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Carroll Financial Associates 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.

Larry Carroll founded his namesake firm in 1980. Over the years, he has won a number of awards, including Forbes' "#1 Financial Advisor in North Carolina" in 2018. He has also appeared on CNBC and NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw and has been quoted by many news outlets.

With headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, and billions in assets under management (AUM), Carroll Financial Associates, Inc. tops SmartAsset's list for top financial advisors in Charlotte, and holds a spot on the top financial advisors in North Carolina. The firm also has offices in Raleigh and Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Carroll Financial Associates Background

In business for over 40 years, Carroll Financial Associates is one of the oldest investment management firms in the Charlotte area. While founder Larry Carroll serves as chairman emeritus, his son Kris Carroll serves as CEO and a financial advisor. The younger Carroll, who has worked at the firm since 1998, is the majority owner. 

Almost every advisor at this firm has at least one advisory certification or designation. That includes 28 certified financial planners (CFPs), three chartered financial analysts (CFAs), three chartered life underwriters (CLUs), three certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), two chartered financial consultants (ChFCs), two certified public accountants (CPAs), one certified retirement counselor (CRC), one registered financial consultant (RFC) and more.

Carroll Financial Associates Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Carroll Financial Associates works primarily with individuals, the majority of whom do not have a high net worth. The firm also serves charities, businesses and pension plans.

The minimum sizes for opening an account at Carroll vary depending on the services. These requirements are typically subject to negotiation between the client and the firm.

  • Preferred Asset Management (PAM): $25,000
  • Prime Portfolio Services: $25,000
  • Premier Portfolio Management: $25,000
  • Carroll Financial Advisory Wrap Fee Program: $25,000
  • Carroll Financial Advisory Non-Wrap: $25,000
  • Automated Investment Program (AIP): $5,000
  • Separately Managed Account Program (CFA-SMA): $100,000

Services Offered by Carroll Financial Associates

Carroll offers a range of financial services that fall into two main categories: financial planning and investment management. Financial planning services entail retirement planning, 401(k) advising, family financial planning, college fund planning, estate planning and general wealth management. Each of these offerings, like all other services at the firm, are designed to meet the needs of individual clients.

Investment management services can be broken down into seven main programs:

  • Preferred Asset Management (PAM)
  • Prime Portfolio Services
  • Premier Portfolio Management
  • Carroll Financial Advisory Wrap Fee Program
  • Financial Advisory Non-Wrap
  • Automated Investment Program (AIP)
  • Managed Account Program (CFA-SMA)

Each of these programs differs slightly in their investment approach, using different securities, risk levels, time horizons and more to create custom client portfolios.

Carroll Financial Associates Investment Philosophy

Carroll Financial Associates' investment strategy is based entirely around each individual client. The firm and its advisors take note of the time horizon, liquidity needs, risk tolerance, investment history, desired investment strategy and financial goals of each client when they join the firm. This information is consequently used to develop specific and detailed financial and investment plans that are designed to get the client to where they want to be financially.

The firm's asset allocation models vary from growth to conservative income. Advisors may invest client assets in a spectrum of different classes, including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), common and preferred stocks, U.S. government securities and bonds. Methods of analysis used to evaluate investments include fundamental analysis and technical analysis. Both long- and short-term investments are utilized.

Fees Under Carroll Financial Associates

Advisory fees at Carroll Financial Associates vary depending on the type of service. Financial planning and consulting services are negotiable and determined based on the scope of the services requested. Fees for investment management vary based on the program you decide to subscribe to. In any case, fees are typically billed on a quarterly basis, in advance.

Preferred Asset Management (PAM) Account Fees
AUM Maximum Annual Fee
First $2,500,000 1.5% 
Next $2,500,000 1.25%
$5,000,000 and up 1%


Account Fees for Prime Portfolio Services, Premier Portfolio Services, Carroll Financial Advisory Wrap Fee Program & Carroll Financial Advisory Non-Wrap Fee Program
AUM Maximum Annual Fee
First $5,000,000 1.5%
$5,000,000 and up 1.25%


Automated Investment Program (AIP) Account Fees
AUM Maximum Annual Fee
$5,000 and up 0.5%


Separately-Managed Account Program Fees
AUM Maximum Annual Fee
Minimum investment and up 1.5%


ERISA Plan Participant-Directed Account Fees
AUM Maximum Annual Fee
First $250,000 2.25%
Next $250,000 2%
$500,000 and up 1.5%

What to Watch Out For

Carroll Financial Associates does not have any legal or disciplinary disclosures on its most recent SEC-filed Form ADV.

One thing to note: Some advisors at Carroll Financial may be broker-dealer representatives or insurance agents who collect transaction-based fees or commissions. This can potentially pose a conflict of interest, but the firm is legally bound by its fiduciary duty to act with clients' best interests in mind at all times.

Opening an Account With Carroll Financial Associates

The easist way to contact Carroll Financial Associates is by submitting your phone number and email address on its website. Alternately, you could call the office nearest you: 

  • Charlotte: (704) 553-8006
  • Raleigh: (984) 344-9139 
  • Rock Hill: (803) 329-5125

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

Tips for Retirement Planning

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