What are the benefits of working with a certified financial planner?
Planning out your finances can be a daunting prospect. Meeting with Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) and Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) can help you navigate the minefield of personal finance. Dr. Matt Geller, OD, spoke to Adam Cmejla, CFP and Gary Topple, CPA to get insight into the differences between the professions and what they can do for you!
Well, I wouldn’t examine my own eyes - Gary Topple, CPA
CFPs must meet rigorous educational, ethical, and experiential standards in order to be considered a CFP. They are able to review the totality of your financial plan, both personal and professional, by leading with tactical planning. Planning properly will drive the results that you are looking for in your saving and investments.
Similarly, CPAs require intensive education including a multi-day exam to earn the credential as well as annual continuing education courses to remain on top of developments in the industry. Not all accountants are certified CPAs, and while they may be perfectly equipped to handle tax codes and information regarding accounting generally, they are not required to take these courses. Non-CPAs may also not be able to provide financial statements in certain states. So, while you’re evaluating a relationship with a financial advisor ask them if they are licensed to these specifications!
What can a certified financial planner and a certified public accountant do for you?
Once you have hired and are working with a CFP or CPA, what exactly can they do for you? “Well, I wouldn’t examine my own eyes,” Topple says. “You shouldn’t examine your own financial health without the help of a CPA or CFP.” Services provided by your advisor are ideally designed to be preventative and allow your financial health to flourish. They may help you to process your taxes, but in the case of a CFP, they may also function as a portfolio manager and investment advisor.
As with any service rendered, they will be paid, but as Adam puts it “cost becomes apparent in the absence of value.” An advisor’s goal is to provide an excess of value in return for what the client is compensating them with. This payment can come in the form of a flat fee, or a percentage of assets under management which ultimately provides value to both parties.
While the benefits of working with a certified financial planner or certified public accountant are clear, both Adam and Gary emphasized that there is no magic or smoke and mirrors that go along with their professions. “I don’t have some magic sauce,” Adam says. “You’re not paying us to push buttons, you’re paying us to push the right buttons the first time and get things right…” They both emphasized that their information is public knowledge, but working with a certified advisor guarantees you have someone in your corner with the time, knowledge, and expertise to support your financial goals.