Creating and sticking to a financial plan is difficult if not impossible for many Americans. That’s why some hire a financial advisor or consultant to stay on track. Some partner with a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) to do this. Read on to find out how an RFC can help you achieve your financial goals.
What is a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC)?
A Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) is a finance professional who has proven understanding of the financial services industry. The RFCs demonstrated a high level of skill. They have also proven that they are well equipped to design financial plans customized to the specific needs of their clients.
The International Association of Registered Financial Advisors (IARFC) awards the RFC designation to eligible financial professionals who apply. The IARFC is a not-for-profit organization that builds public confidence in financial professionals. They do this by helping financial advisors exchange planning techniques, ensure they meet their ethical standards, and provide ongoing training to keep their skills current.
Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) Qualifications
All candidates must have at least three years of experience as a practitioner in the field of financial planning or services. Additionally, an RFC candidate must have one of the following educational requirements:
A license of Series 65 titles or have one of the following license combinations: Series 6 and 63, Series 6 and 66, Series 7 and 63, Series 7 and 66
A life insurance license.
A bachelor’s or graduate degree in business, finance, economics or related field.
Candidates can also meet the education requirements by completing all course requirements for the following IARFC designations: RFA, RFC, or MRFC.
Unlike other certifications, there are no coursework or exam requirements. However, all applicants must agree to adhere to the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants Code of Ethics. They must also pay a registration fee of $100 and a membership and designation fee of $250.
Once a candidate has received the RFC designation, they must complete a series of continuing education credits. Every two years, all RFCs must commit a minimum of 40 hours to continuing education credits. Each credit must relate to personal finance or professional practice management topics. Four hours of their continuing education credits must relate to ethics.
Financial Consultants vs Financial Advisors
The terms financial adviser and financial adviser tend to be used interchangeably. That said, many financial advisors may refer to themselves as financial consultants. Indeed, the two professionals offer their help in making complex financial decisions. Many financial advisors and consultants are experts when it comes to creating financial plans tailored to your specific needs.
Both professionals may have studied economics, accounting or finance during their college years. You can even find professionals with MBAs or other advanced certifications. For example, one of the most popular certifications is the Certified
Financial Planner (CFP) designation, but there are many others that can add value.
For example, besides the RFC designation, the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designation is another certification you may see consultants carry. This designation is often used as an alternative to the CFP mark. The Institute of Financial Consultants issues ChFC designations once a candidate has completed five online modules, completed 20 hours of continuing education credits, and passed an online exam. The core curriculum for the CFP and ChFC designations is very similar, but the ChFC certifications require a few additional electives in financial planning.
However, the consultant designation does not require an inclusive board review like the CFP designation. Still, CFPs and ChFCs can give you financial recommendations based on your individual financial situation.
How to Find a Registered Financial Advisor (RFC)
It is important to note that everyone has a different financial situation. Some financial consultants and advisors are experts in certain areas. Others only work with certain investors who have a specific net worth. That’s why it’s important to find a financial advisor who meets your financial needs. You can use online research tools or ask for referrals from friends and family members who are in a similar life stage and financial situation.
Once you have a few candidates in mind, you can use BrokerCheck to check a consultant’s references and background. Next, create a list of questions that will help you better understand their practice. These questions may include their fee structure, account minimums, expertise, clientele, certifications, and investment philosophy. Be sure to meet a few candidates before making your final decision.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing an advisor is their certification(s) and expertise. It would not be advantageous to work with a financial advisor or consultant who does not have the knowledge, training or experience in the specific area you need help with. It would be like going to a dermatologist for a heart problem.
If you’re still having trouble finding a registered financial advisor, there are other tools that can help you find one. Finding the right financial advisor that meets your needs doesn’t have to be difficult. SmartAsset’s free tool connects you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors who will help you achieve your financial goals, start now.
Do you know how much your investment needs to grow before you can cash out? How much will taxes and inflation take away from your total? SmartAsset Investment Guide can help you answer these questions and determine your tolerance for investment risk.
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