Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Jan. 12, 1996

Retirement Advising Office: Not all finicial planners are alike

It seems nearly everywhere you turn these days someone claims to be a financial planner. Anyone can print up business cards and claim to be a financial planner.

Although no qualifications are required, financial planners are supposed to register with the Securities and Exchange Commis-sion. They become known as registered investment advisers (RIAs). There also are certified public accountants (CPAs), who handle tax issues, and chartered financial analysts (CFAs), who specialize in investing.

If you're looking for someone trained in a variety of fields, you might want a certified financial planner (CFP), who has studied everything from taxes and estate planning to investing. To qualify for this designation, applicants must pass a standardized exam so difficult that 40 percent of the people who take it fail. To keep the designation, CFPs must keep up with required annual coursework.

If you are looking for a financial planner, there are three things you should look for:

--A CFP with a considerable amount of experience in the field -- preferably four to five years.

--A planner who works on a "fee only" basis, which means the planner gets all commissions from you. He or she has no interest in getting commissions for selling products. Fees can range from $50 to $300 an hour.

--A planner you feel you can trust. Technical proficiency isn't everything. Often, the best recommendation comes from a friend. Or ask the planner for references of people you might know.

The Retirement Advising Office staff can assist you with your TIAA-CREF decisions and long- or short-term retirement plan- ning. However, the staff members are not financial planners.

The office offers a two-evening, six-hour, financial planning work-shop, given by a CFP. The next series is March 26 and April 2. There is a $14 fee for each evening. For more information, contact the office, 4-3830.

Inside Iowa State
University Relations

Copyright © 1995
Iowa State University
All rights reserved

Revised 1/11/96