As a financial professional who has been practicing for over 20 years, I have become very popular lately at networking events and parties due to the current economic climate. One of the questions that I hear almost every day is: Who should I turn to for help with my financial decisions?

While the answer may seem simple, it is anything but. Some turn to friends and family, however, this advice (while good intentioned) often lacks context. Over the years, I’ve gained an appreciation for how complex and unique each individual’s finances are, so what may have worked for a friend or family member may not be appropriate for everyone. Furthermore, not everyone has a trusted family member or friend to turn to. This is why many folks turn to financial professionals, but unfortunately, the term “financial planner” or “financial advisor” doesn’t have a single meaning across the industry. Consumers are left largely uninformed and confused.

At last count, there are somewhere around 200 financial designations that can be obtained and marketed to financial professionals. Many of these designations are inadequate representations of a person’s actual skills and experience.  Let’s take a look at a few key things employers and investors consider before looking for someone to deliver financial consulting services.

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