What are the Differences Between a Financial Advisor and a Financial Planner?

What are the Differences Between a Financial Advisor and a Financial Planner?

Date: July 16, 2019,
In: About Us

The field of financial management is a wide one, and for every financial situation an individual or company may face, there is an advisor or planner who will gladly offer his or her services. Understanding the differences between these advisors, planners and counselors can help you find the right professional to help you in your specific situation.

At Harvest Financial Planning, LLC, we often encounter clients who are unsure of which type of financial professional will be best for their needs, and we work with clients to guide them toward the right services. Two of the most common types of financial professionals — Financial Advisor and Financial Planner — sound very similar but each covers a different area of finance and offers varying services as a result. The differences may seem confusing at first, but here’s a brief description of each:

Financial Advisor

An advisor, broadly, is anyone who can offer advice or counsel on an area of focus. Because of this general definition, advisor is sometimes used loosely, and unfortunately, it doesn’t tell you much on its own. Likewise, ‘financial’ refers to anything money-based. As a result, “financial advisor’ may be used to refer to any financial professional who can help advise you on your financial situation.

While this broad definition does allow for variety in the type and quality of services provided, a knowledgeable and experienced financial advisor can be a valuable resource in some situations. This term is an umbrella that covers many areas of financial assistance. In other words, financial planners are technically a type of financial advisor, though they have specialized in one particular area of finance.

Financial Planner

A financial planner fulfills a particular role and is generally more specialized than a financial advisor. Planners often act in an organizational role for individuals who are hoping to grow their assets or business. A financial planner will often help you define your long-term financial goals — such as planning for early retirement or creating multiple streams of income — and pursue them over time.

The financial planning process is different for each planner and client, and most planners help their clients draft a specific and personalized plan of action for working toward their goals. They then periodically follow up to assess their client’s progress toward those goals. As time goes by, plans may shift according to the needs or capabilities of the client and their business, requiring a reordering or changing of goals and steps in the process.

How Financial Planning Services Can Help You

When it comes to finances, whether you have a large portfolio with many assets or you’re just getting started, different financial professionals can offer you counsel in a diverse range of fields to help you better understand your options. Whether you’re interested in planning your retirement, or figuring out a succession plan, there is a financial professional who can help.

At Harvest Financial Planning, LLC, we offer a range of different financial services, including advising for both business and personal finances. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you.

*This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking investment advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.