In this comprehensive guide, I’m sharing a list of the best San Diego financial advisors in 2023.
I’m also providing dozens of free resources to help retirement savers find a qualified advisor.
So if you’re on the hunt for a financial planner in San Diego (who has the right expertise to help!), this guide is for you.
Before you continue reading, grab these free resources:
- The 7 Best Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor
- The 10 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Financial Advisor [PDF]
- The Letter Your Broker Won’t Sign [PDF]
While I would love to help everyone in San Diego reduce taxes, invest smarter, and create reliable income in retirement, I know we aren’t always the best fit.
Perhaps a young physician needs help paying down student loan debt.
Or, a tech entrepreneur just sold their first business has questions about the proceeds.
If my firm doesn’t have the right expertise to help, I will suggest other financial advisors in San Diego.
After all, you wouldn’t see a Neurosurgeon if you needed heart surgery!
How I Connected With the Top Financial Planners in San Diego
I’ve been a San Diego financial planner for almost 15 years.
Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with hundreds of financial advisors both personally and professionally.
Some of us met at an industry event.
Other friendships were formed while giving back to our community and profession. For example:
- Sitting on the Financial Planning Program Advisory Council at San Diego State University (SDSU)
- Providing pro-bono financial planning work to our community through the San Diego Financial Literacy Center
- Speaking at financial advisor conferences around the country
There are so many talented financial professionals who do great work for their clients. And today, I want to share a handful of them with you along with a short blurb from their website.
Disclaimer: This list is not intended to be exhaustive. This is just my opinion and not a testimonial or endorsement of these advisors.
The 7 Best San Diego Financial Advisors to Consider in 2023
Steven Fox, Next Gen Financial Planning – North Park, San Diego, CA
We believe that financial planning is an ongoing and collaborative process that starts with a discussion of your values and goals, and results in concrete action steps that we work on together to help you align your finances with a life you love. Maybe your goals include starting a business, paying off your student loans, traveling around the world to watch the Olympics every four years, climbing the highest peak on all seven continents, buying a beach house, opening a charity to help homeless dogs find families, or something else entirely. We’ll help you figure out what it takes to get to where you want to be, even if it’s a bit off the beaten path.”
Mary Beth Storjohann, Abacus Wealth – San Diego, CA (and Los Angeles, CA)
“I utilize a fun and educational approach in working with professional and entrepreneurial women, young couples and families, and military families to help you organize, gain confidence and build security in your financial life. When it comes to money and finances, education and compassion are key. I make sure to talk through any topics you don’t understand, organize information in a way that makes sense, always look out for your best interest, never judge, and even when it’s tough, tell you the things you may need to hear.”
Scott Frank, Stone Steps Financial – Encinitas, CA
“I’m passionate about helping clients understand their current financial situation and clarify their goals. Together, we create a plan to get them on their path and hold them accountable along the way. I founded Stone Steps to provide people like you and me with comprehensive financial planning designed to help you plan better and live better.”
Cady North, North Financial Advisors – Downtown, San Diego, CA
“My parents were small business owners, and I learned to balance a business checkbook by the age of 13. I spent more than a decade advising high-level executives of Fortune 500 companies while working for industry giants such as Bloomberg and Financial Executives International. I then took the leap to start my own business helping women and entrepreneurs plan for their futures.”
Eric Rodriquez, WealthBuilders – San Diego, CA
“I earned my Personal Financial Planning Certificate from UCLA, became a CFP®, and founded WealthBuilders to help people protect and grow their wealth. Your high-earning years are crucial to building wealth. I can show you how to take control of your money + build wealth.
Kevin Christensen, Aligned Financial Planning – San Diego, CA
“Kevin is a founder and financial planner at Aligned Financial Planning, focused on helping charitably inclined individuals, business owners and donors of non-profits align their money with their personal values. With a caring heart and personal touch, he creates financial plans and strategies that support their business, retirement, and personal values and goals.”
James Canole, Root Financial Partners – Encinitas, CA
“If you’re like most of the people I work with then you’ve done a good job of saving and investing over the years, but you aren’t fully confident you’re doing everything you can to maximize what you have. I focus on helping people who are within a few years of retirement navigate that transition so they can be confident they’re making the right choices along the way.”
How Define Financial is Different from Other Financial Planners in San Diego
There are three things that separate Define Financial from other firms you might be considering:
- We exclusively provide retirement planning to individuals over the age of 50. We are retirement specialists helping our clients preserve wealth and create a reliable income stream.
- We focus heavily on tax planning to help our clients reduce taxes in retirement. Believe it or not, you could have a higher tax bill in retirement than as a working professional.
- We intentionally limit the number of new clients we take on to deliver massive value and personalized service. Here is how we helped Mark and Jennifer make work optional in retirement.
If there is a potential fit between our expertise and your situation, consider getting a One-Time Retirement and Tax Plan.
What do the Best Financial Advisors All Have in Common?
While the financial advisors above work with different types of clients, specialize in different areas, and have wildly different personalities, they have three things in common that I believe are really important:
- They are fee-only. Remember, fee-only and fee-based are NOT the same.
- They adhere to the Fiduciary Standard 100% of the time. Unfortunately, most financial advisors only adhere to the Fiduciary Standard some of the time, if at all.
- They are a CFP® Professional or a candidate for the CFP® certification. CFP® Professionals are required to have a college degree, pass a rigorous exam, meet certain experience criteria, and more.
As mentioned, this list is not intended to be exhaustive. It’s critical that you continue to do your homework to identify a financial advisor in San Diego that is a good fit for you.
Additional (Free) Resources For Finding a Financial Planner Near You
If you agree that the criteria above are important, you can consider the following websites to continue your search and due diligence:
- National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA)
- XY Planning Network
- Garrett Planning Network
- Fee-Only Network
- San Diego Financial Advisors Network
To further assist in your search, download the free guides mentioned at the beginning of this article.
Use them to interview at least three financial planners who appear to be a good fit for your financial situation.
What If I Can’t Afford to Hire a Financial Planner?
Everyone deserves access to quality financial advice. If you don’t have the means to pay a professional, consider pro bono financial planning.
Here are two good resources for pro bono financial planning:
- Foundation for Financial Planning [National]
- San Diego Financial Literacy Center [Local]
The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professionals at Define Financial are proud supporters of the San Diego Financial Literacy Center and their pro bono events.
We have engaged in regular charitable giving and donated countless hours helping the local community improve their financial lives.
Best Questions to ask a Financial Advisor Before Hiring Them
Don’t have time to read through my nerdy resources? Here are my three favorite questions:
- Are you a Fiduciary 100% of the time?
- Who do you specialize in working with and what value do you provide to them?
- How are you compensated?
If these basic questions can’t be answered clearly and concisely, you might choose to end the meeting early.
And if you want more, here are 7 questions to ask a financial advisor.
Remember, you are making a huge life decision when hiring a financial planner and the process should not be taken lightly.