So you’re at the point where you’ve made the wise decision to seek professional advice from a financial advisor to aid you in successfully navigating your financial situation.  How do you go about selecting the right advisor for you?  There are several important credentials you should look for when selecting an advisor depending on what type of financial advice you seek.

Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

For all-encompassing financial planning advice, the most important credential to look for is the Certified Financial Planner designation, or CFP®.  A CFP® can help you evaluate your financial situation from five different perspectives: estate planning, taxes, investments, retirement, and insurance, in order to give you a complete picture of your finances.  Additionally, it is important that all CFP® holders are fiduciaries, meaning they must act in your best interest.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA)

As far as retirement investing goes, a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or a Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) will be able to provide the best quality investment advice to ensure your portfolio is aligned with your goals.  Many people have portfolios that are not aligned with their risk tolerance; therefore it is important to have your risk tolerance and current asset allocation analyzed by a fiduciary professional to make sure you are on track for meeting your goals and investing in the best investments for retirement.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

If you’d like tax planning advice, you should look for a Certified Public Accountant.  Choosing an advisor who is able to not only help you make financial decisions but also analyze the tax implications of those decisions is crucial to financial success.  An advisor who is also a CPA will also be able to help you select the best tax saving strategies for your individual situation.

Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)

A Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) is a CPA with both extensive tax expertise and comprehensive knowledge of financial planning.  This credential is the most ideal in that it provides you with the most valuable, objective advice possible.  Each area of financial planning has tax implications, and a PFS is equipped to provide outstanding guidance.

Certified Specialist in Estate Planning (CSEP)

Learning and understanding the legacy aspects of your financial decisions is just as important as planning for retirement and a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning (CSEP) has taken additional coursework and corresponding exams to have gained specialized knowledge in estate planning.  A CSEP is an ideal choice if you need assistance in planning your estate.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate degree obtained by those who wish to develop a deeper understanding of how to run a business.  An MBA has taken focused coursework in accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, and operation management.  This credential signifies that the graduate has a broad understanding of how to run an efficient business, or in this case, a financial planning firm.

The D3 Financial Counselors staff has all of these credentials collectively as a result of a strong focus on education and continuing education for employees.   Having a broad educational background allows D3 to better serve you by helping you evaluate all aspects of your financial situation.  If you have any questions about your financial situation and would like expert advice from a highly qualified staff that is independent and fee-only, contact D3 Financial Counselors to schedule an appointment.


-Kirsten Price MBA