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What's the Difference Between a Certified Financial Planner and a Personal Financial Planner?

If you need to manage your money, you will usually seek a professional's help. A certified financial planner and a personal financial planner or financial advisor are both specialized in managing the consumer's money.

There are numerous financial professionals, starting from accountants and insurance agents to brokers, financial planners, and investment advisors. Each and every planner is a kind of advisor, but every advisor is not considered a planner. A personal financial planner might attain more than a hundred certifications. Key difference points are:

  • A certified financial planner is a type of professional who can help organizations or individuals to meet their long-term goals by creating a financial strategy.
  • A personal financial planner or a financial advisor is a wide category that might also include money managers, bankers, insurance agents, or brokers.
  • Certified financial planners are not regulated by anybody and are regulated entirely based on the kind of services they can provide.
  • If a personal financial planner works with the common public, they should clear the licensing exam of the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) 65 series.
  • Amidst various financial proliferation in the industry, many personal financial planners (advisors) and certified financial planners might perform the same task. Thus, you should do proper homework prior to hiring a professional to guide you financially.

Certified Financial Planner

A certified financial planner is a financial professional who can help organizations or individuals meet or accomplish their long-term goals by creating a financial strategy. A certified financial clanner will typically help you to map a plan for saving, budgeting, retirement planning, and investing. There are certified financial planners who assist people or clients with the help of their individual practice, but the certified financial planners might also work for a non-profit organization, wealth management company, or a bank.

While selecting a Certified Financial Planner, it is very essential for you to understand and acknowledge the landscape of financial planning. According to FINRA, almost anybody can also claim to be a certified financial planner if they are from different backgrounds. Certified financial planners can be investment advisors or brokers, practicing accountants, individuals without any financial credentials, or insurance agents. This is the reason why a consumer should check their due diligence prior to giving the money to any financial advisor.

The certified financial planner might be specialized in taxes, investments, estate planning, and retirement. There are different designations or licenses like CFP (Certified Financial Planner), CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), CHFC (Chartered Financial Consultant), or CIMA (Certified Investment Management Analyst).

To achieve all these different qualifications, a Certified Financial Planner should complete a whole different requirement of examination, work history, and education.

Personal financial planner or financial advisor

This professional individual should know a wide range of terms that will help in managing your money. One needs to pay the Personal Financial Planner, and in lieu, they will help with multiple money-related jobs or tasks. A personal financial planner or advisor can help you to sell or buy stocks, plan taxes, create a comprehensive estate, and manage investments.

If the personal financial planner works with the common public, they should have the FINRA 65 series license. Additionally, there are multiple personal financial planner credentials that a financial advisor must hold, entirely depending on the services they provide.

A financial advisor or Personal Financial Planner generally denotes multiple professionals like insurance agents, stockbrokers, money managers, bankers, estate planners, and many more. A Personal Financial Planner is a kind of advisor who has a specialty in financial securities.


These two terms might overlap, but a certified financial planner is a type of personal financial planner or advisor. Specifically, a certified financial planner is an individual professional who helps people or organizations achieve their financial goals. The goals can include college education, retirement, home down payment, etc. A certified financial planner depends upon the strategic allocation of the portfolio for investments that have a long-term horizon, and they ensure that the risk tolerances and expected returns should stay in balance.

Whereas a personal financial planner is a comprehensive term for someone, who is involved in this type of plan but also in different aspects of money management. For example, they might offer life insurance, accounting, real estate, banking, or short-term trades.

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