When it comes to managing your finances, you can certainly do it yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can use the services of a financial analyst or a financial advisor. Choosing one is easy once you know what they can do for you.

A financial analyst and a personal financial advisor help to provide both an analysis and also guidance to businesses and individuals who seek help with their financial decisions. Each type of financial specialist gathers financial information, analyzes it, and makes a recommendation to his/her client. However, they do differ when it comes to the type of investment information that they can provide, and also the clients that they work for.

A financial analyst assesses the economic performance of companies and industries, as well and for firms and institutions that have money to invest. A personal financial advisor assesses the financial needs of people, able to offer them a wide range of options.

Also called securities analysts and investment analysts, a financial analyst works for banks, insurance companies, mutual and pension funds, securities firms, and also other businesses. He or she helps these companies and/or their clients make important investment decisions. A financial analyst read a company’s financial statements and also analyzes commodity prices, sales, costs, expenses, and also tax rates in order to determine the company’s value, as well as to project its future earnings.

The financial analyst meets with company officials in order to gain a better insight into the firm’s prospects and also to determine its managerial effectiveness. They also usually study an entire industry, assessing its current trends in business practices, products, and industry competition in order to keep abreast of new regulations and policies that may affect the industry. Monitoring the economy to determine its effect on earnings is also a duty.

A personal financial advisor, also known as a financial planner or a financial consultant, uses his/her knowledge of investments, tax laws, and also insurance in order to recommend financial options to individuals that fit with the client’s short-term and long-term goals. Financial planners deal with such issues as retirement and estate planning, funding for college, and also general investment options. Some financial advisors are able to advice on a wide array of topics, while others are specialized in certain areas.

Working with a financial advisor begins with a consultation, where he/she is able to obtain information on the client’s finances and financial goals A comprehensive financial plan is then developed that identifies problem areas, offers recommendations for improvement, and also selects appropriate investments that are compatible with what the client wants.

Clients usually meet with their financial advisor at least once a year to update them on potential investments, as well as determine if any changes have been made.

In addition, some advisors buy and sell financial products, including mutual funds or insurance, or are able to refer their clients to establishments who do.

Perhaps a financial advisor’s most important job is building a customer base, since referrals from satisfied clients help to generate new business. Other than being contacted by the client, financial advisors contact potential clients by offering seminars or lectures, or even meeting them through business and social contact.

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