Broker Check

Financial Advisor vs. Financial Planner

April 05, 2024

In the world of personal finance, the terms 'financial advisor' and 'financial planner' are often used interchangeably. In this article, we’ll delve into the differences between the two and explore when to seek guidance from each.

What is a Financial Advisor?

A financial advisor provides investment advice, portfolio management, and financial planning services to individuals, families, and businesses. They may specialize in retirement planning, estate planning, tax planning, and risk management. Financial advisors typically help clients navigate complex financial decisions and create strategies to achieve their financial goals.

Financial advisors may hold various credentials, such as Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), to name a few. They may work independently or as part of a financial advisory firm, and their compensation structure can vary, including fee-based, fee-only, or commission-based arrangements.

When To Get a Financial Advisor?

  • If you need help managing your investment portfolio and optimizing your asset allocation.
  • If you’re planning for retirement and need assistance with retirement income planning, Social Security optimization, and tax-efficient withdrawal strategies.
  • If you’re navigating complex financial decisions, such as buying a home, starting a business, or managing inheritance or windfall.

What is a Financial Planner?

A financial planner is a professional who focuses on comprehensive financial planning, including budgeting, savings, investments, insurance, retirement, and estate planning. They take a holistic approach to financial management, considering all aspects of a client’s financial situation and goals.

Financial planners often hold credentials such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), which requires rigorous training and examination in various areas of financial planning. They work closely with clients to develop personalized financial plans tailored to their unique circumstances and objectives. Financial planners may also provide ongoing guidance and support to help clients implement and adjust their financial strategies over time. 

When to Get a Financial Planner?

  • If you’re looking for comprehensive financial planning services that address all aspects of your financial life.
  • If you need help developing a long-term financial strategy that aligns with your goals and values.
  • If you’re going through significant life transitions, such as getting married, starting a family, changing careers, or planning retirement.


While both financial advisors and financial planners play valuable roles in helping individuals achieve their financial goals, it’s essential to understand the distinctions between the two and determine which professional best suits your needs. Whether you’re seeking investment guidance, comprehensive financial planning, or specialized advice, finding the right advisor or planner can provide you with the guidance and support needed to navigate your financial journey confidently and clearly.

Ready to Schedule a Meeting?

Click here or the photo below to schedule an in-person, virtual, or phone call meeting.

We look forward to working with you!