The Difference between Financial Advisors and Financial Planners 

As you look for help in managing your finances, make sure you select a professional who will fit your needs and be proficient in assisting with your financial future. There are many roles in the financial industry (advisors, planners, and counselors) and each provides a difference service.

Typically, the roles of advisors and planners are the most misunderstood. The key differences are in the training, education, and services provided.

Financial advisors provide fee-based services, meaning they earn commission on the products they sell. They can assist with money-related tasks such as investment management, brokering sales, purchasing stocks or funds, and creating tax plans. Financial advisors are required to pass certain exams administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and if working with the public, need to hold a Series 65 license.

Financial planners are also required to pass certain exams administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, but not all advisors and planners are certified to the same extent or level. To use the CFP® designation, a financial planner must meet education, examination, experience and ethics requirements, as well as pay an ongoing certification fee.

A Certified Financial Planner™ professional must fulfill several requirements and gain extensive knowledge in investments, risk management, tax law, investment and estate planning, etc. They must also meet the standards of the CFP® Board in four categories: education, work experience (three years in the financial planning field), ethics, and pass the CFP® exam.

To become a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (also known as a CRPC® designee) your financial planner must have an in-depth knowledge of retirement planning. In addition to completing a study course and examination from the College for Financial Planning, these professionals are trained in various sources of retirement income, retirement cash flow, asset management, estate planning and other related topics.

You might consider hiring a professional with the CFP® designation if you are looking for someone to manage your investments or assist you with financial planning and someone with a CRPC® designation when planning retirement.

At Financial Consulting Group, our teams bring over half a century of combined experience in the financial services industry. Our Financial Advisors, Certified Financial Planners™ professionals provide our clients with personalized, comprehensive financial planning that will continue to serve their families for generations.