You might have heard the term “fiduciary” before. If you’re not familiar with it, fiduciary can be either a noun or an adjective. As a noun, a fiduciary is someone who has an ethical or legal trust-based relationship with one or more individuals or parties.

A fiduciary takes care of someone’s money or assets for them, or they advise them on what they should do with their wealth. You might hear the term “fiduciary financial advisor” sometimes, meaning someone who a client engages to talk to them about their financial options and how they should invest.

Let’s talk a bit more about fiduciary financial advisors. We’ll also discuss why it might be in your best interest to contact one.


Some fiduciary financial advisors form companies called RIAs. This stands for registered investment advisors. This is a group of objective fiduciaries who instruct clients on what they might want to do with their money, acting without any biases.

These firms can be large or small, but often, an individual who contacts one wants plenty of industry experience. Therefore, many would-be RIA clients need one that has been around for a while and has an excellent reputation. Larger firms offer longevity and security.

How Can You Tell Which Fiduciary Financial Advisor is Right for You?

If you feel like you’re at a point where you need financial advice, you might wonder about which RIA is right for you. You’re probably going to look at their reputation before anything else.

It’s similar to when you might shop for a plumber, an electrician, or a lawyer. You’re going to want a known commodity within the industry. Just like you probably don’t want someone who just passed the bar to defend you in a murder trial, you don’t want to trust your life savings to inexperienced fiduciary financial advisors.

However, size is not everything. You also want an entity that you feel can give you the personal touch. You’ll probably want to meet with one of these firms and get a sense of who they are and what kind of services they offer. Once you have done that, you should be able to better decide as to whether you should go with them or try someone different.

When Might You Need to Do This?

As for when in your life you might want to contact a registered investment advisor, there are several possible times that it would be appropriate. Many people feel like it’s not worth getting someone like this on your side until you can save at least 20% of your annual income. Some people don’t ever reach this point, while others don’t get there until they are well into adulthood.

You can definitely reach out to a financial advisor at any time. The reason you might not find that it’s worth it is if you don’t have very much to invest yet. These advisors charge you for their services, so if you barely have anything to put away, contacting one probably does not make sound financial sense.

Aside from the moment you can start putting away 20% of your gross revenue, you might also need a financial advisor if you want to start saving money for your retirement. Maybe you’re planning for a lavish wedding or a vacation. Perhaps you’re going to take your spouse on an anniversary trip to another country.

Maybe you are saving up to buy a brand-new vehicle. You might start putting money away to help your kids go to college when the time comes. The point is that there is seldom any one particular reason why you might need a fiduciary financial advisor.

What Else Should You Look for in an RIA?

What tools they can offer you is one other criterion you might use to select an RIA. You might contact someone who can help you not just with investing, but they can also assist you with tax prep. You might talk to one who knows about which kinds of insurance you need as well.

Most of them know about budgeting. They can talk to you about how much of your money you should put away with each paycheck and into what financial vehicles, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.

When you need an RIA, and you can find one that suits you, you might remain their client for years. They can certainly allow you to achieve your goals if you stay disciplined and focused.