The nature of financial advice has changed. Today’s advisor is not just an asset allocator or a savings scorekeeper. She is holistic, helping clients navigate an increasingly complex financial journey and leveraging media to help them learn and understand.

In “The Essential Advisor”, authors Jay Hummel and Bill Crager talk about how important it is for advisors to “... change the way they communicate and build their ‘value proposition’ — that is, the value of their services to clients.” The advent of the robo-advisor, the commoditization of basic financial advice, and the looming wealth transfer are helping to compel this change, but the complexity of our financial lives requires it.

The better an advisor is at communicating organically with her clients, the better her practice will be. Investopedia's list of the 100 Most Influential Advisors of 2018 celebrates those advisors who do it best.

Here’s how we determined the list:

For nearly 20 years, we have sought to help people make smarter financial decisions. Every article we write and tool we develop is imbued with a mission of educating our readers.

Accordingly, we don’t believe that traditional metrics, like advisor AUM or client turnover, are the best way to measure today’s financial advisors. It’s not that we don’t find such metrics important. We recognize that other lists that rely on such metrics serve an important purpose. It’s just not what we’re about at Investopedia.

The Investopedia 100 seeks to measure influence. We have endeavored to quantify the impact that our advisors have on their clients and the broader financial community. Influence isn’t about being popular. It’s about helping others (although being popular helps if one’s popularity is tied to the mission of educating investors).

In developing our list, Investopedia’s data sciences and editorial teams identified advisors across the country who are best able to engage with their audience across platforms. We measured our applicants’ reach, frequency of posting, and amplification.

We also measured and created a matrix of influence to see which advisors followed one-another across social platforms. The more followers an advisor has within the community, the higher their score. We weighed all of these factors appropriately in order to determine our final ranking.

Advisors were invited to apply for this year’s list. Those included were also rated by our editors on the quality of the information they produced and shared across media channels. While we accounted for the size of their followings, their message needed to be sound, balanced, and truly useful. 

Is it comprehensive? No. We know there are hundreds, if not thousands of influential advisors not on our list. Each year, we try to find more and make our list even more inclusive and 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. In 2016 we launched Advisor Insights as a platform for advisors to share their expertise with our 30 million monthly users. Our advisors contribute their insights on the most important issues facing investors of all ages and incomes. The Investopedia 100 is another opportunity for us to celebrate the enormous value that advisors contribute to that conversation.

Today’s advisor is more essential than ever given the complexity of our financial lives and the challenges we face. This list is our salute to advisors who embody that same ethos and contribute thought leadership and industry insights as far and wide and as unselfishly as they can.

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

To see the full Investopedia 100 list, click here.