The R.F.P. is the older (established in 1987) and more stringent of the two publicly monitored designations. All R.F.P.s must first demonstrate their competency, then abide by a code of ethics and adhere to rigorous practice standards as defined by the granting body, the Institute of Advanced Financial Planners (IAFP). Every R.F.P. must attest each year that financial planning is their primary vocation.
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Traditional financial advisors provide portfolio management coupled with financial planning services. Clients meet face-to-face with a dedicated financial planner to discuss their overall financial picture and inventory assets and liabilities. You can hire a financial advisor to craft an overall financial plan or one to achieve specific goals, such as investing for higher education. The office may outsource some of the tasks (and some even use robo-advisors to manage customer investment accounts).
In general, investment managers who have at least $25 million in assets under management (AUM) or who provide advice to investment companies offering mutual funds are required to be registered investment advisors (RIA). As a registered advisor, they must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and state securities administrators. It also means they accept the fiduciary duty to their clients. As a fiduciary, these advisors promise to act in their client's best interests or face criminal liability. Firms or advisors managing less than $25 million in assets typically register only in their states of operation.
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An investment manager is a person or company that manages an investment portfolio on behalf of a client. Investment managers come up with an investment strategy to meet a client’s goals, then use that strategy to decide how to divide the client’s portfolio among different types of investments, such as stocks and bonds. The manager buys and sells those investments for the client as needed, and monitors the portfolio’s overall performance.
Starting a business. Hanging an "open for business" sign on the door falls into what Hyers calls a "debt issue. Anytime you are taking on significant debt, that's a big deal," he says. "There is usually a debt stage in life for most people and it's often an overlooked time because the last thing someone wants to do when they are taking on debt is add an additional expense in the way of life insurance premiums." However, a life policy can prove invaluable in the event of an untimely demise, especially when you have dependents, Hyers adds. "When a business owner passes away prematurely, and there is no life insurance, it can oftentimes sink the business," he says. "There are no immediate assets to keep it going and too often there is not a succession plan."
A financial planner is a qualified investment professional who helps individuals and corporations meet their long-term financial objectives. Financial Planners do their work by consulting with clients to analyze their goals, risk tolerance, life or corporate stages and identify a suitable class of investments for them. From there they may set up a program to help the client meet those goals by distributing their available savings into a diversified collection of investments designed to grow or provide income as desired.