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Gradient Investments Review

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Gradient Investments, LLC

Gradient Investments, LLC

Gradient Investments, LLC is a fee-only firm with more than $2.1 billion in assets under management (AUM). Headquartered in Arden Hills, Minnesota, the financial advisor offers a range of advisory services to more than 26,000 clients. Gradient has 13 advisors. 

Gradient Investments, LLC Background

The independent and privately-owned firm offers an array of money management and investment advisory services. Gradient operates under the ownership of Charles E. Lucius and Nathan Lucius. Charles is an 80% owner, while Nathan is a 20% owner. 

The firm’s professionals offer numerous qualifications, including the chartered life underwriter (CLU), chartered financial consultant (ChFC) and chartered financial analyst (CFA) designations. 

Gradient Investments, LLC Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Gradient serves nearly 27,000 clients, including non-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals, employer-sponsored pension plans, foundations, corporations and endowments. 

When it comes to account minimum requirements, the minimums vary based on portfolio type. The firm requires a minimum of $50,000 for its allocation portfolios, while its strategic and tactical portfolios have a $100,000 account minimum requirement. 

Services Offered by Gradient Investments, LLC

Gradient Investments primarily offers the following advisory services:

  • Portfolio management 
  • Financial planning
  • Pension consulting 

Gradient Investments, LLC Investment Philosophy

Gradient evaluates securities using technical, cyclical and fundamental analysis. Advisors also base investment decisions off investment research software, and the firm utilizes its proprietary Wright Investment Strategy to focus on risk exposure, investment performance and investment strategy. 

For its managed portfolios, the firm generally invests in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), no-load mutual funds, individual equities and money market funds. Gradient also offers clients a holistic analysis of their portfolios with its proprietary Portfolio Analysis Review (PAR). 

Fees Under Gradient Investments, LLC

Gradient is mainly compensated through asset-based and fixed fees. The firm has three different fee schedules for its managed portfolio accounts, which include its strategic and tactical portfolios, allocation portfolios and client directed accounts. Advisors also offer advisory services through an open architecture platform. The fee schedules are listed below. 

Managed Portfolios:

Strategic & Tactical Portfolios
Amount of assets  Annual fee
Up to $1,000,000 2.00%
$1,000,001 - $2,000,000 1.65%
$2,000,001 - $3,000,000 1.20%
Over $3,000,000 0.95%


Allocation Portfolios 
Amount of assets Annual fee
Up to $1,000,000 1.70%
$1,000,001 - $2,000,000 1.35%
$2,000,001 - $3,000,000 1.00%
Over $3,000,000 0.80% 


Client Directed Accounts
Amount of assets Annual fee
All Values 0.60%

Open Architecture 401(k) Platform:

Amount of assets Annual fee
$0 to $3,000,000 0.50%
$3,000,001 to $5,000,000 0.40%
$5,000,000+ 0.30%

What to Watch Out For

Except for two disclosures that involved some of the firm’s affiliates, there isn’t much to be wary of when it comes to Gradient. The firm also has a fee-only fee structure which means advisors are compensated solely for the services they provide and not for the products they recommend. 


Gradient’s Form ADV only lists two disclosures. The disclosures don’t specify the exact violations. 

Opening an Account With Gradient Investments, LLC 

Prospective clients will have several options for opening an account with Gradient. You can either fill out the firm’s contact form on its website, or you can email its inquiry-based email address at info@gradientinvestments.com. You can also set up an appointment with an advisor by contacting the firm at (888) 824-3525.

Tips for Finding a Financial Advisor

  • It’s useful to identify which areas of finance you need assistance with before working with a financial professional. Estate planning, retirement planning and investing are just a few of the wealth management services provided by advisory firms. 
  • If you’d like an alternative for finding the most suitable financial advisor, you should consider SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool. After you complete a short questionnaire about your financial situation and preferences, the tool connects you with up to three local advisors within minutes.

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

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 the cost of living in retirement for that location.

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

Methodology To determine how long a $1 million nest egg would cover retirement costs in cities across America, we analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns.

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%. This reflects the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. 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