Between the natural beauty of the Cascades and the presence of major companies such as Microsoft and Amazon, it’s easy to see why Washington is a great place to call home. Washington also has a vibrant entrepreneurial community that has helped make it one of the most productive states in the country.
All of this means that there are plenty of reasons to want to stay in Washington for the rest of your life. However, to make sure you can continue to enjoy your success, you need a plan, which means you need a financial advisor.
To help you sift through the hundreds of firms across the state of Washington, we’ve put together this list of the five best financial advisors in Washington using our rigorous standards. Here are our choices as well as a short description of each:
1) Brighton Jones
With $4.96 billion in assets under management, Brighton Jones is the largest firm in both its home city of Seattle and also the entire state of Washington. It also has a large staff of highly-qualified advisors who specialize in tax and estate planning but who will also do wealth planning as needed, particularly for those who are looking to put together a retirement plan.
In general, Brighton Jones takes a collaborative approach to investing. This means they will work closely with you to determine your goals and create a plan that is specific to those goals. But it also means you will always be included in any decisions made about your portfolio, making this a great firm for those who want to take a more hands-on approach with their wealth. However, your advisor will put risk management and diversification at the forefront.
There is no account minimum at Brighton Jones, but there is a minimum annual fee of $6,000, which means this firm is best suited to serve high-net-worth individuals.
In addition, you can expect the following from Brighton Jones:
- Exceptional customer service, the type you would expect from an exclusive firm.
- Highly-specialized advising. For example, Brighton Jones has advisors who will help you with vocational freedom planning and strategic philanthropy.
- A focus on giving back to the local Seattle community.
2) Pacific Portfolio
Seattle-based Pacific Portfolio, while not as large as Brighton Jones, is still a massive firm. It currently has $3.6 billion in assets under management. Part of the reason the firm has grown so big is that its advisors specialize in building strong relationships. For them, trust is of the utmost importance when dealing with your financial future.
When it comes to investing, Pacific Portfolio advisors use a highly-quantitative approach. The firm has systems in place to collect data relevant to the market as well as the minds needed to dissect that data and find the best path forward. This type of approach makes it much easier to grow your portfolio in a low-risk environment.
However, Pacific Portfolio is a rather exclusive firm. Currently, it requires you to have $500,000 in investible assets to open an account. But if you have these funds, it’s one of the best choices out there.
Here are some other things you can expect:
- Institutional consulting should you want to share the massive responsibility that comes from managing a large fund.
- Data, data, and more data, as well as clear explanations of what it means, so that you can understand why your advisor is making one recommendation over another.
- Generational wealth planning services as needed.
3) Merriam Wealth Management3
Founded in 1983, Merriam Wealth Management, also based out of Seattle, currently has $2.35 billion in assets under management, making it both one of the largest and oldest firms in the state. It is part of Focus Financial Partners (a larger partnership of independent firms), which provides it with a wide range of additional products and services.
If you become a client at Merriam Wealth Management, expect your advisor to take a very rational approach to your portfolio. The firm seeks to remove emotion from investing by making all decisions based on facts and hard evidence. This also means embracing risk management and a long-term approach. However, your advisor will spend considerable time working with you to determine your goals so that your plan is closely aligned with where you want to go.
Opening an account with Merriam Wealth Management requires an initial investment of $250,000, which means this firm does not only work with high-net-worth individuals, but it does prefer clients who are further along in the wealth accumulation process.
Other things you can expect include:
- Accounting support to make sure your entire financial life is in order.
- Advisors who are used to working with families and the complex financial problems they can create.
- One of the most experienced staffs in the entire state.
4) Quantum Financial Planning Services, Inc.
Leaving Seattle for a moment, Quantum Financial Planning Services is our top choice from Spokane. It currently has $320 million in assets under management, which makes it considerably smaller than the other options we’ve discussed.
It has no minimum account balance, meaning it is also much more accessible than our top options. However, if your balance falls below $300,000, you will be assessed a fee of $2,400.
Quantum is mainly focused on financial planning, which means it is more concerned with helping you achieve your goals. As a result, the exact approach they take with you will vary depending on your situation. Furthermore, the advice you receive will likely change, as your advisor will meet with you regularly to help you adjust your goal and your strategy so that you continue to meet your goals.
Because of this, Quantum is a great option for those who are starting to think about retirement. But they also have specialized services for younger people who are looking to get ahead in the financial game.
In addition to these things, you can also expect the following from Quantum Financial Planning:
- A client-advisor relationship that feels more like a partnership or friendship.
- Resources to help you understand the world of finance and take greater control over your financial plan
- The use of Modern Portfolio Theory for asset allocation. This approach simply encourages your advisor to seek maximum returns based on a given level of risk, which you will identify by speaking with your advisor.
5) Sound View Advisors
Although it’s the smallest firm on this list – it currently has $209 million in assets under management – Sound View Advisors made this list because it is the best option in the state’s capital, Olympia.
Sound View Advisors believes in taking a holistic approach to financial planning and wealth management. This means your portfolio will be diversified not only based on level of risk but also on asset type. For example, you can expect your advisor to suggest a combination of mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, bonds, securities, and insurance, among others, based on your risk tolerance and liquidity needs.
At the moment, Sound View Advisors has no minimum account requirement or minimum fee. Other things you can expect include:
- A focus on maximum efficiency, which means your financial plan will be constructed taking taxes and fees into account so as to boost overall returns.
- A disciplined approach to financial planning and investment that reduces the role of emotion and increases the chance of success.
- A broader understanding of how your finances fit into your overall life, something that will make it much easier for your advisor to design a financial plan that’s right for you.
Washington state is not only full of successful individuals such as yourself, but it is also full of financial advisors looking to help you make that success last. However, so many choices can make this decision stressful and overwhelming. We’re confident these five firms will help you, but we also encourage you to do more research. Meet with someone from each firm and check out our city-specific lists. Only by taking your time and weighing all your options will you find an advisor that’s right for you. But when you do, we wish you nothing but success and prosperity in the years to come.