There are a lot of financial advisors in the San Francisco Bay Area. However, the sheer quantity itself of available financial advisors is neither a good nor a bad situation–it’s a large area with a dense population! It helps to focus more on how to go about narrowing down your search for the best financial advisor in San Francisco. You have already identified one requirement—you want to be able to meet them face to face—not just work click on your choices through a robo-advisor.

Whether you’re new to the Bay Area or not, you probably want someone who knows the area well. Relationships with financial advisors become more valuable to you when you realize that they share a strong connection with the region. They know the unique challenges that residents of the Bay Area face, and with that knowledge, they can provide key information on how to plan for them.

What are special financial considerations for Bay Area residents?

Even wealthy tech professionals should be concerned about the economic indicators of the region. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) currently ranks San Francisco as the number one most expensive metro area in the country for a family unit of two parents with two children. In 2018, the US Housing and Urban Development rated an income of $117,000 per year in San Francisco and Marin counties as a low-income household. As of August 2019, the consumer price index (CPI) had inched up by 2.7% from only 12 months before, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These are all very important statistics, since the rise in household expenses needs to be factored into buying a house and other long-term financial planning decisions.

Effects of high-tech on San Francisco real estate

The tech sector growth has been transformative for the San Francisco Bay Area. It has drawn jobs and tremendous economic growth to the region and is largely responsible for the steep rate increase in the housing market. This influx of new people to the Bay Area and has changed the housing landscape of the city entirely. Unfortunately, conflicts have arisen with those unable to compete with all the new high-income earners and subsequent higher prices.

Charitable gifts and socially responsible investing (SRI)

Fortunately, some investors recognize the unintended effects of high-tech growth in the Bay Area and financial advisors are placing increased focus on donor-advised funds (DAF). Investors can make tax-deductible contributions to social programs and other charities that work to resolve the issues that are important to them. Financial advisors can also help their clients make socially responsible investments (SRI) into industries that matter to them, such as green stocks and other sustainability funds.   

More than a financial advisor

Narrow down your search for the best financial advisor in San Francisco by choosing an advisor experienced in a wide range of asset classes. Be sure to look for someone who can place emphasis on managing the tax effects of restricted stock units (RSUs) and how to time stock options execution to maximize the equity benefit. Don’t forget to ask about strategic allocation and alternative and private market investments.

If you find a wealth manager, then you will gain the expertise of someone who knows financial planning, retirement planning, and investment management. They will be able to help you to make lifelong financial decisions. They ought to have as many tools available as possible to cover a wide range of needs and life events, such as the arrival of a new baby or determining the best timeline for buying life insurance. When you’re looking for all this and more in the best financial advisor in San Francisco, also consider:

Independence: Independence means they will recommend what’s in your best interest, rather than try and make suggestions from a list of products the firm has made prearrangements to sell.

Fee-only is preferred: It’s simply harder to know if financial advisors who make their earnings on product commissions will always give you the best recommendations.

How does your advisor contribute to the community?

Actions say it all. Pick a Bay Area financial advisor who demonstrates a commitment to the community they serve. After all, it’s your community, too. Some companies have a history of volunteerism and encourage their employees to take time away from work to give back. It demonstrates balance and a focus on the important things in life during a time where finance companies sometimes suffer a reputation gap. A reputable local firm will not only exist in the area, but also will be motivated to play an active role in it.

When choosing the best financial advisor in the San Francisco Bay, there are no short-cuts. Find a fiduciary registered investment advisor (RIA) like SD Mayer in the Financial District. With decades of combined experience, their wealth management team can help you navigate living in the Bay Area, and help you better reach your financial goals. Contact us today to get started with an initial consultation.

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