How to Save for College Without the Stress
Create a College Savings Plan
A SmartVestor Pro can help you understand your options, like 529 plans and ESAs (Education Savings Accounts), and craft a strategy for your goals.
Navigate the Rules
Timing, eligible costs, taxes—it can be overwhelming. SmartVestor Pros know the ins and outs and can help you set up a plan with confidence.
Avoid Student Loans
Scholarships and financial aid may not completely cover college costs. Thankfully, going into debt isn't the only option for bridging the gap.
SmartVestor is a free service that connects you with financial advisors and investment professionals in your area that are a part of our program. Simply submit the form below and you'll be matched with up to five SmartVestor Pros right away. After you interview them, you can choose who you want to work with and take charge of your goals.
You’ll choose from SmartVestor Pros who:
- Treat you like a teammate. They teach and guide but don't intimidate. They know it's your money and keep you in charge.
- Know our values. They understand Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps and agree to our Code of Conduct.
- Are experienced. They have at least two years of full-time experience as a registered investing professional.
- Are coachable. They participate in ongoing coaching to help maintain high standards of customer service.
These financial advisors and other investing pros can help you with all of these needs and more.
Be sure to discuss your needs and goals with a SmartVestor Pro—and ask questions—before you hire one. The services that one pro offers can be different from another. You should also know that the SmartVestor program itself doesn’t provide investing services or monitor the services that pros provide.
Find Your SmartVestor Pros
Instantly see up to five pros.
It's fast, easy and free.
Not ready to reach out to an investing pro yet? Here are some resources you can use to find answers to your investing questions and overcome market fears and challenges.
Set your retirement and investing goals.
Get market facts so you can be confident with investing.
See tips about how to start investing or catch up.
Common Questions (and Answers)
How much does SmartVestor cost?
Nothing, zilch, nada. SmartVestor connects you to SmartVestor Pros for free.
Each SmartVestor Pro pays a fee to participate in the SmartVestor program. These fees are paid regardless of whether you decide to hire a SmartVestor Pro and are not passed along to you. Also, pros can’t just get into our program by paying a fee. You can learn more about what we look for in SmartVestor Pros in the “requirements” question below.
How much does it cost to work with a SmartVestor Pro?
If you choose to work with a SmartVestor Pro, there will be some type of payment for serving you as there would be with any other professional. This payment arrangement is directly between you and the SmartVestor Pro. They’re happy to answer any questions you have.
What should I expect after I fill out the form?
If you choose to share your info, up to five SmartVestor Pros will contact you shortly. Wait . . . your phone is probably ringing right now—that’s how SmartVestor Pros work! When you talk to the pros, be sure to set up an appointment so you can interview them. Then, simply choose the SmartVestor Pro you want to work with.
If you decide to hire a SmartVestor Pro, you’ll enter into an agreement directly with that SmartVestor Pro (or their firm) to provide you with investment advice. SmartVestor does not monitor or control the investing services the SmartVestor Pros provide.
How do I choose my SmartVestor Pro?
After you submit the form, we’ll send you a list of questions you can ask during your first interview. In general, you’ll want to see if you’re on the same page about your financial situation and how you want to invest. You’ll also want to ask how they get paid and how often they communicate with their clients. Above all, if something doesn’t feel right, keep looking.
What can a SmartVestor Pro help me with?
A SmartVestor Pro can show you how to make the most of your investments and create a plan to help you reach your retirement or other financial goals. And when the going gets rough—think stock market swings—they’ll be the voice of reason that calms your nerves.
When’s the right time to start saving for college?
As a general guideline, we suggest you start investing in college savings plans after you:
- Are out of debt (other than your mortgage)
- Have saved 3–6 months of expenses in an emergency fund
- Are investing 15% of your income in retirement
And it doesn’t matter how young your children or grandchildren are—even if they’re not born yet—go ahead and get started. A SmartVestor Pro can guide you through every step.
What are the requirements to become a SmartVestor Pro?
To join the SmartVestor program, the pros must:
• Work for investment advisors or broker-dealer firms that are not affiliated with Ramsey
• Have at least two years of experience as a registered investing professional
• Understand Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps and agree to our Code of Conduct
• Participate in ongoing coaching with us to help maintain our high standards of customer service
The SmartVestor program does not provide investment advice or try to match you with a pro based on your individual needs. And it does not evaluate pros’ investing skills or performance or provide training on investing matters.
It’s up to you to make sure you’re on the same page as your SmartVestor Pro about investing and to understand the performance of your investments.
Are SmartVestor Pros financial advisors?
The SmartVestor Pros you’re matched with can include financial advisors and other types of financial professionals like investment advisors, financial planners, wealth managers and more. You may even see other terms like CFP (Certified Financial Planner), RR (registered representative), IAR (investment advisor representative) and RIA (registered investment advisor).
Think of “financial advisor” as an umbrella term that can represent many types of pros. Not everyone goes by the same title. But all SmartVestor Pros can help you invest. And many have additional specialties to help you with other financial goals, like wealth management or estate planning.
Are SmartVestor Pros financial aid advisors?
A bunch of our pros are financial advisors, but heads up—that’s not the same thing as a financial aid advisor. If you’re looking for someone to help you invest in a college savings plan, a financial advisor is what you’re looking for. But if help navigating FAFSA and scholarships is really what you’re seeking, that’s financial aid advising. Expert advice is worth its weight in gold, but you can also get free number-crunching tools like our college savings calculator—a great way to start getting an idea how much money you’ll need to cover the full cost of college
Ramsey Solutions is not affiliated with any SmartVestor Pros and neither Ramsey Solutions nor any of its representatives are authorized to provide investment advice on behalf of a SmartVestor Pro or to act for or bind a SmartVestor Pro. Each SmartVestor Pro has entered into an agreement with Ramsey Solutions under which the Pro pays Ramsey Solutions a combination of fees. The fees paid by the Pros to Ramsey Solutions are paid irrespective of whether you become a client of a Pro and are not passed along to you. However, the presence of these arrangements may affect a SmartVestor Pro’s willingness to negotiate below their standard investment advisory fees, and therefore may affect the overall fees paid by clients introduced by Ramsey Solutions through the SmartVestor program. Please ask your SmartVestor Pro for more information about their fees.
Neither Ramsey Solutions nor its affiliates are engaged in providing investment advice. Ramsey Solutions does not receive, control, access, or monitor client funds, accounts, or portfolios. Ramsey Solutions does not warrant any services of any SmartVestor Pro and makes no claim or promise of any result or success of retaining a SmartVestor Pro. Your use of the SmartVestor program, including the decision to retain the services of any SmartVestor Pro, is at your sole discretion and risk. Any services rendered by SmartVestor Pros you contact are solely that of the SmartVestor Pro. The contact links provided connect to third-party sites. Ramsey Solutions and its affiliates are not responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any information contained on third-party websites.
SmartVestor™ is an advertising and referral service for investment professionals operated by The Lampo Group, LLC d/b/a Ramsey Solutions (“Ramsey Solutions”). When you provide your contact information through the SmartVestor site, Ramsey Solutions will introduce you to up to five (5) investment professionals (“Pros”) that cover your geographic area. Each Pro has entered into an agreement with Ramsey Solutions under which the Pro pays Ramsey Solutions a combination of fees, including a flat monthly membership fee and a flat monthly territory fee to advertise the Pro’s services through SmartVestor and to receive client referrals from interested consumers who are located in the Pro’s geographic area. Each Pro may also, if applicable, pay Ramsey Solutions a one-time training fee.
The fees paid by the Pros to Ramsey Solutions are paid irrespective of whether you become a client of a Pro and are not passed along to you. However, you should understand that all of the Pros that are available through SmartVestor pay Ramsey Solutions fees to participate in the program. Further, the amount of compensation each Pro pays to Ramsey Solutions will vary based on certain factors, including whether the Pros choose to advertise in local or national markets. Ramsey Solutions has a financial incentive to present certain Pros that offer their services on a national basis (“National Pros”) more often than other National Pros that pay lower fees.
It is up to you to interview each Pro and decide whether you want to hire them. If you decide to hire a Pro, you will enter into an agreement directly with that Pro to provide you with investment services. Ramsey Solutions is not affiliated with the Pros and neither Ramsey Solutions nor any of its representatives are authorized to provide investment advice on behalf of a Pro or to act for or bind a Pro. Ramsey Solutions introduces you to Pros that cover your geographic area based on your zip code. Neither Ramsey Solutions nor its affiliates provide investment advice or recommendations as to the selection or retention of any Pro, nor does Ramsey Solutions evaluate whether any particular Pro is appropriate for you based on your investment objectives, financial situation, investment needs or other individual circumstances.
No investment advisory agreement with a Pro will become effective until accepted by that Pro. Ramsey Solutions does not warrant any services of any SmartVestor Pro and makes no claim or promise of any result or success by retaining a Pro. Your use of SmartVestor, including the decision to retain the services of a Pro, is at your sole discretion and risk. Any services rendered by a Pro are solely that of the Pro. The contact links provided connect to third-party websites. Ramsey Solutions and its affiliates are not responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any information contained on third-party websites. Each Pro has signed a Code of Conduct under which they have agreed to certain general investment principles, such as eliminating debt and investing for the longer-term, and, if applicable, have completed Ramsey Pro Training. However, Ramsey Solutions does not monitor or control the investment services the Pros provide.