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Financial Analyst vs Financial Advisor

There are many similarities between a financial analyst and a financial advisor. Both play key roles in the areas of investing and financial planning by helping both individuals and companies make important decisions about the use of money to secure financial wealth for the future.

Financial analysts are usually employed by banks, investment firms, or insurance companies. Financial analysts use research skills to assess the financial health of an individual, business or organization. As a financial analyst, you may look at financial statements, income statements, expense statements, investments and tax returns. Using data from this research, you can make projections about the future financial welfare of a company or individual. Financial analysts are great at walking the line between maximizing profits and maintaining legal boundaries. You may also be called upon to give presentations on the status of a company, or a potential investment the company is considering.

A financial advisor is someone who provides advice for financial planning. In this role, you'd provide information on how to plan for retirement, a college fund for children, or various types of insurance. As a financial advisor, you'll assess the current income, investments and expenses of an individual or family's current financial position. Then, based on an assessment of where they'd like to be 10, 15, or 20 years down the road, you'll make recommendations for how to get there in the best way. As a financial advisor, you must be good at talking to people, especially putting finance and investment planning concepts into terms anyone can understand. Many financial advisors are self-employed and make their connections through referrals and word-of-mouth.

Interested in learning more? Read about how to become a financial advisor, or how to become a financial analyst, or use the DegreeTree School Finder to find the right online school and program to match your needs.


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