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Narrator: Whether you're planning for retirement or simply creating a personal budget, it doesn't hurt to get help. Every person's financial situation is unique and may require the services of a specialized financial professional.
In this video, we'll discuss some common financial professional designations, identify key differences between them, and explain why you may choose to work with a financial advisor.
When you consider the service providers you trust most and who might impact your life, your financial advisor might rank up there with your doctor or lawyer. But what exactly is a financial advisor?
Put simply, a financial advisor typically refers to someone who helps people manage their money. Think of it as a general title that other more specific titles fall under. Just as the term doctor could describe a pediatrician, cardiologist, or surgeon, the term financial advisor is a general descriptor.
Financial professionals like stockbrokers, financial planners, and investment advisors can help you with different financial needs. Stockbrokers, for example, buy and sell stocks and other securities on behalf of clients, usually for a fee or commission.
Financial planners generally take a more holistic approach to your financial situation, looking at areas like estate and retirement planning, insurance needs, and personal finance. Financial planners may also have more specialized training.
And investment advisors are often specialized financial professionals who may create and manage an investment portfolio based on your goals, timeline, and risk tolerance, helping you build, manage, and transfer wealth.
Within each of these professions are even more specific designations. One of the most common designations is the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, or CFP®, certification. CFP credentialed professionals are held to strict ethical and fiduciary standards.
Every prospective CFP candidate must have a minimum amount of financial planning experience and pass a board exam that covers topics like financial planning, insurance, taxes, retirement, and estate planning.
Another designation is the Chartered Financial Consultant®, or ChFC®, certification. While the ChFC and the CFP designations have slightly different requirements for candidates, they're similar in practice. Both are distinguished certifications in the financial industry.
While many financial professionals call themselves financial advisors, only certain ones are able to call themselves registered investment advisors, or RIAs. A RIA is a type of financial professional who is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and/or a state securities regulator.
RIAs focus on investment advice around stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other securities. They recommend what and when their clients should buy, sell, or hold depending on market conditions and their client's goals. They may also provide other financial planning services like retirement planning.
So why would someone consider working with a financial professional? Just about anyone can benefit from guidance, whether you're working on an investment plan, or you have questions around specific situations like buying a house or paying for your children's education.
Maybe you want help with insurance, tax guidance, or debt counseling. Or you may simply need to build a long-term financial roadmap.
Ultimately, everyone's financial situation is different. But it's always important to have a plan and seek unbiased guidance when you need it. Whichever type of financial advisor you choose, look for one with the skills and experience best suited for your circumstances.
An advisor should be able to assess your financial needs to help you achieve your goals. A skilled financial professional will act in your best interest and be committed to providing unbiased advice to help you plan for an uncertain future with confidence.
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