Your Most Valuable Relationship? Might Be With a Financial Professional

At some point you may turn to a financial professional for help, particularly if you're trying to achieve different goals like planning for retirement, buying a home, and financing your children's education.

Finding the right financial professional is one of the most important relationships you will have and one you shouldn't impulsively jump into. The Texas State Securities Board's updated guide, Choosing A Financial Professional, can help you begin your search for a financial professional, starting with the type of help you need.

The guide explains the two types of registered financial professionals you might consider working with – brokers and investment advisers. They provide different services, have different responsibilities to their clients, and differ in the way they charge for the work they do.

The most important fact they have in common, though, is that they are both certified, meaning they have passed required examinations and have received licenses to offer their services to investors. Equally important, they are both subject to rules and regulatory agencies, such as the Texas State Securities Board, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Before working with a financial professional, you should always be sure to check their credentials. Choosing A Financial Professional shows you how to do so and explains the important information you need to know before making a decision.

The guide also explains the importance of other professional certifications that financial professionals may hold.

The designations Certified Financial Planner, Certified Public Accountant, and Chartered Financial Analyst, for instance, all require extensive study, testing, work experience, continuing education and oversight by a governing body.

There are, however, hundreds of financial titles in use, and some require virtually no education and testing. It's important to know whether a professional designation represents a valuable store of knowledge or if it is something just added to a business card.

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