Financial Professionals: Wealth Manager vs Financial Advisor

Managing your finances can be a daunting task, which is why many individuals instead opt to enlist the help of a knowledgeable financial professional. An experienced financial advisor can also help you realize, prioritize, and attain your financial goals, whether it be to minimize your tax burden, invest in profitable opportunities, optimize charitable contributions, or accomplish lifestyle goals such as early retirement. You need someone who intimately understands where you want to go, and has the expertise to get you there. Matching with the right professional is key.

With so many titles in the financial marketplace, it can be difficult to determine which may be most helpful for you. How does a financial advisor differ from a wealth advisor, for example? As you begin your search for the perfect financial partner, the advisors at our Charleston wealth management firm are here to help you understand the difference between a financial advisor and a wealth manager so that you can make the best decisions for your financial situation, needs, and goals.

Wealth Advisors vs. Financial Advisors

“Financial advisor” is a broad term that refers to any professional who provides financial services. Different advisors may offer a variety of services and expertise. Some may work with a specific type of clientele, have a specialized certification or education, while others may focus on working with clients pursuing a particular financial goal. A few titles that fall under the label financial advisor may include, yet are not limited to, investment advisors, brokers, financial coaches, and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals.

A wealth manager, also called a wealth advisor, is yet another title that falls under the financial advising umbrella. As with other financial advisors, wealth managers can help their clients identify their life goals and objectives and layout a financial path to achieve them. Whereas financial planners, for example, typically serve clients with varying financial needs and situations, wealth managers are more well versed with financially complex clients. Wealth management is a full-suite endeavor, blending investment advice with charitable giving strategies, business succession, advanced tax management, and multigenerational legacy planning (or legacy living, as we like to define it).

Wealth managers are very hands-on with the portfolios they manage, analyzing the full financial picture. Whereas an accountant may zero in on tax planning, a wealth manager would look at this in conjunction with other services, like investment advising. Wealth management professionals provide the advantage of all-inclusive financial planning, with the end goal of growing and preserving wealth over the long term. They can also serve as a central point of contact for a client, coordinating with other financial professionals such as attorneys, accountants, or insurance agents.

Is a Wealth Manager Right For Me?

Clients with a high net worth often require a manager who can organize and coordinate their assets in a way that fully realizes their financial potential. Wealth advisors are distinguished by their expertise in high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals. While different managers may have different minimum requirements for their advisory services, high-net-worth individuals are defined on the ADV form as qualified clients or purchasers with at least 1 million under management or a net worth of $2.1 million or more. This could apply to one individual, together, with assets held jointly with a spouse, or is a qualified purchase as defined in section 2(a)(51)(A) at the time of contract. The Charleston wealth advisors at Morris Financial Concepts typically provide their wealth management services for those who have more than $800,000 dollars in investable assets.

Our holistic CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals and investment advisors, respectively, can also be great alternatives for those who don’t necessarily need comprehensive management of significant assets. A financial advisor can provide more specialized services like retirement planning, tax preparation, or legacy planning. Though the kind of financial advisor you need depends on your situation, a wealth manager may be beneficial to you if you would like comprehensive management of a financially complex situation. Ultimately, it comes down to what purpose you would like your financial advisor to serve.

Next Steps in Choosing a Wealth Advisor

In your search for a wealth manager, look for one that has the experience needed to properly manage your finances and, most importantly, to treat your assets as if it was their own. Make sure to review your wealth manager’s fees to understand how much it will cost you, in addition to inquiring about their commission structure. Do they sell any financial packages for a commission or are they fee-only, operating under the fiduciary standard? The right wealth manager will take the time to intimately understand your hopes and goals, and should demonstrate the expertise and qualifications necessary to accomplish them.

Ask about their usual clientele and check their certifications and qualifications. Another good resource to review is the firm’s Form ADV, the required form if they are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This form provides detailed information about their usual clientele base, any past disciplinary indiscretions, the financial services they offer, and more.
Advisers who have retail clients, such as MFC, will also have a Client Relationship Summary that highlights the firm’s services and fees and is typically in an easy-to-read, 2-page format. Visualize yourself partnering with this professional long-term as you design the best possible future for yourself and your family. Examine each of these characteristics until you have found the right match for you!

If you’re looking for a Charleston wealth management firm, Morris Financial Concepts is here to help you. The professionals at Morris Financial Concepts have proudly served our community locally and globally for more than thirty years. Located in Mount Pleasant, SC, our team of financial planners, investment advisors, and tax professionals help clients around the world realize, prioritize, and achieve their unique financial goals.

Take the next step with your finances – contact us today or fill out our confidential questionnaire to set up a complimentary goal discovery consultation with one of our Charleston wealth advisors. We are looking forward to getting to know you and discovering ways to help you live your best life!

Learn more about financial advisors in our blog, Is a Fee-Only Financial Planner Right For Me?
Learn more about wealth management in our blog, Do I Need a Wealth Manager?

The opinions expressed herein are those of Morris Financial Concepts, Inc. (“MFC”) and are subject to change without notice. This material is for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. MFC relies on information from various sources believed to be reliable, including third parties, but cannot guarantee the accuracy and completeness of any third-party information. MFC is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about MFC including our investment strategies, fees, and objectives can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available upon request. Certified Financial PlannersTM (CFP®) are licensed by the CFP® Board to use the CFP® mark. CFP® certification requirements include: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, completion of the financial planning education requirements set by the CFP® Board (, successful completion of the CFP® Certification Exam, comprised of two three-hour sessions, experience requirement: 6,000 hours of professional experience related to the financial planning process, or 4,000 hours of Apprenticeship experience that meets additional requirements, successfully pass the Candidate Fitness Standards and background check, agree annually to be bound by CFP® Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct, and complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years, including two hours on the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. MFC-21-03