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Acorn Financial Services Review

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This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

Acorn Financial Advisory Services, Inc. is a well-known firm, as it has been featured in the media by the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Forbes, CNBC and Reuters. It was also named one of the top 50 fastest-growing firms in 2019 by Financial Advisor Magazine and has been rated as a top financial advisor by the Financial Times for the past three years. 

This firm, which is fee-based rather than fee-only, is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, but has several other offices in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Florida. The firm has also expanded north with an office in Massachusetts. Its financial advisors work with non-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans. The firm makes an appearance on SmartAsset's list of the top financial advisors in Reston, Virginia as well.

Acorn Financial Advisory Services Background

Acorn Financial Advisory Services was founded in 1996. James M. Gambaccini, a certified financial planner (CFP), is the sole shareholder. Gambaccini oversees a team of 29 advisors that features several other CFPs.

Acorn Financial Advisory Services Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

The firm serves individuals, families, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations and business entities.

Acorn Financial Advisory Services generally requires a minimum investment of $1 million for asset management services, but other services may require different minimum requirements. 

Services Offered by Acorn Financial Advisory Services

Acorn Financial Advisory Services can tailor a financial plan to your needs and preferences. Plans may cover: 

  • Budgeting
  • Cash flow analysis and debt management
  • Charitable planning
  • College planning
  • Estate planning
  • Insurance planning and analysis 
  • Investment planning and analysis
  • Tax planning 

In addition, the firm’s advisors can offer different portfolio programs to help clients meet their long-term financial goals. 

Acorn Financial Advisory Services Investment Philosophy

Acorn Financial Advisory Services generally relies on portfolio diversification to help its clients meet their goals. Its portfolios are designed for varying risk tolerances and utilize various types of securities, including mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The firm’s advisors work with clients to help them decide which one is best for their goals, time horizon and profile. 

Fees Under Acorn Financial Advisory Services

Acorn charges financial planning fees on a fixed price or hourly basis. The minimum flat fee is $2,400 and the maximum is $5 million. The hourly fees for consultations with advisors range between $595-$1,095 and the hourly rate for staff time is $155. The firm requires a minimum of two hours of financial planning advice. 

Fees for non-discretionary portfolio management are based on a percentage of assets under management (AUM). They generally follow this tiered fee schedule:

Acorn Financial Advisory Services Fee Schedule
AUM Annual Fee Rate
First $1MM 1.70%
Next $4MM 1.00%
Next $5MM 0.80%
Next $10MM 0.70%
Next $30MM 0.60%
Above $50MM 0.50%

Below is an overview of what you can expect to pay for advisory services at Acorn. For reference, a recent study completed by RIA in a Box found that the average annual advisory fee is 0.95% of AUM.

*Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount.
Estimated Investment Management Fees at Acorn Financial Advisory Services*
Your Assets Acorn Financial Advisory Services Fee Amount
$500K N/A (below firm minimum)
$1MM $17,000
$5MM $50,000
$10MM $80,000

Acorn Financial Advisory Services Awards and Recognition

Acorn Financial Advisory Services has several awards to boast. These include:

  • Named to 2020, 2019, 2018 Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers
  • Named to Financial Advisor Magazine’s Top 50 Fastest-Growing Firms

What to Watch Out For

Acorn Financial Advisory Services does not disclose any SEC-filed Form ADV disclosures.

As a fee-based firm, some advisors at Acorn may also be registered representatives of broker-dealers or licensed insurance agents. These other roles may present potential conflicts of interest. Despite this, though, the firm's fiduciary duty requires it to act in clients' best interests at all times.

Opening an Account with Acorn Financial Advisory Services

Those interested in working with Acorn Financial Advisory Services can go online to the firm's website and submit a contact form. You can also visit the firm in person at one of its offices or call them on the phone at (703) 870-2412.

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.

Tips for Finding the Right Financial Advisor

  • Are you struggling to find a financial advisor to work with? Luckily, finding a financial advisor doesn't need to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • When interviewing candidates, ask about their credentials. Believe it or not, you don't actually have to have any to call yourself a finacial advisor. So those who do have certifications have that much more training - and likely specialization. 

How Long $1mm Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about the cost of living in retirement for that location.

Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology We analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns to determine how many years of retirement a $1 million nest egg would cover in cities across America.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%. Then, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would cover retirement expenses in each of the cities in our study. Cities where $1 million lasted the longest ranked the highest in the study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research