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Finding the Best Financial Advisor in Erie, PA: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: May 23

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Introduction


Let's face it, managing your finances can be a daunting task. Whether you’re planning for retirement, saving for your child’s education, or looking to optimize your investments, having a trusted financial advisor can make a significant difference.


So how do you go about finding a qualified financial professional you can trust to help you ensure your financial plan is optimized to exceed your financial goals?


Unfortunately, the process isn't that easy, as there are more than 15,645 wealth advisors to choose from in the state of Pennsylvania and over 220 in Erie, Pennsylvania.


So if you need help finding a financial advisor in Erie, Pennsylvania, this guide is for you.


Key Takeaways


  • The best financial advisors all have the fiduciary obligation to act in the best interests of their clients 100% of the time.

  • It is important to interview up to three advisors to ensure their services are aligned to help you achieve your long term goals.

  • One-Up Financial is different from most financial advisors and specializes in helping people reduce taxes and optimize their investment income in retirement.

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Finding a Financial Advisor in Erie, PA


With the sheer volume of wealth advisors in Erie, PA and the confusing terminology we all use to distinguish ourselves from the rest, finding an advisor specializing in the precise areas you need help with can be challenging.


While I'd love the opportunity to serve everyone, the reality is that we may not always be a perfect fit.


For example, a tech executive may need help navigating stock options and managing debt, while a real estate investor might want to offload some rental properties and execute a 1031 exchange.


Each of those financial planning scenarios is very specific and requires tailored financial services from a qualified wealth management firm experienced in these areas.


One-Up Financial specializes in helping diligent savers nearing or in retirement save money on taxes and optimize their retirement income. As a fiduciary financial advisor, I'm obligated, by law, to recommend other financial advisors to consider should One-Up Financial lack the specific expertise required to deliver exceptional client service.


Think about it: You wouldn't go to a dentist for knee replacement surgery!


While it may not be easy to find the right financial advisor for you, here are some characteristics all of the best Erie PA financial advisors have in common.


What Do the Top Financial Advisors All Have in Common?


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While years of experience and assets under management are important, these three characteristics matter the most and are found in all of the top financial advisors in Erie, PA.


  1. They adhere to the Fiduciary Duty AT ALL TIMES! A large percentage of advisors only act as a fiduciary some of the time.

  2. They are a Certified Financial Planner, or CFP® Professional. Earning a CFP certification is a grueling process that only 30% of financial advisors can successfully withstand.

  3. They offer comprehensive financial services beyond investment advice. The best advisors in Erie go the extra mile in creating financial plans and building personalized strategies unique to each investor.

What Financial Advising Services Are Commonly Offered?


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Generally speaking, the top wealth management firms offer comprehensive financial

planning services, including:


Investment Management Services 

Developing investment strategies to optimize returns while minimizing risk.

Tax Planning Services

Helping you save money on taxes in the future.

Estate Planning Services

Reviewing and assisting with the preparation of wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents.

Financial Planning Services

Creating a roadmap for your retirement that ensures your money will last and goals will be achieved.

Insurance Planning Services

Ongoing oversight of your insurance policies and recommendations for enhancing risk management and reducing premium costs,


Now that you understand what to look for, here is a list of the best Erie, PA financial advisors for you to consider.


Please note that this is not a recommendation nor an endorsement but rather my unbiased opinion.


The 5 Best Erie PA Financial Advisors to Consider in 2024


  • Bishop & Company Investment Management, LLC - Erie, PA Mike Bishop is a Chartered Financial Analyst and his company offers a variety of financial advisory services to help his clients grow and protect their wealth. He creates portfolios to assist them in achieving their long-term plans and preparing for retirement.

  • Wedgewood Investors, Inc. - Erie, PA Wedgewood Investors has been around since the mid-80s and tailors their investment management services to each of their clients using distinct proprietary buy and sell criteria while advising on their overall financial plan.

  • Brookhouse Advisors - Erie, PA and Meadville, PA Owner Matthew Stearns has a passion (and unique skillset) to help his clients live purpose-driven lives. His focus is on financial planning around "thoughtful accumulation and generous giving to help you live your best life for the kingdom of God."

  • Robbins Wealth Management RWM has 50 years of combined experience in the financial industry and offers both non-discretionary and discretionary investment management services to clients, consisting of individuals and trusts.

  • Marsden Capital Management - Erie, PA John Marsden Jr. has provided advisory services since 1991 and, like Bishop, holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation. MCM offers portfolio management services to their clients based on their individual goals, objectives, time horizon, and risk tolerance.

How is One-Up Financial Different From Other Advisors?


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It really comes down to three things:

  1. As a licensed Certified Public Accountant, One-Up Financial has the unique ability to provide tax services to our clients, resulting in lower taxes in retirement.

  2. We specialize in helping small business owners, sales executives, and retirees create reliable, tax-efficient streams of income in retirement.

  3. We're educators and work diligently to create informative blogs, articles and videos so that our clients are always well-informed about what matters most to their financial lives.

Free Resources For Finding a Financial Advisor Near You


If you're unsure where to start in your search for a financial advisor near you, here are some great resources to consider:


Once you narrow your search down to a few potential candidates, here are the steps you'll want to take when doing your due diligence


Steps to Finding the Best Financial Advisor in Erie, PA


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Finding the right financial advisor requires careful consideration and research. Here are the steps to ensure you select the best advisor for your needs:


1. Assess Your Financial Needs

The first step is to clearly define your financial goals and needs. Are you looking for comprehensive financial planning, investment management, or specific advice on retirement planning?


Understanding your needs will help you narrow down the type of registered investment

advisor you require. Additionally, understanding your needs will help you identify the specific

financial services you require, such as tax planning, stock options, or investment real estate.

2. Check Credentials and Experience

Ensure that the financial professionals you’re considering have the necessary credentials and experience. Key in on certifications such as CFP® and CFA. Additionally, look for other specific licenses and designations specific to services you're requiring, i.e. CPA for tax services.


Lastly, verify their licenses and check for any disciplinary actions through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website.

3. Evaluate Their Fee Structure

Financial advisors may charge fees in various ways, including:

  • Fee-Only: Advisors charge a flat fee, hourly rate, or a percentage of assets under management. They do not earn commissions from products they recommend.

  • Commission-Based: Advisors earn commissions on the products they sell, i.e. insurance products, which can sometimes lead to conflicts of interest.

  • Fee-Based: A combination of fees and commissions.

When assessing the fee structure that aligns with your best interests, you'll want to avoid any conflicts of interest and focus on a fee-only structure.


4. Schedule Consultations

The next step is to schedule consultations to meet the financial professionals in person or virtually.


👉 One-Up Financial offers free in-person or virtual introductory consultations which you can schedule here.


5. Assess Compatibility

It's crucial to find a registered investment advisor you feel comfortable with and trust. Assess their communication style, willingness to answer questions, and how well they listen to your concerns. Trust your instincts; if something feels off, it may be best to continue your search.


Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor


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To ensure you select the right advisor, here are some critical questions to ask:


What is your fiduciary status, and are you a fiduciary 100% of the time? Ensures the advisor is legally obligated to act in your best interest.

What is your investment philosophy? Helps you understand their approach to managing investments.

How do you get paid? Clarifies their fee structure and potential conflicts of interest.

What experience do you have with clients in similar situations? Determines if the advisor has relevant experience to meet your needs.

How will our relationship work? Sets expectations for communication and ongoing support.

How are you different from other financial professionals? What makes this advisory uniquely positioned to deliver massive value to you and your family?

Red Flags to Watch Out For

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It’s essential to be aware of potential red flags:

  1. Lack of Credentials: Advisors without recognized certifications may lack the necessary expertise.

  2. High-Pressure Sales Tactics: Be wary of advisors who push specific products or investments aggressively.

  3. Opaque Fee Structure: Avoid advisors who are not transparent about their fees and potential conflicts of interest.

  4. Limited Communication: Advisors who are difficult to reach or unresponsive may not provide the support you need.

  5. Client Complaints and Broker Disclosures: If there are any public disclosures or client complaints listed on their BrokerCheck, this could be a big red flag.

Conclusion

Finding the best fiduciary financial advisor in Erie, PA, ranks up there as one of the most important decisions you'll make in your lifetime and requires careful research and consideration.

Remember, a good financial advisor is not just a service provider but a trusted partner in your financial journey. Take your time, ask the right questions, and choose a professional who aligns with your values and goals.

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