongoing wealth management and comprehensive financial planning services. We help our clients build, grow, and protect wealth with upfront planning, ongoing support, and accountability. We work with our clients 100% virtually.”
2050 Wealth Partners work with clients 100% virtually. Rianka R. Dorsainvil, CFP® of Your Greatest Contribution teamed up with Lazetta Rainey Braxton, MBA, CFP® of Financial Fountains to create what the firm is today.
7) Entelechy – Bethesda, MD
“Entelechy is a flat fee-only financial life planning & investment management company. Our mission is to help people use money as a tool to realize life goals and reach their full potential. We call this integration of financial planning, investment management, and tax planning & preparation Financial Life Management, and charge one flat annual fee for this service that isn’t arbitrarily tied to the value of your investment portfolio or net worth.”
Ben Brown, CFP®, EA is the firm’s founder. In case you’re curious (I was), Entelechy describes the inner strength directing life and growth to become all one is capable of being.
How is District Capital different from other financial advisors in Maryland?
Like the eight best financial advisors in MD that made it into our list, District Capital is also a fiduciary and has CFP®, AFC®, and ChFC® professionals on our team. Our primary focus is serving professionals and entrepreneurs in their 30s and 40s. We have been in business since 2013 and we have worked with many clients in Maryland.
The three traits that make District Capital unique are:
1) Strong investment team. We have 2 CFA charterholders in our team and have a background in managing multi-billion dollar institutional funds. Our clients receive top-notch investment advice.
2) Modern Plan. We deliver our comprehensive 30+ detailed recommendations via a modern platform that is easy to use and available all the time.
3) 30s & 40s Niche. We’ve worked with over 300 professionals in their 30s & 40s in the tech, consulting, government, non-profit, and small business owner world. We’ve encountered almost every personal finance issue that they have faced.
How does our Maryland financial advisor ranking differ from others?
There are 3 popular best financial advisor lists in Maryland.
SmartAsset produces a top financial advisor in Maryland list. This list greatly emphasizes the amount of assets under the firm’s management (AUM). We do not believe that a firm’s AUM is a good indicator of the quality of a financial advisor. Their list also only selects advisors that are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This leaves out scores of other Maryland-based registered investment advisors that are registered not with the SEC but with Maryland.
MagnifyMoney.com has a list of the top 8 best financial advisors in Maryland. This list also places a large emphasis on the amount of assets under the firm’s management (AUM). We also noticed a lack of diversity among the financial advisors.
Lastly, Investor.com has a list of the Top 100 Financial Advisor Firms in Maryland for 2023. This list is not very detailed and only includes financial advisory firms with a physical location in Maryland. Even though it’s important to have extensive knowledge of the state where you work, many financial advisors now work remotely. It also includes non-fiduciary financial advisers (those who do not have to act in the client’s best interest).
How much does a financial planner in Maryland charge?
Financial advisors’ fees in Maryland vary greatly depending on a number of factors, such as their level of experience, the scope of the services they provide, and the complexity of your financial situation. There are three main ways in which financial planners charge:
- Fee-only: This is when financial advisors charge a flat monthly, quarterly, or hourly rate for their services. Their fees are transparent and there are no hidden costs. They don’t earn commissions on any investments or products that they recommend. They also act as a fiduciary, prioritizing your interests above their own.
- Commission-based: These financial planners do earn commissions on products and investments that they recommend.
- Fee-based: These financial advisors charge a combination of fees and commissions for their services.
Based on our research, the cost of a fee-only financial advisor in Maryland ranges from $2,000 – $60,000 per year. The lower end of the range usually requires an upfront fee of $1,000 to $3,000. The median lowest price is about $3,400, and the median highest price is about $9,600. Fees are usually billed quarterly or monthly.
Financial planning is a highly fragmented industry, so we expected to see a wide variation in fees. It’s important to discuss the fees and services provided by a financial advisor before hiring them to ensure that they are a good fit for your needs and budget.
To save you time and energy, here is the fee schedule of the 10 best financial planners in Maryland according to our list, including how District Capital stacks up. We also included the ten factors we used in developing the list.
Is it worth paying for a financial advisor in MD?
A study published in the Journal of Financial Planning showed that those who had a comprehensive financial plan built significantly more wealth than those with no plan. One other study showed that advisors can potentially add about 3% in net returns each year, on average. Financial planning advice can be very valuable. We put together a document that quantifies the value of financial planning advice.
Financial advisors can help you make informed decisions about your investments, manage your money, and plan for the future. Additionally, they can provide insight into complex financial topics which will help save you time and money.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all financial advisors are the same. Some financial advisors may charge high fees, or have conflicts of interest. Our top Maryland financial advisors list is a great starting point. As fee-only fiduciary financial advisors, they should have your best interests at heart. However, make sure that you do your own research and choose a financial advisor who is right for you.
Can you see a financial advisor for free in MD?
Sometimes, yes. We offer pro-bono financial planning for Maryland individuals who earn less than $56,000 per year or families who earn less than $75,000 per year.
How do I find a good local financial advisor in Maryland?
Here are some steps to follow when you want to find a good local financial advisor in Maryland.
1. Determine your financial needs: The first step is to identify your financial goals and the type of advice you need. Consider if you need help with retirement planning, tax planning, investment advice, general financial planning or a combination of everything.
2. Search for financial advisors: Here are some organizations that we recommend to help you find a fee-only fiduciary financial planner in Maryland.
- National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA): a non-profit association of fee-only financial planners.
- XY Planning Network: a newer organization of fee-only financial advisors who generally work with Generation X and Generation Y clients.
- CFP Board: is the entity that administers the CFP® designation. However, not all CFP® professionals are fee-only financial advisors so make sure to ask.
- Fee-Only Network: all of the financial advisors listed here are fee-only and are fiduciaries, meaning that they act in your best interest.
3. Check credentials: Once you have a list of potential financial advisors, make sure that you check their credentials. You want to make sure that they have a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) certification. Also, check that the financial advisor is registered with the state or Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
4. Conduct interviews: Once you have chosen a couple of potential financial advisors in Maryland, then you can schedule consultations to get to know them better. Ask if they have worked with anyone in a similar position to yourself, their credentials, their investment philosophy, fees, and any other questions that you may have. We have also compiled a list of 10 important questions to ask a financial advisor which you may find helpful.
5. Make a decision: After the interviews, then you can evaluate each financial advisor and then choose one that you think can help you achieve your financial goals, as well as someone that you feel comfortable working with.
6. Review and monitor: After hiring a financial advisor, it’s important to regularly review and monitor your financial plan. It is a living breathing document. It should be changed according to your financial goals, market conditions, and any life changes.
Finding the right financial planner takes time. It’s important that you find someone who works with people similar to you. If they are, then there is a good chance that they will be a good fit for you.
What are the most important questions to ask a financial planner in Maryland?
Once you have found two or three financial advisors that resonate with you, set up a discovery call with them. A discovery call is usually free. During this call, you may want to ask various questions, including the below:
1) Are you a fiduciary? Look for a fiduciary financial planner as he or she will have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest.
2) How do you get paid? Look for financial planners with transparent pricing and who doesn’t take commissions.
3) What are your credentials & experience with my demographic? Look for financial planners with either a CFP®, AFC®, or ChFC® designation
4) Is it a good fit? Ask about their typical client demographic and whether they have worked with someone similar to yourself. See if the financial planner asks you relevant questions and shows a genuine interest in getting to know you, your concerns, and your goals. Make sure that you feel comfortable working with this person as you will be sharing personal information with this planner.
We also put together a guide to help understand the 10 key questions to ask prospective financial advisors so that you know that they have your best interests at heart. We hope that you find these questions helpful.
Work with District Capital for your personal financial planning needs in Maryland
Are you ready to work towards your financial goals in 2023? District Capital is one of the fastest-growing fee-only financial planning firms in Maryland. We’re different from other Maryland financial advisors due to our strong investment team, modern comprehensive financial planning platform, and our 30s and 40s niche. Schedule a free discovery call with one of our fee-only financial planners.
Alvin Carlos, CFP®, CFA is an investment advisor and fee-only financial planner, in Washington, D.C that works with clients across the country. He has a Master’s degree in International Relations from SAIS-Johns Hopkins. Alvin is a partner of District Capital, a financial planning firm designed to help professionals in their 30s and 40s achieve their financial goals through smart investing, reducing taxes, retirement planning, and maximizing their money. Schedule a free discovery call to learn how we can help elevate your finances.