With the introduction of the internet, most of the mystique of financial planning has all but disappeared. There isn’t anything you can’t do yourself when it comes to investing — or is there? Sometimes people hire financial advisors to keep them honest or to make them accountable; other times it is because they simply don’t have the time to do the financial legwork.
If you don’t want to have to do your own research to find out where to put your money so it will grow, then hiring a financial advisor is still a viable solution. The best way to find one, however, is to understand the difference between the various types of “financial planners” and decipher which one will get you where you want to be financially.
Many make the assumption that all Winnipeg financial advisors are the same, when they aren’t. Their focus is very different, which is why knowing the difference can make the difference between good future planning and not maximizing your potential. Whoever you do choose, remember it is like giving them all your money and assets and trusting that they care as much about your money as you do.
The definition of a financial planner
Much like contractors in some states, people make an assumption that if you have a title, you have the certificate or education to follow it up. The problem is that there are no real rules or regulations for calling yourself a financial planner. Since there are no governmental agencies overlooking financial planning activities or how someone can label themselves, doing due diligence is imperative to ensure that the person you choose to plan your finances even knows what finances are.
A registered representative
A stockbroker is a registered representative who works for a broker or dealer. They do require a certificate obtained by passing the Series 6 or Series 7 exam (or both) in investing. A stockbroker is also required to register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which is overseen by a state’s securities regulatory agency. Not always the best option for financial planning, they are paid a commission based on their sales. That could leave you being used for profit by being sold a specific product not because it is the best, but because they make money when you buy it.
An investment advisor
An investment advisor is responsible for providing advice concerning securities and they are typically also a registered representative. The two titles are not the same, however. Investment advisors have to register with the Securities Exchange Commission if they intend to manage more than $110 million in assets for their clients. Similar to stockbrokers, they get paid to sell a specific product, so you might not be their best interest. Although they are trained in investing, that doesn’t mean that they care about your finances specifically.
A personal financial specialist
The PFS is a certification that you can earn through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. It is supposed to be for CPAs who want to do more than just deal with taxes. It requires a CPA to have two additional years of personal managing of finances. Since they not only know the laws regarding taxes but aren’t paid to sell a product of any type, their education and real-life experiences make them a sound financial planner to help manage your future.
A chartered financial analyst
A chartered financial analyst requires a certification for which you must pass three exams and requires specific work accomplishments. With the knowledge of how to handle portfolio management and investment analysis, a chartered financial analyst makes an excellent financial planner. Although there are no continuing education training requirements once achieved, they are a good choice if you want someone who is impartial and trained.
A certified financial planner
A certified financial planner is an ideal person to manage your finances. Needing both experience and educational requirements, CFPs also have to continue furthering their education to maintain their certification. They are also regulated by the Board’s Standard of Conduct in investing for their clients.
If you are planning on finding someone to manage your finances, then just make sure that they have more knowledge in investing than you do. It doesn’t make much sense to hire someone who doesn’t have experience or an education in financing, or hiring someone who is only there to sell you a product. A certified financial planner is the best way to find an impartial expert who is in your investing corner to maximize your financial assets.