Financial advisors are more important now than ever. Despite one of the longest bull markets in history, and the proliferation of financial technology designed to make managing our money easier, financial planning and investing have become more complicated than ever. With an overabundance of asset choices, confusing proprietary digital investing platforms, and the complex needs of consumers planning for their particular financial goals over longer life spans, financial advisors—the pathfinders through this financial maze—help educate us about our challenges and help us take the right steps.

As any financial advisor will tell you, their job goes way beyond asset allocation and helping their clients prepare for various “life stages.” As Michael Kitces, Partner and Director of Wealth Management for Pinnacle Advisory Group, and Investopedia’s most influential advisor for 2019, put it in his blog, 

“...Perhaps the greatest problem of trying to explain the value of financial advice, especially while the industry is in the midst of such rapid change, is that we are still tying all our value conversations back to the portfolio-based model… an increasing amount of the value of financial planning advice is specifically about the advice that occurs outside of the portfolio!”

At the heart of the challenge is effective communication. Are they fostering and furthering financial education and promoting best practices through their platforms? That’s the cornerstone of influence, as we see it.

The Investopedia 100, our ranking of the most influential advisors of 2019, celebrates those advisors who do it best; as measured by the quality of their financial literacy efforts, the extent of their reach, and the recognition they earn from industry peers.

How We Determined the List

In developing our ranking, we identified advisors across the country who have demonstrated a top-of-the-industry ability to reach the largest and most relevant financial and investing audience, as measured by the impact and quality of their published work, public appearances, and online following.

We also asked every advisor who applied to nominate the advisors who they deemed influential. Multiple nominations from industry peers weighed heavily into our scoring. 

Finally, all applicants were reviewed by our editorial team to ensure that their published work and public appearances were in the spirit of financial education, and served to help their clients and promote best practices across the industry.

The advisors featured in our ranking applied for consideration, or were nominated by their peers. We know there are thousands of influential advisors who do not appear on our list. Each year, we try to broaden our outreach to make our list even more inclusive, and we will continue to do so in the years to come. 

At Investopedia, we strive to promote important conversations among investors and financial professionals of all levels, everywhere. Financial education is a never-ending journey that requires constant exploration, examination and discourse. The Investopedia 100 is another opportunity for us to celebrate the enormous value that advisors contribute to that journey.

This list is our salute to advisors who are the guides of that journey and contribute their industry insights as widely and unselfishly as they can.

On behalf of Investopedia, and our millions of readers, we thank you and congratulate you.