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Gradient Investments 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.

Gradient Investments, LLC

Gradient Investments is a fee-only firm with billions of dollars in assets under management (AUM). Headquartered in Arden Hills, Minnesota, the financial advisor offers a range of advisory services to a client base currently comprised entirely of individual investors. 

Gradient Investments 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 Lucius is an 80% owner. Nathan Lucius Trust is a 10% owner and Luson Capital, LLC owns another 10%. 

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 Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Gradient serves over 18,000 individual clients, including non-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals. The firm also works with pension and profit-sharing plans.

When it comes to account minimum requirements, the minimums vary based on portfolio type. The firm requires a minimum of $25,000 for its Preservation portfolios, $50,000 for its allocation portfolios, while its strategic and tactical portfolios have a $100,000 account minimum requirement. 

Services Offered by Gradient Investments

Gradient Investments primarily offers the following advisory services:

  • Portfolio management 
  • Financial planning
  • Pension consulting 

Portfolio management is offered on a discretionary basis, meaning Gradient advisors make all buying and selling decisions within a client's portfolio. The firm offers the following portfolio types:

Preservation Portfolios: Preservation portfolios focus on price stability and capital preservation over income and growth. Preservation portfolios rely on liquid assets such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or money market mutual funds that have the primary focus of maintaining value while providing income.

Allocation Portfolios: Allocation portfolios tend to be more passively allocated. (The Buffered Index Portfolio utilizes structured notes to create upside participation with a pre-determined level of downside protection against volatile markets. Clients will be provided specifics for each offering prior to investing.)

Strategic & Tactical Portfolios: Strategic & Tactical portfolios tend to be more actively managed with specific asset class, sector, and/or geographic targets, investment objectives and goals.

Gradient Investments 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 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

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


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


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


Preservation Portfolios
Amount of assets Annual fee
All Assets 1.00%


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

What to Watch Out For

Gradient’s Form ADV only lists two disclosures, although neither specify the exact violations. 

You won't need to worry about your advisor selling you financial products and services to generate commissions. That's because Gradient Investments has a fee-only fee structure, which means advisors are compensated solely for the services they provide and not for the products they recommend. 

Opening an Account With Gradient Investments

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 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. 
  • 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.

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

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.