What is the difference between stockbrokers, accountants, and insurance brokers?

Stockbrokers are specifically versed in helping clients invest and grow their wealth through purchasing equities and other specific investment instruments. Accountants are able to give advice on taxes and tax strategies that can affect how much you must pay in taxes, what types of tax credits and deductions are available to you, and what you can do to limit your tax exposure in a given year. Insurance brokers are interested in selling policies to you as part of a larger investment strategy. Both stockbrokers and insurance brokers may earn commissions on what they recommend.

Why should I use a financial planner?

If you are too busy to invest the time and energy involved in researching the many financial options available to you, a planner may represent the one-stop source of information that you need. Also, using an outside adviser may help enforce the sort of discipline needed to reach your financial goals, and may help steer you in the right direction.

How important is experience in identifying a financial planner?

It is very important. Many years of experience across a wide variety of clients assures you that a financial planner should be able to give you proper advice.

Are investment advisers or financial planners required to have credentials or certifications?

No state or federal authority requires specific credentials in order to give advice. However, many states do require that people advising clients on financial matters pass some proficiency tests.

How important are certifications when it comes to choosing a financial planner?

Certifications are very important when it comes to choosing a financial planner. They demonstrate that he has gone through the necessary courses, examinations and continuing education, as well as the ethical training involved in the certification process. You should never use a financial planner who does not have such credentials.

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