What is a Financial Consultant Versus a Financial Advisor?

What is a Financial Consultant Versus a Financial Advisor?

The average person understandably confuses financial consultants with financial advisors.  The mainstream media rarely distinguishes the nuanced differences between these professionals.  However, financial consultants are not exactly the same as financial advisors.  These two professionals have similar roles in the context of personal financial services yet there are some subtle differences of note.  

Let’s take a look at the specific differences between financial consultants and financial advisors and detail how these professionals can help pre-retirees and retirees in the greater Chicago, IL area.

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An Inside Look at Financial Consultants

Financial consultants are those who provide financial advice custom-tailored to each unique client.  Financial consultants can either be self-employed or work for a firm.  Financial consultant clients range from everyday people to businesses.  This professional’s advice may make it easier for investors to grow their retirement savings and investment portfolio. 

Financial consultants provide everything from financial planning guidance to information that helps clients make better decisions pertaining to insurance, advice pertaining to specific investments, and general financial advice.  Financial consultants commonly direct the buying/selling of investments ranging from stocks to mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, CDs, money market accounts, and other investment vehicles.  Some financial consultants even sell financial products to boot.

Financial consultants meet with clients to evaluate their nuanced financial situation.  This in-depth review provides the information necessary to provide recommendations pertaining to financial strategies and specific investments.  Financial consultants also meet with clients after those individuals have a significant life change such as retiring, changing jobs, getting married, getting divorced, having a child, etc.   


How Financial Consultants Differ From Financial Advisors

Though the terms “financial consultant” and “financial advisor” are often used interchangeably, these terms are not exactly one and the same.  Both professionals help people make well-informed and truly educated financial decisions with a focus on decisions pertaining to investing.  However, it is best to think of financial consultants as those who provide services as personal financial advisors.  

“Personal” is the operative word.  Financial consultants provide personalized advice that helps individuals build their wealth through the creation of idiosyncratic and comprehensive financial strategies.  In short, they analyze clients’ personal financial situations in the same manner that analysts view and analyze comparably large financial systems.  

Financial consultants’ work emphasizes strategic decision-making in the context of personal finance and investing, the creation of detailed financial action plans, and rebalancing those plans based on economic changes and clients’ life changes.  

Furthermore, some financial consultants also provide financial planning services.  However, most financial consultants are primarily focused on the buying/selling of specific investments for clients.  The overarching goal of a financial consultant is to transform complex financial concepts into lucrative strategies and then execute those strategies.  

Financial consultants often work with investment managers, accountants, and other professionals to help clients in a truly comprehensive manner.  However, the majority of a financial consultant’s time is spent educating clients.  In fact, some financial consultants even host events and seminars to share information and industry updates with clients.  

In contrast, financial advisors assist clients in their quest to comprehend the nuances of personal finance, improve their financial situation and create plans to meet both long-term and short-term financial goals.  Financial advisors provide helpful advice to individuals who are trying to save for college, save for retirement, invest savings and accumulate capital to cover expenses.  Financial advisors often meet with clients who are preparing for significant life changes such as transitioning to a new job, adopting a child, etc. They may also be licensed to sell products such as life insurance, annuities, or 529 plans.


Financial Consultants and Financial Advisors are More Similar Than Different

In summary, financial consultants and financial advisors are fairly similar to one another yet are not exactly the same.  The distinction between these two often differs based on their specific role within their overarching organization.  Furthermore, if you were to ask professionals in the field of finance as to what the differences are between these two professionals, you would likely be provided with varying answers.  In fact, some financial professionals insist there is no difference between financial advisors and financial consultants.  

Others who work in the field of finance are adamant the primary difference between these two professionals is the length of time invested in relationships with clients.  Financial consultants work closely with clients to address highly specific financial hurdles and goals in a timely manner.  

There is the potential for financial consultants and clients to end the relationship after these pressing issues are addressed.  Alternatively, financial advisors commonly work with individuals and family units across a lengthy period of time, often consisting of several years.  

This ongoing assistance with financial management proves helpful both in the present moment and also in the context of planning for a successful financial future.  This means financial advisors often perform a deeper dive into client finances than financial consultants.


You Need and Deserve Financial Advice Custom-tailored to Your Situation

What matters most is that you are provided with financial advice tailored to your personal financial challenges and life situation.  Pre-retirees and retirees in the greater Chicago, IL area are encouraged to work with a fiduciary CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional.  Schedule an initial consultation with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional, listen closely to this professional’s expert advice, and continue to meet with him or her across posterity for ongoing financial guidance.  

Your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional’s advice has the potential to make the difference between early retirement and working deep into your 60s or early 70s.  Heed the advice of your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional, continue to tap into this expert’s knowledge base, act accordingly and you will rest easy knowing you have done everything in your power to expand your nest egg, ultimately setting the stage for an enjoyable retirement.

At Prism Planning Partners, we are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™️ Professionals committed to facilitating important questions so that we can help you explore all of your opportunities. We offer a broad array of financial planning and consulting services for our clients-including retirement, investment, and estate planning.

Contact us today and let us illuminate your possibilities!

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Prism Planning Partners, LLC dba Prism Planning Partners is a Registered Investment Adviser. This article was produced by Paladin Digital Marketing, an entity unrelated to Prism Planning Partners and may not necessarily reflect the expertise of this financial advisor. This publication is not intended to provide investment advice and is intended for your information only. Opinions and forward-looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. Information based upon third-party sources and data are believed to be accurate and reliable, but we do not warrant or guarantee the timeliness or accuracy of this information. All domestic and international rights are reserved. No part of this publication including text, graphics, et al, may be reproduced or copied in any format, electronic, print, et al, without written consent from Prism Planning Partners. Neither Prism Planning Partners, nor its investment advisor representatives provide legal or tax advice. Please be advised to consult your investment advisor, attorney or tax professional before making any investment decisions. 
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