The Different Types of Financial Advisors

Picking a financial advisor is a very important decision. 

You want that person to be qualified and experienced with a great track record.  

One way to evaluate potential financial advisors is to get a brief understanding of what types of financial advisors are available. 

Retirement Planners 

Retirement planners are focused on creating a retirement investment strategy that will ensure that you have enough money to live at your comfort level during retirement. 

They help savers maximize employer provided retirement funds as well as creating additional savings and investment plans – all aimed towards a smooth retirement. 

Investment Planners 

Investment planners work to help their clients decide where to invest their money. 

Typically, this type of financial advisor provides advice on bonds, stocks, mutual funds or other investing strategies. 

Investment planners may offer a stand-alone service, but most often will work as part of a brokerage firm. 


This is one of the most common and widely known type of financial advisor. CFP stands for certified financial planner. 

Having a CFP designation signals that an advisor has attained certain standards of education and experience in the financial planning industry. 

Different Types of Financial AdvisorsImage Source: BigStock

In order to receive the CFP designation, financial advisors must pass a test which requires comprehensive knowledge across a broad range of financial planning topics. 

In addition to the educational and experiential requirements that members must achieve, they are also held to an ongoing code of ethics, and must consistently undergo ongoing education. 

All-in-One Change Management Tools

Top Rated Toolkit for Change Managers.

Get Your Change Management Tool Today...

Bank Affiliated Financial Advisors 

Banks also employee financial planners.

Although these type of financial advisors do not have to be CFP certified, many of them are. 

These financial planners work strictly for clients of their banks, and provide a wide range of advisory services. 


The CFA, or certified financial analyst, certification is one of the more difficult type of financial advising certifications to obtain. 

To get this credential, you have to obtain much more in depth knowledge about the investment markets than that which is required by some of the other types of certifications. 

People with CFA certifications often deal with extremely high net-worth clients.

After obtaining a CFA, many professionals end up managing investments like mutual funds or hedge funds. The level of knowledge makes them extremal good as a personal financial advisor, but also likely extremely expensive. 


At the end of the day you have your pick from several types of financial advisors. 

The exact type of financial advisor that you end up using depends in large part on your own financial situation, and your financial goals. 

If you’re a high-net worth individual looking to do some large-scale investing, then a CFA might be able to help you. 

On the other hand, if you’re just looking for some tips on how to maximize your retirement savings, you might be perfectly happy with a retirement planner.

AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:

Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.

Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.