What are the differences between a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?

Career / Compensation, Choosing an Advisor, Starting Out
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A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is highly trained and skilled in portfolio management, and analysis.  They usually manage vary large sums of money typically with mutual funds, investment houses, hedge funds etc. They also act as research analysts in a variety of functions

A Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) is a trained professional who can skillfully work in several areas of personal finance, such as Cash Flow Analysis, Insurance, Tax Planning, Retirement & Estate Planning, and of course personal Investment Management.  Many CFP®'s will specialize in a couple of these areas and develop alliances with other skilled professionals, such as tax professionals and Estate Planning lawyers.

For personal financial planning and investment management you are usually better off with a CFP® who will take a holistic view of your complete financial picture and objectives.

Occasionally you will see Financial Advisors with both designations, however they generally work with very large portfolios to start out.

Always make sure your Financial Advisor has a well regarded designation such as CFP® before you hire them. There are a lot of poorly trained folks trying to pass themselves off as Advisors when they are nothing more than commissioned sales people.

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