How many different financial planning certifications exist?

There are many different designations for financial planners. The most important are Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Fund

Is it important for a financial adviser to have clients like me?

Yes, the best financial planners understand and advise clients who share similar characteristics. You wouldn't want to engage a financial planner who specializes in the elderly if you are in your twenties and are relatively new to the workforce.

Specialist (CFS), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), and Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC).

What is a "Certified Financial Planner" (CFP)?

CFP holders are tested on their knowledge of over 100 areas of financial planning, including stocks, bonds, taxes, insurance, retirement planning, and estate planning. Candidates for this certification must also complete qualifying work experience, and adhere to the CFP Code of Ethics. The certification is granted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

What is a "Chartered Financial Analyst" (CFA)?

People who hold this certification have passed rigorous examinations, have a minimum of three years' work experience, extensive knowledge in such financial areas as ethics, portfolio management, securities analysis, and accounting, and must demonstrate integrity. The certification is offered by the CFA Institute.

What is a "Certified Fund Specialist" (CFS)?

A certified fund specialist accreditation means the adviser is an expert in mutual funds and the mutual fund industry. He has studied and been tested for his knowledge in portfolio management, dollar cost averaging, and annuities. If he has a license to buy and sell funds, he will also be able to purchase funds on behalf of his clients. The Institute of Business & Finance oversees the accreditation of a CFS.

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