Quick question. What is the difference between a financial advisor and a financial counselor? Are they the same thing?
~ Jennifer at Kings Bay Navy Base
The short answer is no, they are not the same thing but many people use the term interchangeably. They do have a bit of overlap and depending on where you are in your financial journey will dictate which one will serve you best.
A very simple way to think of it is advisors are more about numbers, and “advising” you on what to do with your extra income. Counselors are more emotions based, “counseling” you with options to help you have extra income.
Financial advisors will help you build wealth and invest. They will look at your income, your goals, your risk tolerance, time frame and needs to advise you on the best investments for you. Look for a financial advisor that has CFP after their name (Certified Financial Planner).
Financial counselors will help you organize and get ahold of your finances. They will make a budget with you and make plans to pay off debt. They will find out your strengths and weaknesses with money handling to get you on the right financial track. Look for a financial counselor with AFC after their name (Accredited Financial Counselor)
In the order of things, you may need a financial counselor and later a financial advisor. The counselor will help you plan a way out of debt that will work best for you and then you will need an advisor to help you invest the money you use to pay debts with!
Like everything else, people in the financial world will specialize. Some counselors specialize in credit card debt and some advisors specialize in retirement. While these are amazing for you if you only need help in a specific area, they may overlook something important outside their scope.
Finally, the same person may be an advisor and counselor, they will help make a plan tailored to you to pay off debt, save for a big item and invest wisely. If someone says they do this, just make sure they have both a CFP and AFC.
~Your friend Courtney
Start your journey to wealth!
with the emergency fund worksheet. This worksheet will walk you thought just how much of an emgerency fund your military family needs.