A Financial Planner or a Financial Adviser?

Ever felt confused about what’s financial planner and what’s financial adviser? If you plan to seek professional help on your finances (I won’t, at least for now), you better know the difference these two. A short article on MarketWatch.com today says that a financial planner

is an individual who helps you create a road map for your financial future. The planner works with the client to format retirement, tax and college plans according to the client’s needs.

while a financial adviser

deals specifically with investing. The adviser guides you on how to best invest your money in accordance with the plan you created with your financial planner.

and many of them claim they do both. The Labor Department defines a financial planner the same as a financial adviser:

Personal financial advisers, also called financial planners or financial consultants, use their knowledge of investments, tax laws, and insurance to recommend financial options to individuals in accordance with the individual’s short-term and long-term goals. Some of the issues that planners address are retirement and estate planning, funding for college, and general investment options. While most planners offer advice on a wide range of topics, some specialize in areas such as retirement and estate planning or risk management.

And according to SEC:

A financial planner typically prepares financial plans for his or her clients. The kinds of services financial planners offer can vary widely. Some planners assess every aspect of your financial life—including saving, investments, insurance, taxes, retirement, and estate planning—and help you develop a detailed strategy or financial plan for meeting all your financial goals. Other professionals call themselves financial planners, but they may only be able to recommend that you invest in a narrow range of products and sometimes products that aren’t securities.

So know exactly what you get before laying down the bucks.

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