These days it seems like just about everyone is an expert on something. Working in an office, you are bound to hear advice for just about anything ranging from raising an ant farm to zebra rug cleaning. As of late it seems, almost everyone has an opinion about your finances. Fortunately most of this advice comes in the way of "hindsight is 20/20″ comments. It doesn't take a genius to say that an easy fortune could have been made if you had had the foresight to buy Wal-Mart's stock umpteen years ago. Once in a while you will also probably get some armchair Wall Street analyst who claims that he will let you in on the greatest financial secrets of the modern era. Now whether you are advised to pick up a goose that lays golden eggs or told to invest in the Iraq Dinar, your next step should be to "listen" closely and forget quickly. Your future is better off left in the hands of a professional.
A financial planner is basically a professional who offers consulting services to individuals based on their short and long term financial needs. Their most valuable service is providing investment, budgeting and future planning advice for you and your family. The whole goal of a financial planner is to increase and maximize a person's net worth by making sure that their assets are allocated in a variety of areas. Other services provided include retirement planning. Often times retirement planning can seem like a daunting task. Under the tutelage of a planner though, it can be smooth sailing as you plan exactly where you want to be at retirement, and then create a plan that can make it possible. A financial planner typically takes into account your current situation and whether or not you are at a point where a certain level of risk is acceptable or whether you need a slow but steady growth plan. A planner will help to establish realistic goals that don't require major life changes... unless, of course, that is what you are looking for. Most planners today recommend a diverse portfolio. The long-term retirement plan should include investments on several different fronts.
Investment advisors are another type of financial professional who offer an invaluable service for the conscientious investor. Investment advisors should not be confused with stockbrokers. An investment advisor, much like a financial planner has your best interests in mind. Under law, investment advisors are required to pass a series of exams and must adhere to a code of ethics. This serves as protection because the advisor must fully disclose anything that could be considered a conflict of interest. They are required to work with their client's best interest in mind which could be contrasted with a stockbroker whose only responsibility to the client is to complete the sale of stock and earn his commission. Most financial planners are in fact, registered as investment advisors with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Advice can be found everywhere you turn, but for those interested in a stable financial future, the advice provided by a financial planner can be a good and safe bet.