Do I Need A Financial Advisor?
The financial situation and goals of you and your family are highly individualized, as are your basic financial skills and experiences. You may be very comfortable making all of your financial decisions on your own, but most people lack many of the skills and much of the knowledge required to appropriately manage their financial planning. It's up to you to decide whether or not you should seek the services of a professional financial advisor. If you should decide to do so, this web page provides information that should be helpful to you in your search for appropriate and qualified professionals for this purpose.
One large insurance and annuity company advertises that it 'manages money for people who have other things to do.' Some investment companies offer enhanced products that include investment and financial advice, usually for an extra fee. Check out some of the products and services offered by companies on the vendors list for your Employer to see if they offer such investment advice to clients. The more common situation is for employees to secure the services of a financial advisor.
Titles Used By Financial Advisors
Individuals and associated organizations that provide financial advice to consumers adopt various descriptive titles for the work that they do. Among the general financial titles commonly used are the following:
- Financial Advisors
- Financial Analysts
- Financial Consultants
- Fincial Counselors
- Financial Planners
- Financial Specialists
Sometimes professional accountants, attorneys, and licensed professionals provide advice in specialized areas of financial planning. Examples are:
- Certified Public Accountants
- Estate Planning Attorneys
- Tax Attorneys
Other times individuals and/or organizations specialize in very specific areas of financial planning; Examples are:
- TSA/DCP Specialists
- Long-Term Care Insurance Specialists
Registered Investment Advisors
Quoting from the Ric Edleman Artical under the How Do I Choose A Financial Advisor? heading to the right: 'Any person who provides financial planning services for compensation must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or their state regulatory authority. Stockbrokers, insurance agents, attorneys and accountants are exempt, provided that their investment advisory services are merely incidental to their work. All other planners must register as investment advisors. Therefore, do not work with any planner who is not registered.'
Please review the Ric Edleman Articles under the How Do I Choose A Financial Advisor? heading to the right for details about the various ways financial advisors/planners are paid (commission-only, fee-only, fees plus commissions, fee offset, assets under management, etc.).
Certifications, Credentials, Designations
As described in the Ric Edleman Articles under the How Do I Choose A Financial Advisor? heading to the right, the following are the most common designations you are likely to come across:
- CFA - Chartered Financial Analyst
- CFP® - Certified Financial Planner™
- CFS - Certified Fund Specialist
- ChFC - Chartered Financial Consultant
- CLU - Chartered Life Underwriter
- CMFC - Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor
- PFS - Personal Financial Specialist
- QFP - Qualified Financial Planner
- RFC - Registered Financial Consultant
How Do I Choose A Financial Advisor?
It's been said that some people spend more time on choosing an automobile to purchase than they do on selecting a financial advisor. If that observation has a ring of truth to it, it may be because people are familiar with the daily driving experience and the ease of deciding what they want. In contrast, financial management is a task that, for most people, involves decisions and considerations that they know little about. They also find it difficult to assess the qualifications of those who provide financial services. The following web links provide helpful information about selecting a financial advisor.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission - QuestionsQuestions to ask about your investments and to ask the people who sell investments or provide investment advice.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission - Check Out Brokers and Investment Advisers - Tips for checking out brokers and investment advisers.
Ric Edelman Articles - Timely articles are available in all of these Education categories, but especially in the Financial Basics and Retirement Planning sections.
Garrett Planning Network - The Garrett Planning Network Inc. is an international network of independent financial advisors and planners offering hourly as-needed financial planning and advice to anyone regardless of income.
How to Choose an Investment
CCC provides tips on choosing an investment. Learn More
Other Useful Links
Click on this link to review additional websites that CCC has found to be useful for various purposes. We welcome recommendations for additional websites to include on this Useful Links page. Learn More
Carruth Compliance Consulting, Inc. (CCC) would be happy to hear from you. Please contact us if you have any questions about the services we provide, about CCC consultant-client relationships, or about the content of this website.