A financial advisor takes a holistic look at your financial situation by assessing your income, assets — such as a home — and debt. The advisor will use that information to help you plan for your goals and select appropriate investments.

Financial advisors may also help you navigate complex financial situations such as paying down debt, tax planning or ensuring you have the right insurance coverage to protect against financial risks. Many will coordinate with outside experts as needed, including insurance agents or tax specialists.

In some cases, you can pick and choose which services you want or need based on the type of advisor you select. A financial advisor can be anything from a local, human advisor offering personalized, hands-on guidance to a so-called robo-advisor offering automated, computer-based investment management. That wide range includes online financial planning services, which marry the lower costs of a robo-advisor with the holistic guidance of a human advisor.