Investment Advisors and Financial Planners: What’s the Difference?

Financial planners are a misunderstood player in the finance industry. Many believe a financial planner is just someone who manages and invests others’ funds. But while many financial planners do assist with investment criteria and decisions, there’s much more to the story.

Where does the myth come from? Probably the single most influential factor in the simplification of the industry is the media’s treatment of the profession. The “trust factor” with financial planners is often called into question. Stereotypical portrayals occur in film and on TV. Negative news events such as the 2008 recession and the Storm Financial scandal played a large role in fanning these flames. High-profile ad campaigns by large firms cloud it more by asserting that success is determined by just one factor: high return rates. While savvy investing is one service a planner performs, returns are only one benchmark of success. Others vary based entirely on an individual client’s goals and needs, and how those needs may change or flex over time in the life of an individual or business. The multiple roles a qualified and experienced financial planner plays, and the ethics practiced, thus go well beyond common public perceptions.

A broader measure of success A truly helpful financial planner knows that in order for a client to achieve success in the big picture, all the elements of planning and finance need to work together. This includes net worth, investment risk tolerance, debt management, retirement planning, estates, cash flow and much more. Good financial planners are in it with you for the long haul. They focus on your needs and interests over their own. And they are also interested in discussing and helping you plan the growth of your non-cash wealth (e.g. human, intellectual and social capital).

A genuine financial planner or CERTIFIED FINANICAL PLANNERTM PRACTITIONER can help you address a variety of financial needs, not just investments, just insurance or just taxes. They will use a holistic approach to meet your life goals through the proper management of your resources. Often a heavy emphasis is placed on financial statement preparation and analysis, insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning.

At GCW Capital Group, we also strive to protect your greatest asset of all… time. Because when all is said and done, the largest accumulation of wealth in the entire world can’t buy that today, tomorrow or any day in between.

GCW Capital, LLC is registered as an investment advisor with the SEC and only transacts business in states where it is properly registered or exempt from registration. Primary office located at 38 Lake Street, Hamburg, NY 14075. Before making any investment decisions, please contact our office at (716) 256-1682 or to obtain a copy of our firm ADV Part 2A for more information and fee schedules.