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other places to find an Advisor

Financial Planning and all forms of advice are available from many different types of financial professionals. Stock brokers, investment advisors, as well as accountants, lawyers, and insurance representatives all may offer services regarding your financial life. Indeed, there are a variety of licenses which ensure certain levels of financial training and knowledge. Given the various levels of accreditation, it's not easy to know which type of professional will work for you.

Certified Financial Planners® Of all the professional services available, Certified Financial Planners (CFP)® are the most comprehensively trained and tested on the breadth of financial issues you face in your lifetime. Certainly, all sound financial advice will attempt to account for the broad range of issues. However, because CFPs are trained in creating lifetime financial plans, they are the best choice for most investors.

Other professionals that can help develop strategies and advise individuals on matters of finance are listed below. These people offer help in special areas and their credentials and designations verify their expertise. We have originally advised that individuals seek out CFPs because of their comprehensive approach but when a special area of expertise is needed look for an individual that has the qualifications and the certifications or designations that are appropriate. Most, if not all professional designations, require that those who say that they have the designation are in good standing with their respective professional organization and that they have fulfilled the continuing education requirements. As with any area of professional expertise, some are better than others and some are more expensive than others. Therefore, it is important to talk to and ask questions of anyone that you contact for advise.

CPA - Certified Public Accountant These folks are tax experts. They primarily prepare personal and corporate income taxes as well as any other tax related issues.

ChFP – Chartered Financial Planners These folks are insurance experts that have completed an additional course in financial planning.

CLU – Chartered Life Underwriters These folks have completed and passed examinations and are considered to be experts in insurance products.

CFA – Chartered Financial Analysts These folks have passed a set of rigorous exams and have the training to analyze corporations and investment products.

RIA – Registered Investment Advisor These folks are registered with the SEC and regulated by the SEC. There are a few requirements and certainly a fee for registration. They are licensed to trade on the exchanges.

Brokers – Stockbrokers have passed some required course and are licensed to sell stock but do not have any special training or designations for giving advise.

Estate Lawyers – Only lawyers can draw up legal documents and it is important to have an estate lawyer draw up wills, and health care directives. EVERYONE needs a WILL and Health Care Directives.

In short, it is vital to look at your financial life from a long term perspective. Because your investments affect the world you live in and because your financial lifetime is intricately tied to your personal world, creating a plan with a broad perspective is fundamental to sound socially responsible investing.


Additional Resources
Four Places to Find an SRI Advisor

FAFN: SRI investment network

Green America: (choose category 'Financial -- Consultants: Advisors and/or Planners')

Social Investment Forum (SIF)

Social Funds