FORBES - Would you and your parents know the difference between an Accredited Retirement Adviser and an Accredited Estate Planner? How about a Retired Income Specialist versus a Certified Senior Advisor?
I suspect not and, sadly, there’s a good reason why:
More Than 50 Confusing Titles
According to a new, damning report from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, financial advisers are using more than 50 “senior” titles or designations to suggest they have expertise helping older Americans with their investments. In reality, the credentials just mislead potential customers.
“Consumers risk paying for an adviser they believe has a breadth of experience, but who, in reality, simply paid a website for multiple designations,” the report says.
In short, many “senior specialists” or “retirement advisers” may not be qualified to help you or your parents manage the family’s money but may be quite eager to use their lofty titles as marketing ploys to lure clients.
How to Scope Out Financial Advisers
So it’s essential that you and your parents do your homework before signing up with an adviser. Here’s how:
· Determine what you want from a financial pro before selecting one.
· Be sure the adviser is on the up and up.
· Review the adviser’s credentials.
How Similar-Sounding Financial Titles Differ
Accredited Retirement Adviser (ARA) is not required to complete a defined course of study or demonstrate previous professional experience, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's report. He or she may purchase a study aid before taking the 100-question, multiple-choice exam.
An Accredited Estate Planner (AEP) must be an attorney, accountant, insurance professional, financial planner or trust officer in professional good standing. He or she must have a minimum of five years’ experience in estate planning. Training requires at least two graduate-level courses offered by an accredited higher education graduate program.
A Retired Income Specialist (RIS) is not accredited; certification requires enrolling in a 60-hour, online self-study program. But a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) requires a three-day training course and is nationally accredited.
At Ledbetter Law Group we've been serving the Venice community since 2007 with over 120 years of combined staff experience in creating estate plans, drafting wills and trusts, and handling post-death probate and trust administrations. Additionally, we continue to service the needs of our clients dealing with real estate, closings, and title insurance. Our team is also skilled regarding asset protection, Medicaid planning, business formation and succession, and all areas of real estate closings.
Contact our team for a free consultation to review any questions or concerns you may have.