Our 2018 Review of the Best Financial Advisors in the DC/MD/VA Area

Occasionally we meet with potential clients and it’s just not the right fit. Perhaps our investment philosophies are not aligned, or they don’t meet our $2 million of investable assets minimum. Whatever the reason, Glassman Wealth isn’t right for everyone—and that’s okay!

We want to make sure you find a skilled advisor who best fits your needs, and allow you to build a strong relationship. If we’re not it, I will recommend other financial advisors that I believe are better suited to your needs.

What Does A Financial Advisor Do?

Having been a financial advisor in the DC metro area for over 20 years (and having led the greater DC chapter of the International Association for Financial Planning and served as chairman of the Financial Planning Association’s National Capital Area Chapter), I’ve gotten to know quite a few of my fellow advisors both professionally and personally.

There are many great financial advisors in the DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland areas, and I’d like to take this time to mention a few with solid reputations in this industry. Below is my latest list of the best financial advisors/firms in the DC/MD/VA area along with a few blurbs from their websites. (For my previous list, check this post from 2016).

The Best Financial Advisors and Wealth Management Firms in Washington, DC


Alexandra Armstrong, Armstrong Fleming & Moore—Washington, DC
Ryan Fleming, Armstrong Fleming & Moore
“Our philosophy is grounded in an unwavering commitment to helping safeguard the things that matter most to you. We demonstrate this by adhering to time-honored investment principles, a research-driven process, and a highly personalized approach—all strengthened by the values we share in common with you.”


Paul Gloth, Pathstone Federal Street—Washington, DC
“Built on a strong heritage of independent thinking, we stand by and for unbiased advice. We take our responsibility to act in the best interests of our clients very seriously, ensuring transparency in our fees and relevance in our strategic recommendations.”


Why Your Financial Advisor Should Work With Your Family


The Best Financial Advisors and Wealth Management Firms in Virginia


Jennifer Myers, Sagevest Wealth Management — McLean, VA
“SageVest provides comprehensive investment and wealth management services to individuals, families, trusts, and small businesses. We work with people who care about their wealth and the opportunities it creates, and who recognize the potential to make wiser financial decisions in support of what matters most.”


Elissa Buie, Yeske Buie — Vienna, VA
“You’re successful; you’ve earned the right to explore life and all it has to offer. You have the right to explore with confidence. We help bring clarity to your situation, provide financial advice based on empirically-validated theory, and engage in the ‘straight talk’ that is essential in today’s increasingly complex financial landscape.”


Marjorie Fox, FJY Financial — Reston, VA
Jon Yankee, FJY Financial
“With years of collective experience providing financial planning and investment management services, the team at FJY Financial set out to build a client-centered firm that works the way they believe it should: A fee only, fully transparent model. A holistic approach that incorporates every aspect of the client’s lifecycle. A strong commitment to the community. And a keen ability to translate clients’ vision and goals into a customized and comprehensive plan.”


Stephan Cassaday, Cassaday & Company – McLean, VA
“Our mission is to provide objective guidance to investors seeking advice about their financial situations, to do so with the highest levels of honesty, integrity and overall excellence possible, and to provide faultless quality and courteous service – at a reasonable price.”


Paul Pagnato, Pagnato-Karp Group — Reston, VA
“We focus on serving the ultra-affluent by providing objective, transparent and pure investing advice. We have placed an emphasis on controlling client’s costs, taxes and entry points into the markets, while also implementing proprietary solutions such as custom stock portfolios, custom indexes and direct private investment opportunities.”


Ric Edelman, Edelman Financial Advisors — Fairfax, VA
“Our mission is to make professional financial advice and investment services accessible to everyone. We believe that by putting our clients first, explaining complex financial topics in easy-to-understand language, and helping those in need, we can achieve that goal.”


Glen Buco, West Financial Services — McLean, VA
“As part of Sandy Spring Bank, West Financial Services has spent over 30 years building a firm dedicated to taking a conservative and ethical approach to growing and protecting our clients’ wealth and prosperity.”


What Do Those Letters Behind Your Advisor’s Name Mean?


Greg Sullivan, Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blaney — McLean, VA
Mark Johannessen, Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blaney
“SBSB offers comprehensive financial planning, portfolio management, fiduciary services, and tax services. You can rely on us for the expertise, objectivity and the individual attention you need to pursue your financial goals with confidence.”


Brian Jones, CJM Wealth Advisors — Fairfax, VA
Jessica Ness, CJM Wealth Advisors
“At CJM, we offer clients real solutions for their most pressing financial concerns and needs, helping make their dreams a reality in an understandable and transparent manner. As a fee-only financial advisory and management firm, our client’s interests always come first, and we remember that the money invested belongs to our clients.”


Lisa Kirchenbauer, Omega Wealth Management — Arlington, VA
“At Omega, we have the training, expertise & process to help clients successfully navigate through significant life/financial/career/business transitions. Transition isn’t just about the money and requires a professional who integrates the personal side as well as the financial side into the planning & investment strategy.”


Cal Brown, Savant Capital Management — McLean, VA
“Savant has been committed to providing our clients with the advice, experience, and value they deserve to help you navigate to your vision of an ideal future. Getting to you destination requires planning, focus, coordination, and the ability and willingness to adapt as you encounter challenges along the way.”


Eileen O’Connor, Hemington Wealth Management — Falls Church, VA
“Our mission is to help clients achieve all that is most important to them. Clients come first at all times; and as our clients’ personal CFO, we value excellence, discipline and resolve, accountability and continuous learning.”


Mark Joseph, Sentinel Wealth Management — Reston, VA
“You want to focus on the important things in life, not worry about your finances. And yet there are things you want to understand, things for which you want to plan. Sentinel Wealth Management can help you get your financial house in order and establish a strong foundation for the future.”


The Four Types of Financial Advisors


The Best Financial Advisors and Wealth Management Firms in Maryland


Susan Freed, Chevy Chase Trust — Chevy Chase, MD
Michael Gildenhorn, Chevy Chase Trust
“Our approach seeks opportunities across asset classes and around the globe. Perhaps our single most important distinction is this: At Chevy Chase Trust, we invest in global themes. We build equity portfolios of companies positioned to exploit powerful, secular trends, disruptive ideas, innovations, and economic forces.”


Nathan Gendelman, The Family Firm — Bethesda, MD
“The Family Firm is a Fee-Only™ firm. We focus on providing a conflict-free environment for our clients in order to help them reach their individual financial goals. We do not receive commissions from any institution or from the investments we recommend. We do not work for any bank, brokerage firm or insurance company when selecting products and services for you.”


Ron Rubin, The Colony Group — Bethesda, MD
“Like you, we see money as an empowering tool, enabling individuals and families as they realize their dreams, and helping organizations move forward in their pursuit of worthy missions.”


Tim Hughes, Bronfman E. L. Rothschild — Rockville, MD
Ashley Iddings, Bronfman E. L. Rothschild
“At Bronfman E.L. Rothschild, we employ a long-term, strategic approach to planning and execution. The advice we offer our clients is independent and objective. Thus, the counsel we provide is based solely on what is best for our clients. Your investments do not exist in a vacuum. Each financial choice you make impacts another part of your financial life. Each decision has an effect on your time, estate objectives, tax strategy, and more.”


Jim Joseph, Financial Services Advisory — Rockville, MD
“Financial Services Advisory has worked in collaboration with individuals, families, and business owners to establish an approach to investing that focuses on protecting what you have worked so hard to create. It’s given us a unique perspective on investing—how to protect your wealth and how to grow it wisely.”


Fred Cornelius, Burt Wealth Advisors — Rockville, MD
“The cornerstone of our service includes prudent and professional investment management and a majority of our clients came to us exclusively for this service. However, we also offer quality financial planning and our most successful client relationships take advantage of both services. At Burt Wealth Advisors, we help clients create an investment plan and financial plan flexible enough to meet unexpected challenges – yet disciplined enough to maintain their long-term vision for the future.”


Michael Kitces, Pinnacle Advisory Group — Columbia, MD
“Our team has a single mission: To help our clients live the lives they’ve worked so hard to enjoy. When we take on new clients, they become part of our extended family, and in the past two decades, we’ve developed multi-generational relationships with many of them.”


When To Ignore Your Financial Advisor


John Devine, Brown Advisory — Chevy Chase, MD
“Our mission remains the same today as when we opened our doors: to be a firm where every action we take, every investment strategy we employ, every decision we make, puts clients first. To award professionals an ownership stake in the company so that everyone sees their interests as aligned with our clients’ long-term success. To be a firm that you would build for yourself, if given a blank slate. To be relevant to our clients five, 10 and 20 years from now. To be the firm to which all our clients turn and ask: What do you think I should do? In short, to be regarded by our clients as thoughtful investors.”


Karen Schaeffer, Schaeffer Financial — Rockville, MD
“Schaeffer Financial is a family owned, full-service, fee-based financial planning company committed to taking the mystery out of financial matters and helping people make smart financial decisions. We maintain the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in our client relationships.”


Bruce Wiener, Wiener Financial — Potomac, MD
“A close relationship with you helps us craft custom solutions that meet your specific goals. We take a comprehensive and integrated approach to wealth management. Our close partnership with allied professionals such as accountants, attorneys, and insurance agents empower you to address all of your financial needs.”


This is by no means a complete list and I’m sure that there are others equally deserving of a place here. And keep in mind that this is purely my opinion and not a testimonial or endorsement of these advisors.

It’s important to do your homework and ask a lot of questions when deciding on which financial advisor to engage. I hope this makes your process a bit easier.

Barry Glassman, CFP®

Barry Glassman, CFP®

His vision for starting GWS was to deliver investment strategies and wealth management services typically available at the highest levels of wealth. Today, clients benefit from these sophisticated financial services targeted to meet their unique needs.
Barry Glassman, CFP®
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