4 Types of Financial Experts and Discovering Which is Right for You

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Words like “investments,” “stocks,” and “finances” may not seem pretty to you. In fact, they may elevate your blood pressure a bit. Not many people nowadays want to discuss such controversial topics as it can induce stress or cause disagreements within relationships. However, your financial situation directly affects your quality of life as you age. It may not be popular or a pretty topic of conversation, but it is important to be informed about where your income is going and what it can be doing for you. When it all starts to become too much, and you feel overwhelmed, know that you have resources available to you no matter what financial situation you may be in. These individuals are called financial advisors.

While advisors may go under many different names, most can be broken down into one of three main categories: registered representatives, certified financial planners, and investment advisors.

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First, registered representatives, or brokers, work for broker-dealers who buy or sell on the client’s behalf in exchange for a commission off the client’s profit. Usually, a broker is trading investment products like mutual funds, bonds, or stocks, but there are different levels of representatives who are qualified to perform different jobs, so be sure to research before hiring.

To become a certified financial planner (CFP), you must meet standards set apart by the CFP Board, which include completing a bachelor’s degree, earning three years of financial experience, passing a comprehensive certification exam, and agreeing to the Board’s code of ethics. CFPs provide guidance on topics that are not under regulation, such as planning for retirement, debt payment plans, and creating a budget. If you would like some basic financial advice that does not include the topic of investing, a CFP is a smart way to go. To find certified planners, use a company like Facet Wealth or Betterment. There is an important difference between a financial planner and a financial advisor.

Conversely, an investment advisor is exactly what it sounds like. These advisors specialize in giving investment advice only but can also completely oversee their client’s investments as well if you would appreciate a hands-off method of investing. Either way, you, as the client, will pay them directly for their services.

These individuals are not to be confused with investment bankers. While all three of the advisors above typically work with an individual or a family, investment bankers usually work with corporations or business executives. An investment banker guides his or her client through complicated financial decisions and processes, including buying another company, merging with another company, or maximizing company profit and revenue. One such firm is the Sheumack Global Market Advisors, founded by Nicholas Sheumack, which specializes in a variety of corporate finance transactions. Having an investment banker working with you during big financial events can provide security and confidence during the deal as well as save you money, as it is their job to identify any risks associated with your proposed transaction ahead of time.

Whatever situation you may be in dictates the type of consultant that is right for you. Be sure to do research on which advisor fits your needs and ensure that they have the proper credentials and experience to properly support your needs.