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Kim Butler

Partners for Prosperity, Inc.

City:Mt. Enterprise

State: TX

I have 20+ years of handling alternative investments in cash, growth and income for clients nationwide.  I strive to help my clients with all things financial in every way possible over the phone and the web.  I own an alpaca farm which I enjoy working during my downtime.  I also enjoy gardening, writing and reading books.  I also train other advisors on Prosperity Economics.

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Selecting a Financial Advisor: What is a Financial Planner?

A financial planner helps investors take stock of their financial situation, set financial goals, implement strategies to achieve them, and measure program to ensure the financial plan is on track.

| BY Donald Liebenson

In selecting a financial advisor, Millionaires prize honesty and trustworthiness above all else. Nearly all (98 percent) rank these as the most important factor in choosing a new advisor, followed by transparency and being kept in the loop (93 percent), according to ongoing wealth level research conducted by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner. Of the more than 100 financial designations, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is one of the best known and trusted to satisfy these criteria.

A financial planner helps investors take stock of their financial situation, set financial goals, implement strategies to achieve them, and measure program to ensure the financial plan is on track.

A financial planner who carries a CFP designation has a bachelor’s degree, and has taken additional courses and passed a comprehensive exam administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, also known as the CFP Board. Candidates must demonstrate mastery of all aspects of financial planning, including investing, income tax strategies, estate and gift planning, retirement and insurance. The CFP Board also requires extensive experience in the financial planning field, and also completes an extensive background check on applicants.

A CFP-designated financial planner must also adhere to a code of ethics and best-practice standards. The planners bear a fiduciary duty, a legal relationship of trust which requires advisors to act in their clients’ best financial interests. To maintain the CFP certification, candidates must comply with continuing education requirements and renew their license every two years.

 “Most financial planners are investment advisors,” the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) notes, “but not all investment advisers are financial planners. Some financial planners assess every aspect of your financial life – including saving, investments, insurance, taxes, retirement and estate planning – and help you develop a detailed strategy or financial plan for meeting all your financial goals.”

Investors considering a financial planner are advised to first determine what services they need, and which types of financial professionals are qualified to deliver those services. Investors should also ask a potential advisor what services they are charging for, how much the services cost and how the professional gets paid. Other questions to ask a financial planner include experience, employment history, education, licenses and credentials. Investors can also ask whether the advisor is registered with the SEC, FINRA or state regulatory agency.

Investors can verify an advisor’s claims to a CFP certification by visiting the CFP Board website to make sure individuals are licensed and to obtain any disciplinary information about the individual.

About the Author

Donald Liebenson

Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.