Know about the types of personal
finance experts which can help you reach your dreams and
goals quickly and efficiently...
There are various kinds of personal finance experts owing to
the fact that as you know the financial planning field covers a wide area.
Without doubt the ideal is to try to find professionals who
special in personal financial planning. However, in spite
of this practice being fairly wide spread, there still are many
countries in which this specialty does not yet exist.
The good news is that even though your country or area
may not have personal finance experts, other professionals can
help you too.
Below we describe the various professionals who could help you
either with your entire financial planning or with certain
a) Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
These are personal finance experts and have been certified
for having completed certain requirements such as:
- Educational level.
- Specific examinations for certification
- Level of experience.
- Practice according to a code of ethics.
This certification is internationally chartered by the Financial Planning Standards Board (opens
new window) which currently has certifying agents in: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Taiwan,
France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaya, New
Zeland, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland,
Great Britain and the USA.
Considering the educational requirements of a Certified
Financial Planner and the specialization in the field, this is the best kind of advisor to help you with your financial
planning whether it is:
- a comprehensive planning which covers all the most important
areas such as: insurance, investments, retirement, etc.
See the Financial Planning Pyramid for more details.
- or the planning of some specific aspect such as retirement,
b) Certified Public Accountants (CPA)
These are professionals dedicated principally to the practice of
accounting and auditing. These professions are very wide spread
and likely to be found in virtually every country.
Based on their professional training these specialists should be
able to help you with some of the most relevant areas of your
financial planning such as:
- Preparing personal financial statements.
- Tax advice.
- Pension and retirement advice.
- Investment advice.
These professionals normally do not offer financial planning
services and rarely are personal finance experts, but may
offer advice or assistance with practical recommendations related
- Incorporation of companies and businesses.
- Estate planning (wills, inheritances, trusts, etc.).
- Pension and retirement advice.
- Tax advice.
Perhaps it is hardly necessary to note that you can find lawyers
in any part of the world.
d) Stock Brokers
These are professionals who are authorized to buy and sell
shares and other investment vehicles on behalf of their clients.
Depending on the Brokerage you may find:
- a discount brokerage which charges a lower commission simply
to buy and sell the securities required, or
- a full-service agency which also offers research and advisory
services, but charging a higher commission or separately for the
A much debated question which is worthwhile to consider when you
are using a broker: Is there a conflict of interests if I use a
full service agency?
The conflict can arise because the broker earns a commission
when you purchase a particular security which he may recommend
that you buy. It is possible that, in the interests of
earning a higher commission, the broker could recommend that you
purchase a security which may not be the best for your objectives.
These professionals and their services are available worldwide.
e) Investment Advisors
This kind of professional is authorized to offer investment
advice and receive a fee. They may offer advice concerning
stocks and bonds, mutual funds, options, futures, commodities,
Depending on the country where they operate they may have
different titles but generally their services are very similar.
The difference between these professionals and Stock Brokers is
that they do not receive a commission for the investments which
they recommend, but rather are paid for the advice which they
It is important
to note that in some countries where these activities are not
regulated, you may find individuals who are salesmen for certain
products, such as mutual funds, or insurance products who call
themselves "Investment Advisors"
The key question is
how these people are paid. If they earn any commission or fee which is
paid based on what you purchase ... their interests may not be always
aligned with yours.
f) Insurance brokers and agents
These professionals, which could be individuals or companies,
are authorized to sell health insurance, property insurance,
third-party liability insurance, etc. They can assist you in
choosing insurance according to your needs.
Where there are risks, there are insurance companies, and where
these are, so are agents and brokers, so it is likely you will
find these in most parts of the world.
One common criticism of
many insurance brokers and agents is the fact that they generally
earn their income based on a commission for what you purchase, so
again you need to be cautious that what they recommend is really
the best alternative for your specific needs.
there are some insurance plans which combine insurance with
investment or savings, making the product offered much more
complex than it would otherwise be. And, finally, in some
areas, you may find people who present themselves as "Investment
Advisors" who are, in reality insurance salesmen who earn their
income from selling you their specific products.
What then can you do if there are no personal finance experts
If, in your country or area there are no Certified Financial
Planners, as you've seen there are still various other kinds of
personal finance experts who might help you. The best
bet would be:
- Find out if there is a professional group or company which
specializes in offering this service
- Ask a CPA or other professionals if they might offer you
financial planning services, or
- Make your own plan in general terms and seek assistance from
specific professionals to fine-tune your plan and help you put
it into action.
If you have any questions or wish to comment about kinds of
personal finance experts described here, you can reach us by
simply clicking here.
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