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Top Financial Advisors in Los Angeles, CA

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Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Los Angeles, California

A search for the top financial advisor firms in Los Angeles can pull up an overwhelming number of options. Through dozens of hours of research, SmartAsset determined the top firms in L.A. In the tables and reviews below, we explain what sets these firms apart to better help you figure out which financial advisor will suit your needs. If you're unsure of what you're looking for in an advisor, SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can help.

Rank Financial Advisor Assets Managed Minimum Assets Financial Services More Information
1 Aspiriant, LLC Aspiriant, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$12,213,732,000

$1,500,000

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
  • Publication of periodicals or newsletters

Minimum Assets

$1,500,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
  • Publication of periodicals or newsletters
2 Churchill Management Group Churchill Management Group logo Find an Advisor

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$5,500,283,541

$500,000

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management

Minimum Assets

$500,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
3 Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, LLC Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$4,348,805,900

$250,000

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
  • Educational seminars/workshops

Minimum Assets

$250,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
  • Educational seminars/workshops
4 Lido Advisors, LLC Lido Advisors, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$2,772,828,944

$1,000,000

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management 
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)

Minimum Assets

$1,000,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management 
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
5 Westmount Asset Management, LLC Westmount Asset Management, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$2,495,822,564

$2,000,000

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management 
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)

Minimum Assets

$2,000,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management 
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
6 AdvicePeriod, LLC AdvicePeriod, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$2,266,366,184

$500,000

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)

Minimum Assets

$500,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
7 Lindbrook Capital, LLC Lindbrook Capital, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$1,183,535,000

No set account minimum

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services

Minimum Assets

No set account minimum

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
8 HCR Wealth Advisors HCR Wealth Advisors logo Find an Advisor

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$1,049,506,686

$100,000

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management

Minimum Assets

$100,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
9 Miracle Mile Advisors, LLC Miracle Mile Advisors, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$1,041,042,635

$750,000

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)

Minimum Assets

$750,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
10 NWF Advisory Services, Inc. NWF Advisory Services, Inc. logo Find an Advisor

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$911,635,353 Varies by account type
  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
  • Educational seminars/workshops

Minimum Assets

Varies by account type

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
  • Educational seminars/workshops

How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Los Angeles, California

This list of the top 10 financial advisor firms in Los Angeles considers all U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered firms in the city, as these firms are all bound by a fiduciary duty to act in their clients’ best interests. From those firms, SmartAsset eliminated any firms that had disciplinary issues, lacked financial planners or did not manage individual accounts. We then sorted the remaining firms according to assets under management. The firm with the most assets under management ranks first, while the firm with the least ranks last.

Aspiriant, LLC

Aspiriant, LLC

Aspirant, LLC, a fee-only firm with a $1.50 million account minimum, is by far the largest firm on this list. The firm has 86 advisors on staff. 

Aspirant’s advisors boast a slew of certifications. The firm has the most certified financial planners of any firm on this list, with 33. It also has nine chartered financial analysts (CFAs), eight certified public accountants (CPAs), five certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), two chartered alternative investment analysts (CAIAs), one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA), one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) and one accredited estate planner (AEP).

In 2017, Barron’s ranked the firm as one of the top 10 independent registered investment advisor firms. 

Aspiriant, LLC Background

Aspiriant, LLC was founded in 2008. The firm is owned by a holding company, and more than 30% of the Aspiriant’s employees have an ownership stake in the firm. 

Aspiriant describes its business model as “forward thinking.” Every two years, the firm’s in-house research team looks ahead 10 years into the future to identify upcoming trends and potential opportunities. They then integrate these findings into client portfolios. 

Aspiriant divides its services into three boxes - investing, investing and wealth planning and a family office - though it acknowledges on its website that you “won’t fit neatly into any of them.” The firm’s service structure is fluid so clients can pick and choose what they need from those three categories. There are also services available beyond those three core offerings,  including tax management, estate planning and philanthropic planning. 

Aspiriant, LLC Extras

Aspiriant, LLC can help you with far more than just financial planning and investing. The firm provides divorce financial consulting through its on-staff certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA), who will work with you and your attorney to develop budgets and conduct a financial analysis. 

The firm can also help with things like buying or remodeling a house and philanthropic planning. One of its unique offerings is its assistance with preparing kids for college. The firm teaches kids financial basics like managing a portion of their own investment portfolio, picking a health insurance plan and maintaining a checkbook. 

Aspiriant also has a financial information blog that’s robust enough to be a freestanding website.

Churchill Management Group

Churchill Management Group

Churchill Management Group is the oldest firm on this list by a long shot. The fee-based firm was founded way back in 1963, which has given it plenty of experience guiding clients through both bull and bear markets.  To be a client of Churchill Management Group, you’ll need at least $750,000.

Churchill has 36 advisors on staff. Of those advisors, five are certified financial planners (CFPs) and one is an accredited asset management specialist (AAMS).

In 2016, Barron's named the firm's CEO, Fred Fern, the No. 1 independent financial advisor in the nation. He ranked among the top financial advisors for the state of California in 2017. 

Churchill Management Group Background

Fred Fern founded Churchill Management Group back in 1963. He remains the firm’s CEO and chairman, as well the chair of the Churchill Management Group Investment Team, which manages all of the firm’s investment accounts. Fern is also the firm’s controlling owner.

He is also the owner of a licensed California real estate broker, Chartwell Properties, Inc. If Churchill clients invest in the firm’s limited real estate partnerships, Chartwell will receive property management fees.

Churchill Management Group Investment Philosophy

Churchill’s investment philosophy is centered on the belief that financial markets and economic environments move cyclically. The firm believes that different investments provide different results depending on the point of the market cycle. Thus, Churchill views the market cycle as a reference point for its investment decisions. 

The firm primarily invests its clients in equity and equity-related securities that are publicly traded. Churchill offers eight different securities management strategies: premier wealth tactical and premier wealth tactical core, ETF sector rotation, premier wealth tactical core/ ETF sector rotation, equity growth and value, equity dividend income, maximum growth tactical, tactical opportunity and balanced accounts with each equity strategy, aside from maximum growth tactical.

SEIA

Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, LLC

At SEIA (Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, LLC), the account minimum depends on the account option. Its lowest account minimum, for its Signature Elite and S-Series equity/blended portfolios, is $250,000. For the fee-based firm’s Signature Elite and S-Series fixed-income portfolios, it’s $500,000, and its M-Series requires an account minimum of $1 million.  

If you’re trying to figure out the value of your 401(k) over time, SEIA has a certified 401(k) professional (C(k)P), which no other firm on this list has. It also has the second-most certified financial planners (CFPs), with 31 CFPs on staff. In addition, SEIA has 25 accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), 10 chartered mutual fund counselors (CMFCs), three chartered financial analysts (CFA), three chartered financial consultants (ChFCs), two chartered life underwriters (CLUs), two retirement income certified professionals (RICPs), one certified public accountant (CPA) and one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA).

SEIA Background

Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, LLC was founded in 1997. Its principal owner is Brian Holmes, the firm’s founder, president, CEO and secretary. 

The firm offers five different types of wealth management services: 

  • Signature Elite: A six-step investment management process that helps clients identify their financial goals. 
  • Signature Allocation Series (S-Series & M-Series): The six-step process combined with investment supervisory services. 
    • S-Series has four model platforms with different asset classes and investment styles and vehicles.
    • M-Series consists of two model platforms. Trading is conducted through Envestnet’s Unified Management Account service. 
  • Financial planning, either modular or comprehensive
  • Investment consulting
  • Retirement plan consulting

In addition to these offerings, the firm also offers seminars, which include presentations on current events, economic trends, market cycles, financial planning strategies and investment fundamentals. 

SEIA Socially Responsible Investing

At SEIA, clients can select which areas of the community and society they want to invest in. The firm says on its website that it has done the “due diligence and research necessary to provide all types of socially responsible funds.” Some of the areas it may consider are a company’s environmental impact, its social impact and its governance. 

SEIA’s Department of Investment Management and Economic Strategy (DIMES) heads up the firm’s research and development of its asset allocation strategies for portfolios. The team is guided by the principles of strategic macro asset allocation, which considers asset class and style and tactical micro allocation, which looks at business cycles, global and domestic economic conditions and event-driven opportunities.

SEIA portfolios are primarily composed of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, closed-end funds, exchange-traded funds, exchange-traded notes and options.

Lido Advisors, LLC

Lido Advisors, LLC

Lido Advisors, LLC is a fee-based firm that requires a $1 million account minimum. The firm's team includes seven certified public accountants (CPAs), four chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two certified financial planners (CFPs), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC), one certified equity professional (CEP) and one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA).

The firm predominantly serves high-net-worth individuals, but it also serves individuals, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, registered investment companies, corporations and businesses.

Certain Lido representatives are also representatives of a securities broker-dealer and those individuals may receive commissions or fees for the sale of these products in a client’s advisory account. However, Lido Advisors typically lowers the advisory fees that such clients pay to offset the net commissions that Lido representatives may receive. 

Lido Advisors, LLC Background

Lido Advisors, LLC was founded in 2001. The firm is majority owned by Lido Advisors Holding, a limited liability company whose sole shareholder is Gregory Kushner, Lido’s chairman and CEO. The firm is also partially owned by K & W, LLC, a limited liability company in California. 

The firm’s namesake is an island reef called a lido that separates the lagoon of Venice, Italy, from the Adriatic Sea. The firm, like the lido, sees itself as a protector against tumultuous, sometimes troubled waters. Its services include investment management and asset allocation, financial planning, retirement planning and estate planning. 

Lido Advisors, LLC Going Way Beyond Stocks and BondsTM

Lido Advisors, LLC goes beyond using just stocks and bonds. As a way to manage volatility and to work toward clients’ goals, the firm aims to invest in assets that are not highly correlated. Lido Advisors invests its clients’ assets in the traditional asset classes of fixed-income and domestic inequities, but it also uses foreign securities, American depository receipts (ADRs), hybrid offerings, liquid and non-liquid alternative investments, non-liquid fixed-income investments and cash.

As part of its Thinking Outside the Style Box approach, the firm says that it aims to implement a strategy while remaining flexible enough to pounce on opportunities that may appear. The firm has five core strategies: fixed income, stock strategies, hedged hybrid equity strategy, alternatives and real estate.

Westmount Asset Management, LLC

Westmount Asset Management, LLC

To be a client of this fee-only Los Angeles firm, you’ll need at least $2 million, the highest account minimum of any firm on this list. Westmount Asset Management describes its typical client as a person who is “successful, mature and established” with wealth that is “self-made.” 

Westmount Asset Management has an impressive array of expertise, especially for its size. Of Westmount’s 16 advisors, there are six certified financial planners (CFPs), one holder of a certificate in investment performance measurement (CIPM), one certified investment management analyst (CIMA), one chartered financial analyst (CFA), one chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC) and one chartered retirement plans specialist (CRPS).

Westmount Asset Management, LLC Background

Westmount Asset Management, LLC was founded in 1990 by a father-and-son duo, veteran entrepreneur Bob Berliner and former federal prosecutor Jim Berliner. Bob is the firm’s chairman and Jim is the firm’s president and chief investment officer. The firm is owned by Westmount Asset Management, Inc. and Rosemont Partners II, LP., a private equity firm. 

Westmount claims on its website that it was one of the first firms to adopt the fiduciary advisor model. It also says it was an industry leader in delivering institutional-style investing for individuals and offering access to real estate and other alternative investments. 

In addition to its investing services, the firm also offers financial planning services including retirement planning analysis, cash-flow modeling, Monte Carlo projections and guidance on Social Security claiming strategies. 

Westmount Asset Management, LLC Investment Process

Westmount Asset Management, LLC doesn’t limit itself to the conventional. While the firm uses traditional investments like stocks and bonds, it has an open mind toward complementing those with a range of alternative investments. Similarly, while the firm primarily opts for long-term investing, it will also take advantage of any short-term opportunities that may arise.

Clients also have the flexibility to shape their portfolios as they wish. Westmount allows clients to place restrictions on their accounts, such as on specific holds or cash minimums or maximums.

AdvicePeriod, LLC

AdvicePeriod, LLC

AdvicePeriod, LLC says it’s setting out to reinvent wealth management, as “the current model is totally outdated.” The firm was founded in 2013, making it the newest firm on this list. It has a total of 13 offices across 10 states. The firm's team includes 16 certified financial planners (CFPs), four chartered financial analysts (CFAs), three certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), two chartered alternative investment analysts (CAIAs), one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA), one certified public accountant (CPA), one certified public accountant/personal financial specialist (CPA/PFS), one certified financial consultant (CFC) and one chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC).

AdvicePeriod says that it’s accustomed to working with clients who have complex estate planning and tax needs. The firm’s client base is a majority high-net-worth individuals, though it also serves a number of individuals. Its account minimum is typically $500,000. 

AdvicePeriod, LLC Background

Founded in 2013, AdvicePeriod, LLC is majority owned by OpenAdvisors, LLC, which is principally owned by the firm’s founder and a principal at the firm, Steven Lockshin.

In AdvicePeriod’s opinion, wealth management firms “are typically focused on the wrong things,” its website says. While many wealth advisors focus on investments, AdvicePeriod, as its  name might suggest, focuses moreso on planning. 

The firm’s planning services include trust and estate planning, cash flow management, guidance on philanthropy, retirement planning, portfolio tax minimization and risk management. 

AdvicePeriod, LLC Investing

Though AdvicePeriod believes in first and foremost building a foundation with a plan that reflects a client’s goals and wealth philosophy, investment is still a core part of its services. It believes that its advice is more valuable than asset allocation, with the proliferation of services available online nowadays. 

AdvicePeriod, LLC portfolios prioritize planning and a passive approach to the markets. The firm customizes its portfolios for each investor, depending on his or her cash flow needs, risk tolerance, time horizon, wealth transfer goals and modeled returns.

The firm primarily uses low-fee, tax-advantaged investments, However, depending on market conditions, it it may also opt for the use of independent investment managers, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds or other listed securities.

Lindbrook Capital, LLC

Lindbrook Capital, LLC

Lindbrook Capital, LLC is notably the only firm on this list that does not have any certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff. It has just one chartered financial analyst (CFA). Another differentiator of Lindbrook Capital is that it’s the only firm of these 10 that does not have a set account minimum. The fee-only firm primarily serves individuals and high-net-worth individuals, though its current client base also includes a small number of charitable organizations.

Lindbrook Capital has four advisors on staff. In addition to its Los Angeles office, it has an office in Calabasas, California.

Lindbrook Capital, LLC Background

Lindbrook Capital, LLC was founded in 2011. Majority ownership of the firm is equally split between the Posen/Degal Living Trust and the Tyler and Taryn Dritz Revocable Trust.

The firm offers both comprehensive portfolio management, which includes asset management and financial planning, and portfolio monitoring, which is moreso just for the safekeeping of assets without any ongoing supervision or trading. Lindbrook doesn’t offer an extra services beyond those basics, like estate or philanthropic planning.

Lindbrook Capital, LLC Investing Approach

Lindbrook Capital’s objective is to exceed its clients’ investment and preservation goals without any surprises along the way. The firm operates according to the principle that “knowledge controls risk,” and it turns to its in-house research team, composed of senior management and analysts, to ensure its strategies align with client objectives. 

Lindbrook Capital, LLC seeks to capitalize on market inefficiencies while controlling risk through knowledge. The firm continuously gathers information through regular meetings with investment managers, software analytic systems and custodial services. In Lindbrook Capital’s opinion, it’s more important to focus on not losing money than meeting a benchmark. 

The firm individualizes its investment advice, but it does not typically allow clients to impose restrictions. Lindbrook primarily uses exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, individual stocks or bonds and other securities in its portfolios. 

HCR Wealth Advisors

HCR Wealth Advisors

HCR Wealth Advisors is a fee-based firm that helps its clients weather life’s transitions, from divorce to inheritance to starting a business. The firm requires an account minimum of $100,000 for its investment advisory services. Its clients include individuals, high-net-worth individuals, charitable organizations and sovereign wealth funds and foreign official institutions. The firm has four certified financial planners (CFPs) and two chartered financial analysts (CFAs) on staff.

In addition to its financial and wealth management services, the firm also specializes in insurance services and business consulting. However, these additional specialities may present potential conflicts of interest. Some management personnel and other representatives of the firm are also representatives of a broker-dealer and/or act as licensed insurance agents or brokers, and they may receive a separate commission for the sale of products. The firm is a fiduciary, however, meaning it is always required to act in clients' best interests.

HCR Wealth Advisors Background

HCR Wealth Advisors was founded in 1998. Its principal shareholder is its founder and CEO, Gregory Heller.

The firm offers a slew financial services, like estate planning, charitable giving and philanthropy strategies, retirement planning, cash flow analysis, budgeting, tax management strategies, net-worth assessments and multi-generational planning, in addition to its other aforementioned specialties. Its business services include 401(k) plans, business valuation consulting and executive benefit planning;  its consulting services include real estate analysis, business elder care and life transition counseling, and its insurance services including life insurance and annuities, insurance planning/group benefits and disability and loss of coverage. 

HCR Wealth Advisors Investment Strategy

The first step of HCR Wealth Advisors’ investment services is a seven-step process designed to help it fully understand clients’ goals and objectives. The plan focuses heavily on the continued monitoring and evolution of the plan. As part of its goal to serve clients through life’s transitions, the firm aims to develop a comprehensive plan that considers financial targets, retirement and other investments.

HCR Wealth Advisors uses an fundamental and technical analysis to make investment decisions. The firm employs a wide range of investment vehicles, from traditional asset managers to alternative investment managers, private equity, real estate and individual securities. It says that it shows its clients all possible options as opposed to just proprietary investment products associated with certain brokerages.

Miracle Mile Advisors, LLC

Miracle Mile Advisors, LLC

Miracle Mile Advisors, LLC is a fee-based firm with 19 financial advisors on staff. The team overall includes five certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two certified public accountants (CPAs), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC), one financial paraplanner qualified professional (FPQP) and one certified plan fiduciary advisor (CPFA).

To be a client, you’ll typically need at least $750,000 under management with the firm. Miracle Mile mainly works with families, though it can also serve pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and businesses.

Miracle Mile Advisors is also licensed as an insurance agency and some of the firm’s representatives are insurance agents or brokers. Though the firm is bound to act in its clients’ best interests, this may create a potential conflict of interest because these representatives may recommend insurance products and receive fees for the sale of these products. 

Miracle Mile Advisors, LLC Background

Founded in 2007, Miracle Mile Advisors, LLC is majority owned by Brock Moseley, head of the firm’s Investment Committee and Risk Management Committee, and Duncan Rolph, a principal of the firm. Miracle Mile Advisors is 100% employee-owned. 

As part of the firm’s commitment to open communication, its advisory team meets with its clients regularly and the firm also routinely publishes portfolio updates, research and notes to keep clients in the loop. The firm also has what it describes as an “institutional-caliber technology platform” so clients can always easily access their financial information. 

Miracle Mile Advisors, LLC Investing Approach

Miracle Mile Advisors, LLC strives to customize the allocation of assets according to each client’s risk tolerance and investment goals. The firm relies on in-house and external research to make its investment decisions.

Miracle Mile Advisors primarily invests its clients in low-cost, tax-efficient exchange-traded funds, as well as bonds and index funds. It may also use private investment funds and hedge funds. It will create a portfolio around previously held individual securities if a client requests that it maintain positions in certain concentrated individual securities.

The firm keeps an eye toward tax efficiency and it implements ongoing tax-loss harvesting.

NWF Advisory Services, Inc.

NWF Advisory Services, Inc.

The final firm on our list of the top Los Angeles financial advisor firms is NWF Advisory Services, Inc.  In addition to its headquarters in Los Angeles, the firm has satellite offices located across the Golden State. The firm has $911.64 million in assets under management (AUM) and a small team of three investment advisors. The firm's team in Los Angeles has a number of certifications, including five certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered financial consultants (ChFCs), two chartered life underwriters (CLUs) and one retirement income certified professional (RICP).

 

NWF Advisory Services provides investment advisory services to individuals, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and other business entities. Though the firm serves a number of high-net-worth individuals, the vast majority of its individual client base does not have a high net worth.

The firm's account minimums vary by program. Minimum requirements for wealth management programs range from $25,000 to $100,000. For the managed assets program, minimums range from $100,000 to $300,000. There is no minimum for financial planning or retirement plan consulting services.

The firm is fee-based. All of its advisors are associated with Royal Alliance, a broker-dealer, and they can earn commissions if their clients buy securities they recommend. This may create a conflict of interest, as advisors may be incentivized to recommend certain securities. However, the firm is bound by fiduciary duty to act in clients' best interests.

NWF Advisory Services, Inc. Background

NWF Advisory Services, Inc. has been in business since 1986. The firm is owned by its president and CEO, Shehab Mohammad.

The firm offers clients a number of wealth management programs to choose from, as well as a managed assets program. Additionally, the firm provides financial planning and retirement plan consulting services, which are available to employee benefit plans and their fiduciaries.

NWF Advisory Services, Inc. Investment Strategy

NWF Advisory Services notes in its Form ADV (SEC-filed paperwork) that its advisory services are "generally designed for strategic long-term investing." The firm usually recommends the long-term purchase of stocks, bonds and mutual funds. In certain instances, however, the firm may use short-term investment strategies, which are defined as investments held for less than a year.

Like many firms, NWF Advisory Services uses fundamental and/or technical analysis when evaluating investment opportunities. Fundamental analysis looks as basic information such as a company's earnings or management team, whereas technical analysis uses statistics to forecast trends.

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