Don’t get fooled by the following impressive-sounding credentials:
- Certified Senior Adviser
- Certified Retirement Financial Adviser
- Certified Retirement Counselor
- Registered Financial Gerontologist
They may look good, but they only take a few days to earn. In contrast, these credentials require a college degree and years of study:
- Certified Financial Planner
- Chartered Financial Consultant
- Master of Science in Financial Services (MSFS)
In 2011, so many broker-dealer firms were using misleading designations that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority issued Regulatory Notice 11-52 cautioning about the practice. In 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Older Americans reported that there are more than 50 senior certification designations now in use.
The name-game isn’t limited to financial advisers. It seems as if everyone involved in the senior market has added a credential or two to the business card.
If you are presented with a card and a sales pitch, ask these questions:
- What do the initials stand for?
- What organization accredited you?
- What is the name of the website?
- What were the requirements to become accredited?
(Not only will you sound smart, it may just keep you from getting scammed)
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