Many companies send me press releases and e-mail trying to get my attention. Some of these companies suck. Others are fine, but I don't have the time to look at them. Every once in a while, though, I find what seems like a true gem, something I think would be of real use for Get Rich Slowly readers.
Last week, I spent an hour chatting with the folks from MyFinancialAdvice.com. Based on what I've seen and heard, I think this is one of those true gems, a service that many of you may want to consider.
How does it work?
MyFinancialAdvice.com is designed to connect clients with financial advisors. “The point of this service is that this is for the average person,” CEO Ron Peremel told me during a call last week. He spent 30 minutes showing me how the site works.
To begin, you can select from a variety of fixed questions in six categories:
- Financial Planning, where you can ask questions like “How do I manage my household budget?” and “How can I survive a financial crisis?”
- Investing, where you can ask questions like “Is real estate a smart investment?” and “Which stocks are right for me?”
- Taxes, where you can ask questions like “How do I reduce my taxes?” and “Which tax forms do I need to complete?”
- Mortgage and Debt, where you can ask questions like “What does my credit score mean?” and “How can I use home equity to reduce debt?”
- Insurance, where you can ask questions like “Do I have enough life insurance?” and “How can I reduce out-of-pocket medical expenses?”
- Employee benefits, where you can ask questions like “Am I in the right company health plan?” and “Should I roll over my company retirement plan into an IRA?”
Once you've selected a question and entered your state of residence, you're shown a list of advisors who have offered to address that specific problem. For example, if I say I'm in Oregon and want help managing my household budget, I get a menu that looks like this:
From here, you can see a list of advisors, a summary of the services they offer, their ratings from other users, and their fee level. For example, here you can see that Mr. Wesling is expensive and is rated 6.2 (our of 10). Mr. Gardner is less expensive and has a 10.0 rating. You can click on the rating score to see the number of times has been rated (and a few more details).
Not all advisors have ratings yet (and those that do may only be rated by a handful of clients), but each advisor has been vetted by MyFinancialAdvice.com. According to the representatives I spoke with, “Details on every advisor's profile page have been confirmed to be accurate; their proper licensing has been verified. All advisors are held to an enforced Code of Ethics. They sell nothing but their advice, just as you request it. The advisors are all independent professionals with small office practices all over America.”
How much does this cost?
Your initial consultation with an advisor is free. If you decide do engage someone, you can either pay a flat fee to get advice for pre-packaged questions (like those I listed above), or you can pay an hourly rate for more detailed advice. The fee column of the advisor menu gives you a rough idea of the hourly costs:
- $ = $0 – $125
- $$ = $126 – $150
- $$$ = $151 – $179
- $$$$ = $180 – $400
To re-iterate: These rates apply only if you ask for detailed personal advice (and you don't pay until you accept the advisor's proposal). If you're asking a pre-packaged question, you just pay a flat fee.
You can even request a Free Financial Health Checkup by pushing the button on the home page and selecting an advisor from those listed who offer this service.
Why would you use MyFinancialAdvice.com?
As many GRS readers have learned, financial advisors generally aren't interested in dealing with you unless you have around half a million dollars to invest. It's just not cost-effective for them to take on smaller clients.
MyFinancialAdvice.com attempts to bridge the gap, to make it possible for folks like you and me to get the same sort of financial advice in a way that makes financial sense to all parties.
If you do decide to use the service, be smart. Remember that nobody cares more about your money than you do. Be careful when you pick an advisor; ask questions to be sure their financial philosophy matches your own. (If you're an index-fund investor, you'll probably want to work with somebody that shares your views, for example.)
I'm curious to hear people's experiences with MyFinancialAdvice.com. If you've used it before, what did you think? If you end up giving it a try, be sure to come back and let us know how it went.
Note: I don't have a financial relationship with MyFinancialAdvice.com, and neither does Get Rich Slowly. I'm not being paid to write this — I just really think it looks neat. However, GRS may pursue a financial relationship with MFA in the future.