Certified Financial Planners


What's the difference between a financial advisor and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional?

Sometimes there isn't one.

Certified Financial Planners Stephen Pease and David Smiley with client"Financial advisor" is a broad term that is generally used to refer to most any professional advising you on your finances up to and including a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®). These may include sales representatives of insurance companies, and investment firms whose sole responsibility is to sell you the financial products created by or brokered from their firm. These representatives may have no advanced training in financial planning and may be representing the interests of the company who pays them rather than representing your best interests.

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional planners, on the other hand, are certified by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., which is why you'll often see a registered mark after their designation (CFP®).

One of the hallmarks of a CFP® professional is that they have fiduciary responsibility when working with a client on investment advice or financial planning, which means they have to act in their clients' best interest. Unlike a stock-broker, mutual fund or annuity salesperson who is representing the interests of the broker dealer, investment or annuity company.

To become certified, CFP’s have to complete what the board calls the four E’s: education, examination, experience, and ethics. These planners are certified to advise on everything from taxes to insurance to estate planning, and are required to complete ongoing continued education requirements.

The CFP board keeps track of everyone certified through its program, which makes it simple to do a little homework on a professional before signing on the dotted line.

While not everyone in need of a financial advisor needs a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, there's a certain security that comes with the designation. With a CFP® professional, you can be sure that not only do they have a base level of expertise backed up by a larger organization, but also that they don't have conflicting interests. They, like you, want what's best for your money.