Wealth manager vs financial advisor: what is the difference?

1 min readLast updated January 31, 2024by Unbiased team

Discover the key differences between wealth managers and financial advisors to determine which one is best suited to your financial situation.

What is a financial advisor? 

In the US, there are about 330,000 Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) and Broker-Dealer (BD) advisors – but not all of them specialize in wealth management.  

There are differences between wealth managers and financial advisors, and understanding them can ensure you get the correct service, advice, and guidance.  

Financial advisors are experts who offer a broad range of financial services to their client base. These could include tax management, estate planning, retirement planning, investing, and insurance.  

Many financial advisors intentionally offer a variety of financial services in order to meet the needs of many different types of clients. However, some may specialize in one or two areas.  

All must be certified financial professionals who are qualified to give advice in their chosen field.  

What is a wealth manager? 

A wealth manager is a type of financial advisor who centers their services around wealth development, maintenance, protection, and long-term growth.  

This subset of the financial advisor occupation focuses on wealth and monetary growth rather than general advice.  

Wealth managers are the type of professionals you would seek out if you need assistance with managing an inheritance, making a big investment, or otherwise handling significant amounts of money with the safest, most sustainable, and most secure strategy possible.  

What is the difference between a wealth manager and a financial advisor? 

The difference between a wealth manager and a financial advisor is relatively simple if you think of it like this: 

A financial advisor may also be a wealth manager, but a wealth manager is not necessarily a financial manager.  

The main difference between a wealth manager and a financial advisor is that a financial advisor offers a broad spectrum of financial services, while a wealth manager, as the name indicates, specializes in wealth.  

If you are looking for general financial advice related to more day-to-day financial matters such as taxes, retirement, or insurance, you would likely benefit more from hiring a financial advisor.  

If you are looking specifically to expand your wealth, a wealth manager is more likely to provide the support you need in managing your portfolio and increasing your net worth.  

Do I need a wealth manager or financial advisor? 

If you’re still not sure whether a wealth manager or financial advisor is right for your situation, consider the following scenarios:  

  • You need help with debt repayment, taxes, retirement planning, or a personalized financial plan for funding education or a small business: You probably need a financial advisor. 

  • You have recently come into some money or will do so soon and would like to invest, grow, and secure it in a specialized savings account: You probably need a wealth manager. 

Knowing which option to choose, a wealth manager vs. a financial advisor is important. Your financial affairs should be handled with the utmost professionalism, and selecting the right expert for the job will mean a safer, more predictable, and ideally more lucrative outcome for you.  

Where can I find expert financial advice? 

Wealth managers and financial advisors may have similar qualifications, but their areas of specialization are distinct from one another.  

Financial advisors offer clients an extensive range of financial services, whereas wealth managers focus more exclusively on growing and maintaining wealth.  

You can find expert financial advice at Unbiased, where getting matched with a wealth manager or financial advisor is an easy and simple process.  

Let us match you with the SEC-regulated financial professionals who suit your needs. 

 

Writers

Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.