Make Smarter Choices With Your Money

What A Financial Advisor

What Does A Financial Planner Do For You

Author: Greg Mayes, Financial Advisor Since 1988

If you’ve often thought about consulting a financial planner but haven’t taken steps to do so, there could be a few reasons why. You might be thinking that you don’t need financial planning until near retirement or until you receive a large sum of money. (Contact us if you need a local Boise financial adviser) Before jumping to any such conclusions, you might find it enlightening to learn the answer to this one simple question: exactly what does a financial planner do?

According to CNBC, over one third of Americans do not fully understand the role of a financial advisor or planner. Millennials actually have less of an understanding than most age groups. This could be related to lack of time, given our busy lives, or lack of perceived need. But if you don’t address your finances with a professional, you could be overlooking one of the most important aspects of your overall long-term health.

Financial planners provide helpful advice on overall money management. They help you make financial decisions and invest your money so that you can reach the goals you set for yourself and your family. Good financial advisors spend a decent amount of time educating clients, providing personalized advice and long-term plans. One of the values of a financial planning firm is that they hold you accountable to ensure you stay on track.

What does a certified financial planner do?

The difference between a financial planner and a Certified Financial Planner™ is the certification process required to become a CFP® professional. Its a validation much like accountants or attorney credentials. Recognized as the highest standard in personal financial planning, earning the CFP mark gives finance professionals a licensed document on their knowledge.

What does a CFP do?

Investing money is only one thing that a financial advisory firm does for clients. Various areas of emphasis may include college savings, minimizing taxes, charitable donation, budgeting, reducing debt, increasing income and retirement planning. Advice extends well beyond your retirement and bank accounts to help with mortgages, insurance, loans, estate documents and more. Financial planners can help you:

  • learn more about your financial situation
  • gain financial confidence and understanding
  • avoid making risky decisions
  • define your goals for retirement and plan to get you there
  • revisit your plan consistently to ensure it is on track
  • provide you with peace of mind

Financial Advisor vs Fiduciary

Financial advisors who are fiduciaries hold a relationship of trust with their clients and follow fiduciary duty. Fiduciary duty is the ethical obligation to put their client's interests above their own. In theory, this should minimize conflicts of interest and makes a financial advisor more trustworthy.

It also isn’t common knowledge how financial advisors are compensated. There are those in the industry who simply sell products and collect commission, but they may not providing value or long-term planning and do not fall into the category of financial planner or financial advisor. Financial planners can have either a fee-based or commission-based model, or even a combination of both. A good financial advisory firm will be up front and clear about any expenses clients may incur and how the process works. This way, the client can make a fully informed choice.

Although meeting with clients takes up a good portion of a financial planner’s given workday, there are any number of other items to be completed. Research takes time and ranges from article and news reading to historical reporting and obtaining information on investments and companies. Financial advisors also meet and collaborate with other industry experts and professionals. They also spend time reviewing accounts, organizing documents and providing expertise to various media.

Ultimately, financial planners aim to save you money, help you reach your retirement goals or even retire early, and overall keep you financially healthy. They also help you manage risk. It can be very tough to do this yourself, as risk is not only related to investments, but it is also related to behaviors, emotions and choices you make, which affect your finances. The goal is to create a long-term plan that takes into consideration your specific needs and desires, and creates the ideal balance between saving, spending and investing.

What is the difference between a financial planner and a financial advisor?

Answer: there is no difference. The word 'planner' and 'advisor' are used interchangeably to describe someone who manages your finanical interests as a guide, adviser or consultant.

difference between cfa cfp

What is difference between CFA CFP– certified financial planner vs chartered financial analyst?

A CFA works on Wall Street, a CFP works for you. Certified advisors work with individual clients where as a financial analysts rarely talk to investors and primarily analyze investments, portfolios, and assets. A chartered financial analyst works behind the scenes. When you need money advice, you hire a certified financial planner.

It’s especially important to consult your financial planner when life changes happen. These events include marriage, children, unemployment, home purchasing, settlements, death in the family and retirement. Mayes Financial dedicates substantial time to ensuring clients have holistic plans that include building financial health and wealth. To discuss your questions, contact the team at or 208-475-1342.

Mayes Financial, located in Boise, Idaho, provides comprehensive financial planning and wealth management. Greg Mayes specializes in all aspects of financial health, including retirement planning, risk management, investment advice, tax strategies, estate planning and insurance.

Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice. The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessary reflect those of Planners Alliance.

Works Cited

Smith, Rachel K., Ashvin Vibhakar, and Andy Terry. "Demarcating designations: chartered financial analyst and certified financial planner." Journal of Financial Services Marketing 12.4 (2008): 299-310.
Personal financial planning attitudes study of grad students
Hamilton, Arthur J., and S. Brooks Marshall. "The Chartered Financial Analyst Certification: Implications for the Finance Curriculum." Journal of Financial Education (1987): 32-39.
The changing role of the financial planner part 1: From financial analytics to coaching and life planning
Board, Certified Financial Planner. Financial planning competency handbook. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.

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