Certified Financial Planners

Certified Financial Planners are licensed by the Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards and members of the Financial Planning Association. They work with a code of ethics, pay an annual licensing fee and have to pass a ten hour examination and have 3 years experience as an assistant to a Certified Financial Planner or as a planner themselves. They are required to renew their license every two years and take continuing education courses.

You should always check to see if a planner is licensed before you contact them. The Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards is similar to the Federal Bar Association; they will let you know if a license has been suspended, revoked or if it has lapsed.

It’s important to choose a CFP who is a fiduciary. The word fiduciary refers to a professional that advises you of financial products that are in your best interest whether they benefit him or her. Certified financial planners who sell insurance, mutual funds or securities probably are not fiduciaries. They adhere to a “suitability” standard; that means that they are supposed to “reasonably” believe the products they recommend that you buy are beneficial to you. The best way to be sure you have a fiduciary is to choose an attorney, a Certified Public Accountant or a registered investment advisor (RIA). You will often find that these three professionals are also certified financial planners.

Another thing to consider is the fee structure. These vary with different planners, depending on their experience and the area in which they operate. A certified financial planner with twenty years of experience will naturally charge more than one who has just started in the business. Some charge a flat fee or a retainer; others charge a percentage of your assets or income. You can also find those who charge by the hour or by the project. If you only want one or two visits to be sure you’re on the right track you will probably benefit from an hourly fee.

Once you’ve checked out a certified financial planner’s qualifications and legitimacy, it’s important that you interview him or her. This is when you find out if they are a good fit for your needs. If they try to sell you stocks or funds right off the bat, they are probably not interested in your financial health. On the other hand, if they discuss your financial goals, overall finances, managing taxes and other strategies they are good candidates for hire. Try to avoid certified financial planners who work on commission; such people depend on sales volume and don’t often make recommendations that are in your best interest.

Some certified financial planners specialize in specific areas while others work on your general financial health. Some are cautious, others are aggressive and some will work only with clients that have a certain net worth or more.

You may not need to retain a certified financial planner permanently but it’s a good idea to have a financial checkup every couple of years to make sure you’re on the right track. Whoever you choose, ask for a written agreement that details the fees charged and services provided and keep it for your records.

5 Advantages to Using a Financial Planner

Many people do not use financial planners because they are not sure of the advantages, but financial planners have become more popular with many people looking to secure their future. A financial planner is there to help you secure your future so that as you age and enter retirement, you are going to have a nice nest egg built. In addition, they help you with your finances in the here and now to make better choices and better investments.

1. One of the biggest advantages to using a financial planner is they have the expertise to help you make the best financial decisions based on your situation. This is especially true when you go through various life changes, which is where a financial adviser can help you most.

2. When you are using a financial advisor for stock investments, they can save you a lot of time because if the stocks is their expertise, they know which ones are a good bet and which ones are not. This means you do not have to do the research, your financial advisor can do all the groundwork and help you create a diversified and health portfolio.

3. When the market is at its most volatile, a financial advisor can help you make the correct choices of where to move your money or if leaving it where it is makes the most sense. In addition, you can expect your financial advisor to have the answers to your most difficult questions concerning your finances.

4. When you first hire a financial advisor, he or she will get a feeling of what your current financial situation is and what your long-term financial goals are. This helps them to put together a plan of action that works best for your situation.

5. A good financial advisor will always be on top of your investments and will likely be the first one to call you if they know of any changes. In addition, they can make changes to your portfolio based on changes in your life, such as a new baby and how that will affect your finances now and in the future.

Final Thoughts

When you serious about your finances and your financial future, it makes sense to hire a financial advisor because they have the specialized skills to know what works best for your situation. Financial planning is not a one size fits all type of situation because everyone’s finances are different and the often vary from one year to the next. Financial advisors are trained to work with fluctuating incomes and fluctuating economies to ensure you will get the most bang for your buck and have a brighter financial future.

Who is a Financial Planner?

I remember my friends Amit once telling me that he gets confused with the number of investment options available in the market today. Moreover, he also complained that he was mis-sold a ULIP without an explanation of all the charges. He didn’t know whom to trust and rely upon, who could actually give him unbiased advice. Hence, I referred him to my financial planner who could give him the best possible advice. He was not sure who is a financial planner and what does he do. So I started my verbal journey to explain him who is a financial planner?

He…

- Is your financial doctor; He analyzes your current financial situation, your past and present finances, salary and other incomes, expenses, your risk profile, personal assets and liabilities, family and dependents, health status etc. and accordingly makes a plan for you to achieve your financial goals in a systematic manner.

- Makes you realize your financial goals: Every individual wants to provide great education for kids and live a happy retired life but less do they understand about other financial goals like a foreign trip, emergency medical expenses, a car purchase etc. A financial planner makes us realise such goals and help us in accumulating funds to achieve such goals on time.

- Qualified to handle personal finances: A financial planner has the relevant expertise required to manage finances of an individual. He is regularly updated with market trends, does a lot of research about different investment options in the market, different polices and at last advices the policy that best suits you.

- Reviews risk profile: He ascertains your risk profile and suggests a proper asset allocation. He educates you about how to manage the risk of loss of your life. Plans for an easy flow of future finances required to meet your long term goals.

Unbiased advice:
Unlike an insurance agent who sells the products of one company, a financial planner has no such limitations. He understands a customers requirements/needs, researches about different products in the market and accordingly suggests the product the best suites his requirement.

Ongoing relationship:
He does not discontinue his services after submitting your financial plan. He reviews your financial plan on a timely basis and rebalances your portfolio as per prevailing market conditions, change in your family etc.

Financial Planners, New York

Financial markets, all over the world, are rather complex in their mechanism. While everyone wishes to make profitable investments, not all can manage to do so. In New York finance markets too, investors can potentially make large profits. However, the risk of incurring losses remains as well. A common investor (and especially those without much prior experience in financial decision-making) needs to hire the services of a professional New York financial planner, in order to be able to make informed choices of investment projects. Indeed, a qualified New York financial planner can easily help his/her clients adopt the correct and profitable investment strategies, which often prove to be beneficial in the long run.

In New York, finding a financial planner is rather simple. Potential investors have a large number of firms providing financial advisor services. This saves investors the trouble of wondering how to choose a financial planner. Some of the prominent New York financial planners from which clients can make a choice are:

i) Programmed Financial Planning,

ii) GunnAllen Financial Services,

iii) Prince Financial Planning,

iv) Ravenswood Capital Group,

v) Northwestern Mutual Financial,

vi) Genworth Financial,

vii) Raymond James Financial Services,

viii) Smith Barney,

ix) Ameriprise Financial, and

x) Cowan Financial Group

Financial planners can help a great deal in choosing profitable investment projects for their clients. Advisors generally have a wealth of experience in dealing with financial instruments to bank upon, which makes them well-equipped to serve their clients. The financial stability and well-being of an investor is the primary focus of any good financial advisor, making them a valuable asset for the former.

However, in order to derive the maximum benefits from hiring a New York financial planner, the clients need to follow certain broad guidelines as well. First and foremost, they need to be certain of the exact nature of financial help that they require. Financial advisors can be grouped into various sub-classes, each performing specific and unique financial functions. Among the most popular financial consultants are certified financial planners, chartered financial consultants, personal financial analyst, registered investment advisor and chartered financial analyst. Each of them serve different customer needs; thereby making the choice of the correct type of finance advisor an absolute must for investors.

Investors also need to pass on complete information regarding their current financial status to their financial planners. Unless the former does so, advisors would not be able to find the best strategies for his/her clients. Expert finance planners are also adept at estimating the potential risk-preference (i.e., the ability to take risks for higher profits) of investors. Clients also need to have a clear idea about their target rates of return that they want from their investments. Such information must then be supplied to financial advisors, who can then design the investment strategies in the ideal way to meet the targeted return rates.

In New York, there are certain unique financial regulations that are worth mentioning. House-building projects are supported with special tax-free bonds (approved by the state Congress). This feature gives a major boost to all construction projects, which would be eligible to receive the tax-exempted bonds, with values up to $ 8 billion. This is a relatively recent financial feature that has been ratified in New York, presumably in response the 9/11 attacks, and its financial repercussions.

5 Things to Consider While Selecting a Financial Planner

Unlike someone calling himself a CPA or a physician, just about anyone can call himself a “financial planner” or a “financial advisor” regardless of their educational background and professional experience. Moreover, not all of them are unbiased in their advice and not all of them always act in their clients’ best interests.

To ensure your financial planner is well-qualified in personal finances and impartial in his advice, consider the following five things:

1. Planning Credentials: Having a highly-regarded credential in financial planning, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), confirms that the professional you intend to work with has acquired the education and experience necessary to serve as a financial planner. CFP and PFS credentials are awarded to only those individuals who have met the certification requirements of education and experience in planning for personal finances. In addition, they have to pass the certification examinations and agree adhere to the practice standards and continuing education requirements.

2. Subject Matter Expertise: Financial planners are planning professionals, not necessarily subject matter experts. For example, a financial planner will be skilled in tax analysis and planning,but unlike a Certified Public Account (CPA) or an IRS Enrolled Agent (EA) he might not necessarily be a subject matter expert when it comes to tax rules Similarly,a he could be skilled in chalking out an investment plan, but unlike a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) he may not be an authority in the subject of investments. Work with a financial planner who is also a subject matter expert in those areas of personal finance that are important in achieving your financial goals.

3. Client Specialization: Not all financial planners serve all types of clients. Most specialize in serving only certain types of clients with specific profiles. For example, a personal planner may build his expertise and customize his services to serve only those individuals and families who are in certain professions, or a particular stage of life with specific financial goals and net worth. Ask whether the planner specializes in serving only certain types of clients with specific profiles to determine whether he is the right fit for your situation and financial goals.

4. Fee structure: The fee structure largely determines whose interests he serves best – his client’s or his own. A Fee-Only professional charges only fees for their advice whereas a Fee-Based professional not only charges fees but also earns commissions, referral fees and other financial incentives on the products and solutions they recommend for you. Consequently, the advice from a fee-only one is more likely to be unbiased and in your best interests than the advice from a fee-based financial planner. Work with a professional whose fee structure is conflict-free and aligned to benefit you.

5. Availability: He or she should be regularly available, attentive, and accessible to you. Ask the planner how many clients he currently serves and the maximum number of clients he is planning to serve in the future regularly. This clients-to-planner ratio is one of the key factors in assessing your planner’s availability to you in the future. Also, ask which planning activities are typically performed by the planner and which ones are delegated to a para planner or other junior staff members. Lastly, make sure the planner is easily accessible via phone and email during normal business hours.

Once you have shortlisted a few well-qualified and unbiased financial planners in your local area, consult the ones who offer a FREE initial consultation first. During the initial consultation, assess the planner’s availability and any other professional attributes you are seeking in your financial planner.

Having a well-qualified and unbiased financial planner by your side is extremely important in your journey towards your financial goals. When searching for one, consider the planner’s professional credentials, client specialization, subject matter expertise, fee structure, and availability to select the right financial planner for your needs.

Financial Planner – Your Financial Guide

Today everyone might accept that proper allocation of money is very much needed to avoid strenuous financial crisis in your personal as well as professional life. In this regard a financial planner can guide you the best to arrange your financial issues through proper planning. They can help you to manage your cash flow, education planning, investment planning, retirement planning, risk management and insurance planning, tax planning, estate planning and business succession planning (for business owners). Presently the demand is so huge that anyone can build up a successful career and earn attractive remuneration in this profession. So we have to know who can become a financial planner.

How to become a financial planner

Minimum educational requirement to enter into this profession is a master’s or a bachelor’s degree in disciplines like Finance, Economics, Statistics, Accounting, Business Administration or any other relevant discipline. Moreover, graduates of other disciplines or even after completing high school exam one can become a planner. To become a certified professional all sorts of students have to attend certification classes and after successfully qualifying the Certification Exam, known as CEF one can establish as a recognized Financial Planner.

Job as a planner

Now, we have to remember that they specialize in the planning aspects of finance, in particular personal finance, and it is restricted within limited resources. In contrast with a stock broker who is generally concerned with the investments, or with a life insurance intermediary who advises on risk products, financial planning’ chiefly deal with individuals. Therefore, as a financial planner you have to determine an individual’s financial goals, purposes in life and life’s priorities, and after properly judging his resources, risk profile and current lifestyle, prescribing a balanced and realistic plan in order to meet all the goals successfully.

People’s expectations

People’s expectations from these planners are:

Most of the people are unable to find direction and meaning in their financial decisions, and they wish that financial planners will help them to create the greatest possibilities of achieving all financial goals within the estimated time.
Moreover, they wish to get clear idea how each financial decision affects other areas of finance.
And finally adopt a life style that allow them to feel financially balanced for longer period of time and to have a frequently-updated sensible plan in order to avoid any major unexpected financial event.

Some well known organizations

Some of the well known financial planning organizations are: Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM), one of the largest growing which focuses on developing critical relationship management skills for them and advisors. Another organization is European Financial Planner (EFP), the largest professional and educational organization for those and financial advisors in Europe, and this is the lone Financial Planning Association created solely in the interest of European financial planning consumers and practitioners.

So, if you are struggling to get a job but wishing to gain huge success in your professional career, choose the profession and feel the change. It is found that in America alone the demand of it has increased upto 27 percent this year and still increasing. Don’t wait much, just become a financial planner and get promising and rewarding job.

Tips On Becoming A Financial Planner

Due to the economy and the unemployment rate a lot of people have been focusing on their finances and seeking ways to maximize their savings and income. The demand for financial planners has increased due to fact that individuals are looking for guidance from a financial planning professional who has the skills and knowledge to help them meet their financial goals. So to say the least, if you are looking toward financial planning as your career the outlook is very good.

Becoming a Financial Planner

If you enjoy math, are somewhat analytical and fascinated with investing than a career in financial planning may be a good fit for you. Your career in financial planning is going to start in college; you really should look towards a bachelor’s degree in finance, math, economics, accounting or statistics. Once you graduate you can expect to take several courses in estate planning, tax law, investment planning, and finance law are going to be advantageous in your career path towards becoming a financial planner. Once you feel that you have taken a sufficient amount of extra-curricular courses, and feel you are properly prepared to take the next step towards your financial planning career the next course of action would be to study for your Certified Financial Planner certification. The CFP certification is issued by an organization called the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. The actual exam covers a wide array of subjects revolving around finance, subjects such as employee benefits planning, debt management, tax law (as it relates to investments), and insurance & risk management.

Even though it’s not necessary to have your Certified Financial Planners (CFP) designation to become a financial planner if you’re looking to get hired at a company as a financial planner, most companies only hire individuals that have their CFP. In most cases having your CFP designation most likely means that you have-at a minimum-a bachelor’s degree, 3 years of financial planning under your belt, have taken financial planning courses, and have passed your CFP exam. It’s going to be pretty hard to get in the door of most places or to get hired by an individual if you don’t have these qualifications at a minimum.

If you are looking to further advance your financial planning career you might want to look into pursuing a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designation. You can’t jump right into this designation; it requires that you have experience and that you study a program consisting of eight-courses in all.

Other Aspects To Consider

Having a college degree is essential in a career as a financial counselor, but if you possess the vital interpersonal skills and represent solid communication skills it will help you in your financial planning career. If you are lucky enough to have your degree, and posses the necessary interpersonal personality traits, once you throw in your CFP certification in the mix you will end up being a very successful financial planner.

Successful financial planners are also very analytical, problem solvers and have the ability to quickly asses a financial profile so they can make recommendations and suggestion in regards to better their clients financial situation. Assessing a client’s adversity to risk, income levels, and time horizons to reach their goals are essential pieces to becoming a successful financial planner. So if you’re looking into becoming a successful financial planner these are things that you should definitely look into.

How to Find the Best Financial Planner

How do you go about finding the best financial planner for your money? Well, like many people, you are probably very skittish when it comes to trusting just anyone with your money and for good reason. However, the skittishness could work to your advantage, when it comes to finding the best financial planner.

In these times, any person walking down the street can proclaim themselves a financial planner, the key is to knowing the good from the bad. Many people have found the market for financial planners is strong because the demand grows with each passing day for financial product advice as people are readying themselves for retirement and other issues become more complex.

Attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, and brokers are all becoming financial planners in addition to their current titles; this may not mean they have your best interests at heart either. This may come at a surprise to you; however, as unfortunate as it is, it is a reality. It is extremely important that you conduct full research to avoid running into an instance where your money has suddenly disappeared without an explanation.

It is also important that you keep in mind, just because a person claims to be a financial planner, does not mean that they have guidelines, or processes that they follow. Therefore, the first thing you must do is find potential financial planners. This can be done easily by searching online, using your favorite search engine, and locating financial planners organizations or you could also talk to you friends, family members, or colleagues and find out whom they recommend. It is important that you trust the judgment of any person you are seeking advice from, when it comes to finding the best financial planner.

After you have gathered a list of prospective financial planners, it is time to start contacting them. Telephone contact should be the first step, through this contact you can ask a variety of questions and eliminate those that do not meet your needs. Some things you should paying attention to during these telephone calls include if they sound to rushed, you will want to dismiss them as potentials. Furthermore, if their asset minimums are simply too much for you, you should dismiss them as well.

Personal and in person meetings are required before you decide on the best financial planner. You will not simply want to make a decision based on telephone conversations and contact. Meeting with the financial planner yourself is the only way to fully determine if you feel good about that specific person. It is suggested that you have at least three meetings before making a decision.

During the meetings, in order to help you determine who the best financial planner is ask the following questions. How many years have you been a financial planner? Do you have any specialty areas? Educational Funding? Estate Planning? You should also be asking what their typical client has in financial and assets needs. This question will help you determine if they are the best financial planner for you.

6 Best Ways To Get A Christian Finance

Christian Finance is a concept which is based on the Biblical perceptions to help teach believers their stewardship duties and to be a responsible Christian investor with their money. There are many Christian Finance principles based on Biblical affiliation such as goals, budgeting, debt elimination, saving, financial management, tithing, and giving.

There is a ministry such as Crown Financial Concepts who offers numerous books and small group studies on stewardship financial management. There are also many Christian Finance scholars available who conducts stewardship seminars and workshops based on timeless truths about how to manage their money with Christians at local churches.

Along with the teaching ministry, there are many financial institutions which are fee only financial planners that combine their Christian faith along with traditional financial services standards. They also use Christian Finance concepts to administer investment accounts for Christian values and always try to avoid investments that conflict with their client’s Christian beliefs.

” Best ways to get a Christian Finance #1 – Identify your needs – Simply contacting a Christian Finance planner is not enough. Prior to that you need to identify what you need from your consultant. This would include the type of home you would like to own, the savings that you can invest, the monthly repayments that you can afford and the value that you want out of the deal. All your transactions can then be managed with the biblically based investment advice.

” Best ways to get a Christian Finance #2 – Get the best Christian Finance planning firm – The best Christian Financial Planning firm will help you to organize and manage the money with investment advice which are steeped in traditional values and traditional financial planning techniques. A Christian Finance planning firm is needed to help the fellow believing clients in two areas. (1. So that they are able to offer advice with solid moral Biblically based advice. 2, they can use their education and experience to provide the best advice available)

” Best ways to get a Christian Finance #3 – Be aware – It pays to be aware. Do your research on the local real estate options as well as history so that you are familiar with the area and the projects that are on the platter. It is important to ask your Christian Finance advisor to walk you through the various properties and neighborhoods so that you can study their pros and cons yourself.

” Best ways to get a Christian Finance #4 – Be up to date regarding the Christian financial services – Before you invest, you should be thoroughly up to date with the latest trends in the Christian Finance offers. This will help you decide what is best for you and your situation and assist in your long term finance plan.

” Best ways to get a Christian Finance #5 – Choose the best option – Your advisor will give you several options to choose from. Make sure you evaluate them all against your finance situation and your property needs. You should opt for the program which is most comfortable even if it runs into a longer tenure. It is better to pay smaller amounts for a longer duration than hurry with repayments only to default on the mortgage which will result in the loss of your home.

” Best ways to get Christian Finance #6 – Get the best lawyer – Though based on the Christian belief, you should also keep in mind that this is primarily a financial investment. So it is always advisable to get the best lawyer who is not only be well equipped to handle Christian Finance but will also advise and guide you through the intricate maze of real estate investment in general.

Tips To Choose A Personal Finance Planner

Management of finance is something an individual should personally take care of; however, sometimes it becomes impossible for people to manage their finances for themselves. For helping people to manage their finances there are professionals called as Personal Finance Planners who can efficiently handle the financial issues of people. They can help people on matters pertaining to insurance, investments and budgeting. Some finance planners can offer advice; however some of them work with the objective of selling some finance products. Therefore, a reliable planner should be selected and here are some useful tips for choosing a planner:

Set your goals: When a person wishes to seek the help of a financial planner, it is better to clear himself of his objectives. He will have to decide whether he is going to continue his work or is he going to do some business to decide his future finance requirements.

Recommendations: Before arriving at a decision with respect to the finance planner, it is better to get recommendations from friends and relatives about the best planner.

Interview: It is better not to go with the first found planner, rather you can find some two or three planners and interview them and select a person, who can clearly understand your financial requirements and future financial plans.

Firm or individual: It is better to decide whether to get the help of an individual personal financial planner or a firm. When selecting a firm for that matter, they will be having more than a single professional; however, the fee charged by these companies will be higher as compared to an individual planner.
Credential: Credentials of a financial planner can clearly explain his/her ability. Only when a certified personnel is selected, he will be in a position to offer advice on different financial topics.

Fee: One of the most important factors to consider is the fee charged by planners. It is better to collect information in advance with respect to the fee to be paid to them. Some planners charge a flat fee, while others sell some finance products on commission basis. If the fee charged is too steep, it is better to negotiate.
Philosophy of the planner: Some planners would be aggressive when it comes to investment of your money, while some might be conservative. Irrespective of their nature, they should be efficient in offering advice that will be suitable for your financial situation.