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Edelman Financial Engines 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.

Edelman Financial Engines

Edelman Financial Engines is a financial advisor firm that is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. It offers an assortment of services focused on financial planning, investment management, retirement planning and money management.

Edelman Financial Engines Background

Edelman Financial Engines was officially formed on November 1, 2018 via the merger of Edelman Financial Services, LLC and Financial Engines Advisors, L.L.C. Both of these two firms were in the advisory business for some time before merging. Edelman was established in 1986 by Ric and Jean Edelman, and Financial Engines was created in 1997. Edelman Financial Engines is under the principal ownership of Edelman Financial Engines, L.P.

Prior to the merger, Edelman Financial Services and Financial Engines Advisors each received a number of accolades from various financial publications. In fact, Financial Times previously ranked both firms on its list of the top U.S. registered investment advisors (RIAs). Today, Edelman Financial Services is the top independent financial advisory firm in the U.S., according to Barron’s.* This was awarded in September 2021 based on data within a 12-month period, and compensation was paid for use and distribution of the rating.

Edelman Financial Engines Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Edelman Financial Engines serves a wide range of individual and institutional investors. More specifically, the firm works with non-high-net-worth individuals, high-net-worth individuals, pension plans, profit-sharing plans, retirement plans, charitable organizations, other investment advisors and corporations.

The firm's required account minimums vary by service type:

  • Edelman Managed Asset Program® (EMAP) wrap fee program
    • Individuals: $5,000
    • Institutions: $500,000
  • EFS Edelman Retirement Program (ERP): No minimum
  • IRA management through the workplace: $10,000

Services Offered by Edelman Financial Engines

Edelman Financial Engines provides a multitude of services that span different areas of financial planning, investment management and retirement account management. Here is the firm’s full list of offerings:

  • Financial planning
    • General goal-based financial planning
    • Retirement savings planning
    • Retirement income planning
    • Insurance analysis
    • Tax considerations
    • Credit and debt advice and planning
    • Home ownership and mortgage analysis
  • Investment management
    • Fiduciary services
    • Investment recommendations and advice for:
      • Mutual funds
      • Separate accounts
      • Commingled funds
      • Exchange-listed equities
      • CDs
      • Bonds
      • Variable annuities
    • Portfolio forecasting analyses for: 
      • Foreign exchange stocks
      • Options
      • Warrants
    • Account monitoring
  • Retirement income solutions
    • Employer-sponsored defined contribution accounts
      • 401(k)
      • 457
      • 403(b)
    • IRAs
    • Taxable accounts

Edelman Financial Engines Investment Philosophy

Though Edelman Financial Engines has a company-wide investment ideology, it says that it focuses primarily on the personal needs of each client. More specifically, the firm looks at each client’s financial goals, risk tolerance, liquidity needs, time horizon and any preferred investment types or styles. Based on these individual factors, the firm will recommend specific planning and investment strategies that match each client's financial situation.

On the whole, Edelman Financial Engines is focused on long-term growth. The firm says that it achieves long-term investing success through strict diversification, cost-effective investment choices and periodic and purpose-driven rebalances and reallocations. Edelman Financial Engines also typically avoids short-term strategies, as the fees and other costs associated with frequent trading can lower a portfolio’s return potential.

Fees Under Edelman Financial Engines

The merger between Edelman and Financial Engines resulted in a new fee schedule with lower rates for both new and legacy accounts. Edelman Financial Engines’ fees vary depending on which service you use. Generally, the firm bases it s fees on a percentage of assets under management. Occasionally, you may encounter other fee types, such as hourly fees and fixed fees.

For the most part, Edelman Financial Engines charges clients on a quarterly basis. Fees are charged in arrears and are calculated based on the average daily balance of your account during the prior quarter. The firm will automatically deduct most charges from your account, though you first may have to give authorization.

New Client Fees
Assets Annual Fee
First $400k 1.75%
Next $350k 1.25%
Next $250k 1.00%
Next $2MM 0.75%
Next $7MM 0.6%
Next $15MM 0.5%
Over $25MM Negotiable


EMAP Institutional Fees
Assets Fee
Up to $999,999 1.4%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,999 1%
$2,000,000 - $4,999,999 0.75%
$5,000,000 - $9,999,999 0.6%
$10,000,000 - $24,999,999 0.5%
Over $25,000,000 Negotiable

Check out the table below to see how Edelman Financial Engines’ fees for its asset management services compare to those at other financial advisor firms. Note that these fees are only estimates and actual costs may vary.

*Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount.
Estimated New Client Fees at Edelman Financial Engines*
Your Assets Fee Amounts
$500K $8,250
$1MM $13,875
$5MM $40,875
$10MM $70,875

What to Watch Out For

Edelman Financial Engines has one disclosure listed on its SEC-filed Form ADV. 

Advisors are fee-only at Edelman, meaning that they do not receive commissions on trades or sales from affiliates or other entities. Fee-based firms, by comparison, have advisors who are licensed to sell insurance and investment products, and can earn a commission. To avoid any conflicts, make sure the firm you work with has a fiduciary duty that puts client interests first.  

Opening an Account With Edelman Financial Engines

The best way to get in touch with Edelman Financial Engines is to either visit its website or call the firm at (888) 752-6742. Whichever route you choose, the firm will then help you to locate advisors in your area so you can get started as soon as possible.

Edelman Financial Engines has a massive presence throughout the country. The firm’s headquarters is in Sunnyvale, California, at 1050 Enterprise Way. Additional offices are located nationwide.

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

How to Build an Investment Portfolio

  • Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Investors can sometimes neglect to consider taxes when evaluating their investments. Capital gains taxes will impact your return on investment, though, so it’s important to know how much you can expect to pay when Uncle Sam comes knocking. SmartAsset’s capital gains tax calculator can help you calculate the total capital gains tax you’ll pay.

*The 2021 Top 100 Independent Advisory Firm Ranking issued by Barron’s is qualitative and quantitative, including assets managed, revenue generated, regulatory record, staffing levels and diversity, technology spending, and succession planning. Firms elect to participate but do not pay to be included in the ranking. Compensation is paid for use and distribution of rating. Investor experience and returns are not considered.

How Long $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 the cost of living in retirement for that location.

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

Methodology We weighed potential expenditures for a prospective retiree with a  $1 million nest egg to assess how many years that fund would cover in retirement in America’s largest cities.

We 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 metro areas across the U.S.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a net annual return of 2% after inflation. 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.