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Top Financial Advisors in Columbus, OH

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by Nina Semczuk Updated

Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Columbus, Ohio

When looking for a financial advisor, it’s easy to get overwhelmed as there are so many options to choose from. That’s why SmartAsset sorted through firms in the Columbus, Ohio metro area to find the top 10 choices. Read the reviews below to find out which firm might best fit your needs. 

Rank Financial Advisor Assets Managed Minimum Assets Financial Services More Information
1 $2,235,302,300

$500,000

  • Wealth management
  • Investment management
  • Retirement plan services
  • Specialized services

Minimum Assets

$500,000

Financial Services

  • Wealth management
  • Investment management
  • Retirement plan services
  • Specialized services
2 $1,882,737,500

minimum fee $2,500 ($250,000 account size is best)

  • Investment management
  • Wealth management
  • Services to fiduciaries
  • 401(k) plans

Minimum Assets

minimum fee $2,500 ($250,000 account size is best)

Financial Services

  • Investment management
  • Wealth management
  • Services to fiduciaries
  • 401(k) plans
3 $1,020,005,800

 $2,500 annual minimum fee

  • Wealth management
  • Investment advisory
  • Financial planning

Minimum Assets

 $2,500 annual minimum fee

Financial Services

  • Wealth management
  • Investment advisory
  • Financial planning

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4 $537,825,100

First Step financial planning minimum fixed fee $1,000; full service financial planning minimum fee $5,000

 

  • Investment management
  • Full service financial planning

Minimum Assets

First Step financial planning minimum fixed fee $1,000; full service financial planning minimum fee $5,000

 

Financial Services

  • Investment management
  • Full service financial planning
5 $536,360,000

None specified 

  • Financial planning
  • Estate planning
  • Tax services
  • Insurance consulting services
  • Pension plan consulting
  • Investment management
  • Selection and reporting on other investment managers
  • Business consulting services

Minimum Assets

None specified 

Financial Services

  • Financial planning
  • Estate planning
  • Tax services
  • Insurance consulting services
  • Pension plan consulting
  • Investment management
  • Selection and reporting on other investment managers
  • Business consulting services
6 $528,264,100

$3,000 minimum fee

  • Investment planning
  • Financial planning
  • Tax planning
  • Business planning
  • Lifetime income & retirement planning
  • Education planning

Minimum Assets

$3,000 minimum fee

Financial Services

  • Investment planning
  • Financial planning
  • Tax planning
  • Business planning
  • Lifetime income & retirement planning
  • Education planning
7 $358,786,200

$500,000

 

  • Investment management
  • Portfolio management
  • Financial planning
  • Estate planning
  • Retirement planning

Minimum Assets

$500,000

 

Financial Services

  • Investment management
  • Portfolio management
  • Financial planning
  • Estate planning
  • Retirement planning
8 $343,193,800

 $1,000,000

  • Investment management
  • Financial planning

Minimum Assets

 $1,000,000

Financial Services

  • Investment management
  • Financial planning
9 $ 341,476,000

 $500,000

  • Investment management
  • Retirement plan services 
  • Wealth advisory services

Minimum Assets

 $500,000

Financial Services

  • Investment management
  • Retirement plan services 
  • Wealth advisory services
10 $259,998,000

$250,000

  • Asset and investment management
  • Investment planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Tax management
  • Estate planning
  • Life and disability insurance planning
  • Education funding 
  • Employee and executive benefits

Minimum Assets

$250,000

Financial Services

  • Asset and investment management
  • Investment planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Tax management
  • Estate planning
  • Life and disability insurance planning
  • Education funding 
  • Employee and executive benefits

How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Columbus, Ohio

We considered all U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered financial advisor firms in the Columbus area. SEC-compliant firms are transparent and file regulatory paperwork each year. These firms have fiduciary duty to act in their clients’ best interest. No firm with disclosures or disciplinary issues was eligible for this list. We also eliminated firms that don’t manage individual accounts. The final list is ordered by most assets under management to least.

 

Budros, Ruhlin & Roe

Budros, Ruhlin & Roe, Inc.

With over $2.2 billion in assets under management, Budros, Ruhlin & Roe tops our list. This fee-only (no products sold to you here) firm has 22 advisors. You will need deep pockets to become a client as the firm’s minimum asset requirement is $500,000  The firm has the highest proportion of high-net-worth clients out of the top 10.

Services include wealth management, retirement plan services, investment management and specialized services. You’ll find the office on a peninsula in the Scioto River just west of downtown Columbus.

Budros, Ruhlin & Roe Background

Founded by James Budros, Peggy Ruhlin and Daniel Roe in 1979, the firm is the third-oldest on the list, after John E. Sestina and Company (No. 4) and WealthStone (No. 5). Peggy Ruhlin, certified financial planner (CFP) and certified public accountant (CPA), serves as the CEO, COO and CFO. This impressive advisor was named as one of the “20 Most Influential Women to Watch in 2016” by Investment News. She owns the firm along with Roe and John Schuman.

Roe, CFP, is the chief investment officer and has over 25 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Schuman, also a CFP, is the chief planning officer, chief compliance officer and has a law degree. 

The firm has a total of 16 CFPs, two chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one chartered advisor in philanthropy (CAP), one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and two additional CPAs. 

Budros, Ruhlin & Roe Investment Strategy

As a client, your advisor will create an investment policy statement. The statement is based on your initial discussions with your advisor. You’ll cover factors such as your time horizon, risk tolerance, cash-flow needs and spending policy. The firm uses the following asset classes: domestic equities, international equities, global fixed income, alternative investments, commodities and real estate. 

Generally, investment vehicles will include ETFs, mutual funds, individual securities, separately managed accounts and limited partnerships. Your portfolio will have a stated target allocation for each asset class. 

Hamilton Capital Management

Hamilton Capital Management, Inc.

Hamilton Capital has just under $2 billion assets under management and more than 1,700 accounts, the highest on our top 10 list. The firm has 39 advisors and was founded in 1997.

The firm is fee-based, rather than fee-only. The firm is still a fiduciary but can receive compensation from selling you insurance, mutual funds or other products.

This firm offers investment management, wealth management, services to fiduciaries and 401(k) plans. While there isn’t an asset minimum, the $2,500 minimum fee makes the most sense for clients with $250,000 or more to invest. 

Hamilton Capital Management Background

Robert “Matt” Hamilton, certified financial planner (CFP), owns the majority of the firm. He’s the founder, chairman and CEO. In the past, Hamilton’s firm was named a Best Financial Advisor for Doctors by Medical Economics magazine and one of the nation’s best financial advisors for Dentists by Dental Practice Management.

Jeffrey Loehnis, CFP and certified public accountant (CPA), owns a small percentage of Hamilton Capital Management. He serves as the president of the firm. 

The firm is the largest on the list with 39 advisors and almost 50 employees total. The firm has the most CFPs out of any other on our list. 

Hamilton Capital Management Investment Process

The firm believes its process is what sets it apart from other financial advisors. The investment committee uses fundamental analysis to assess asset classes, not just individual securities, which is the common method. The company looks at a six- to 24-month timeline and invests for the long term.

Hamilton Capital Management doesn’t use model portfolios (templates) and highlights that it is “distinct from quantitative programs that simply reduce investing to mathematical formulas.” The firm specializes in top-down portfolio management and selects outside management firms for bottom-up security selection. This helps each manager complement each other’s style.

Summit Financial Strategies

Summit Financial Strategies

This fee-only firm was formed in 1994. Summit Financial Strategies has roughly the same number of accounts as Budros, Ruhlin & Roe, the No. 1 firm. However, this firm has 11 certified financial planners (CFPs) to Budros’ 16. Summit has more than $1 billion in assets under management, the last firm on the list to be in the billions.

This financial advisor doesn’t have a stated minimum account size, but you are subject to a $2,500 minimum annual fee for investment advisory services, $8,500 for wealth management services and $500 for eSummit (an automated portfolio management system, also know as a robo-advisor). 

Summit Financial offers wealth management (including financial planning) and investment advisory services.

Summit Financial Strategies Background

This is the second firm on the list with a woman CEO (Budros, Ruhlin & Roe is the first). Samantha Macchia has worked in financial planning since 1992 and is a CFP as well as chartered financial consultant (ChFC). She is a partner of the firm along with six other staff members. The firm is employee owned and operated.

Ted Saneholtz is the chief financial officer and founder of Summit Financial. He’s also a CFP and ChFC as well as a certified public accountant (CPA). Liam Hurley, CFP, certified financial analyst (CFA), certified investment management analyst (CIMA) and enrolled agent (EA). serves as the chief investment officer. 

In total, Summit employs 11 CFPs, three ChFCs and has a total of 28 employees.

Summit Financial Strategies Investment Strategy

Summit Financial believes that markets are generally efficient. Modern portfolio theory, the popular investment theory of the last several decades, establishes that sentiment. According to Summit’s investment philosophy deck, advisors also believe “expected returns will depend on portfolio asset allocation.” 

The ratio of cash, core bonds, marked diversifiers and equities is what helps or hurts your portfolio in the long run. To build your portfolio, your advisor will ask you about your risk tolerance, time horizon, tax bracket, family situation and cash-flow needs. Generally, your assets will be invested in ETFs and mutual funds, cash equivalents, individual equity and fixed-income securities

John E. Sestina and Company

John E. Sestina and Company

John E. Sestina and Company has been in business the longest, with roots to the firm’s origin company stretching back to 1965. The firm has 10 advisors and offers investment management and full service financial planning as well as “first step financial planning” for those with a smaller budget. 

The firm is fee-only, like the majority of firms on this list, and has $537 million in assets under management. This is almost 50% less than the No. 3 firm, Summit Financial Strategies. While the firm doesn’t have any account minimums, you will be subject to a $1,000 or $5,000 fixed fee depending on what services you enroll in. 

John E. Sestina and Company Background

Unlike Summit Financial Strategies, which is employee-owned, John E. Sestina and Company is owned by a number of companies, including MTBW, Lukan Enterprises and Int2own. However, the founder, John Sestina, still serves as the chairman of the company. He is a certified financial planner (CFP) and chartered financial consultant (ChFC).

Stephen Lukan is the senior financial planner and managing partner of the firm. He’s also a CFP and co-hosts the radio show, “Managing to Be Wealthy With John Sestina.”

You’ll find nine CFPs, but no chartered financial analysts (CFAs) or certified public accountants (CPAs) at the firm. 

John E. Sestina and Company New Client Process

Advisors at John E. Sestina follow a process with each new client that starts with two initial meetings. The first meeting is when you’ll discuss your investment plan, assemble a net worth summary and review your retirement projection. Expect about two hours for the first meeting. 

The second meeting starts with any questions that might have arisen after the first meeting. After addressing your concerns, your advisor will discuss insurance, dependent planning or any business ownership interests. Your financial plan should be fully covered in detail by the end of this meeting.

The last meeting is your financial plan launch, or implementation meeting. At this time your wealth strategy is put into action and you’re guided through any decisions that need to be made to get your plan off the ground. After this meeting, you’ll schedule a quarterly follow-up review meeting. Each quarter has an agenda that addresses common financial concerns. For example, the first quarter is goal setting, tax planning and retirement and the second quarter is dependents and investments. 

WealthStone

WealthStone

This firm offers a number of services and has no asset minimum or minimum annual fee specified. It has seven advisors and about 300 client accounts, the third-lowest number of clients after J.W. Coons Advisors (No. 8) and Keidan Financial Consultants (No. 10). 

The firm has $536 million in assets under management and was started in 1977. Like many of the financial advisors on the list, WealthStone’s compensation model is fee-only.

Wealthstone Background

James Wyland started Professional Planning Consultants, the predecessor of WealthStone, in 1977, with a goal-oriented planning approach that continues to this day. In addition to a financial planning team, the company has tax, insurance, investment and real estate development teams that cover the whole financial spectrum.  

Wyland still serves as president and owns the majority of the firm. He is a chartered financial consultant (ChFC) and certified life underwriter (CLU). Paul Breen, certified public accountant (CPA) and personal financial specialist (PFS), is a part owner and serves as director for tax consulting and compliance services.

The company has two CFPs, a number of CPAs and tax specialists and certified financial analyst (CFA). 

WealthStone Investment Strategy

WealthStone uses fundamental economic data, trend and technical market indicators and investment manager relative value when making investment recommendations. The firm also uses multiple methods of analysis to evaluate securities before building your portfolio. As a client, a WealthStone advisor will build a model portfolio for you. Depending on what you prefer, your portfolio will or will not consider your outside assets. Your portfolio will be in line with your financial objectives, time horizon, cash needs and risk tolerance. 

 

PDS Planning

PDS Planning

PDS Planning was founded in 1985 with the goal of helping clients “eliminate the stress usually associated with planning for their financial future.” The firm offers a number of services n the financial planning and investment planning spectrum. You’ll need to pay at least $3,000 a year for the required minimum fee. The firm has more than $528 assets under management and has 10 advisors. 

You can find the firm managing accounts for clients in 24 states. The firm’s headquarters is located on the northwest side of Columbus.

PDS Planning Background

The firm is owned by four individuals: Rita Itsell, president and managing principal; Jamie Menges, principal and client advisor; Kurt Brown, chief investment officer, chief compliance officer and principal and Robert Cochran, co-chief investment officer and principal. Itsell has been with the firm since 2002. Menges is a certified financial planner (CFP) and certified public accountant (CPA). Cochran is also a CFP and Brown is a chartered financial analyst (CFA). In total, PDS Planning has 14 employees; five are CFPs, one is a CPA and one is a CFA. 

The company mostly caters to those below the high-net-worth mark ($1.5 million). On the firm’s website, you can find a number of client scenarios, such as entrepreneur, newly married, growing family, empty nester and single woman. Each scenario gives you an idea of what services the firm would provide for that financial situation. 

PDS Planning Process

Before you even start a relationship with the firm, you can try the free portfolio risk analysis offered on the company’s website. The digital form walks you through a series of questions that will tell you what your current risk is after you input your name and email address. 

The first meeting you’ll have with the firm, either in person or remote is a “fact-finding” session. You’ll discuss your financial objectives, risk tolerance, time horizon, special circumstance and cash-flow needs. After that, you’ll have three to four additional meetings where your advisor will provide options, recommendations and insight. Once your financial plan is set into motion, you’ll meet about once a year to review your account and current finances. 

Waller Financial Planning Group

Waller Financial Planning Group

With a $500,000 minimum account requirement, Waller Financial Planning Group has ties for the second-highest minimum after J.W. Coons Advisors (No. 8). The firm states its services are geared toward individuals, high-net-worth individuals, pension and profit sharing plans and charitable organizations.

The firm of six advisors manages more than 500 accounts and has $358 million in assets under management. 

Waller Financial Planning Group Background

Larry Waller founded the firm in 1985 after working in the financial services industry for almost 20 years. He is certified financial planner (CFP), chartered life underwriter (CLU) and chartered financial consultant (ChFC). While he’s the founder, the current owners of the firm are Christopher Olsgard, Charles Kerwood, Jason Eliason and Jason Farris. 

All four gentlemen are CFPs, and among them there are two additional ChFCs, one chartered financial analyst (CFA) and one chartered advisor in philanthropy (CAP). 

Seven additional employees work for the firm, including two additional CFPs. The firm does not have a certified public accountant (CPA), which might indicate that tax planning is not in the wheelhouse of this firm. 

Waller Financial Planning Group Investment Strategy

In general, when researching investments, the firm uses sources that use fundamental and technical analysis in their research. The firm itself conducts economic analysis to analyze trends, but doesn’t claim to conduct its own further analysis. 

For the most part, your portfolio will be invested in mutual funds. This differs from firms that invest in a variety of securities, such as individual stocks, ETFs and fixed income strategies. At WFPG, your portfolio will consist almost exclusively of mutual funds.

J.W. Coons Advisors

J.W. Coons Advisors

With a $1 million account minimum requirement, it’s no surprise this firm has the second-highest percentage of high-net-worth clients after Budros, Ruhlin & Roe (No. 1). That’s the highest minimum requirement on the list. However, unlike the No. 1 firm, J.W. Coons Advisors operates with a fee-based compensation model. That means advisors can earn money from more than just a flat management fee. They can earn fees from selling you products or funds. That said, the firm is still a fiduciary, which means that your interests are required to come first.

J.W. Coons Advisors manages around 100 accounts, the lowest number of accounts on this list. The firm has $343 million in assets under management and has seven advisors. You can find J.W. Coons’ office in northern Columbus. 

J.W. Coons Advisors Background

James Coons, founder of the firm, used to work at Huntington National bank where he served as the senior vice president and chief economist. Now, along with serving as the chief compliance officer and partner of J.W. Coons, he gives guidances to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, where he’s the chairman of the Ohio Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors. 

Coons has two co-owners, Robert Hoffman, chief investment officer and chartered financial analyst (CFA) and Keith Blankemeyer, chief financial officer. 

Two additional CFAs work for the firm as well as one certified financial planner (CFP) for a total of nine employees. The firm does not have any tax specialists on staff. 

J.W. Coons Advisors Investment Approach

The firm’s investment approach is value-based security selection. Advisors favor individual stocks of established companies that meet other favorable metrics. Your portfolio will likely consist of stocks and bonds at J.W. Coons.  

Generally, the firm holds securities for a year or more. The exact strategy used for your account will depend on your specifics. This could mean your retirement timeline, cash-flow needs, risk tolerance or financial objectives. 

The Joseph Group Capital Management

The Joseph Group Capital Management

The Joseph Group Capital Management is the third firm on our top 10 with a $500,000 minimum asset requirement (the other two are Budros, Ruhlin & Roe, No 1. And Waller Financial Planning Group, No. 7). The firm is fee-only and was established in 1999. Nine advisors work for the Group and provide investment management, retirement plan services and wealth advisory services. 

The Joseph Group Capital Management Background

Twin brothers, Mark and Matt Palmer, founded The Joseph Group Capital Management. They remain the majority owners of the firm. Mark, the chairman, has a law degree and Matt, the CEO, is a chartered advisor in philanthropy (CAP).

The firm employs 11 people. Two employees are chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two are certified financial planners (CFPs) and one is also a certified public accountant (CPA). 

The Joseph Group Capital Management Portfolio Management Strategies

Working with this financial advisor means your portfolio will use a set strategy developed by the firm’s advisors. The five strategies are: the conservation strategy, the provision strategy, the harvest strategy, the abundance strategy and the home grown stock portfolio. Each strategy corresponds with a risk level (volatility) and objective. If you have a smaller account, the firm has the provision seed strategy, the harvest seed strategy and the abundance seed strategy. 

The firm developed the strategies based on the idea that clients have one of four common goals for their money: to protect principal and maintain liquidity, to sustain a certain lifestyle over an extended period of time, to grow assets toward a long-term goal or to get to a higher level of wealth by growing capital.

Keidan Financial Consultants

Keidan Financial Consultants

Keidan Financial Consultants, founded in 1983, is the fourth-oldest firm on the list. The firm is one of only three fee-based financial advisors on our top 10 (the other two are Hamilton Capital and J.W. Coons Advisors). Fee-based means that your advisor can be compensated through fees other than a set management fee.

Keidan has the fewest number of advisors with just two on staff. The second-fewest number of advisors goes to Waller Financial Planning Group, the No. 7 firm, which has six. Keidan Financial Consultants provides investment management and financial planning services to clients with at least $250,000. 

Keidan Financial Consultants Background

Robert Keidan is the president, chief compliance officer and sole owner of the firm. Keidan Financial Consultants is the only firm owned by one person on this list. Keidan is a certified financial planner (CFP) and has over 30 years’ experience in the field. 

Eric Eberts is the second advisor at the firm. He too is a CFP and also holds the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation. 

Kim Howard has been with the firm since 1989 and serves as the director of operations. 

Keidan Financial Consultants Investment Management

When you work with Keidan, one of the first conversations you’ll have will establish your investment plan. You’ll talk about your goals, risk tolerance, tax status and cash-flow needs, among other financial factors. Your portfolio will generally consist of open-end mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and corporate and government bonds.

How Many Years $1 Million 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 cost of living in retirement there.

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

Methodology SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities. Using that calculation, we determined how many years $1 million would last in retirement in each major city.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors throughout the country. 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.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%, reflecting the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. Finally, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would last in each of the cities in our study.

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