Formal Education Credentials
Formal education can be a significant assistance to a financial professionals ability to advise clients effectively. It can provide a tremendous foundation in the disciplines of finance, economics, and statistics. A broad understanding of each of these disciplines is paramount to understanding the true nature of personal finance. Though very few universities offer a degree specifically for personal finance, one’s education in the field of corporate economics, corporate finance, and corporate statistics is easily transferable with a little additional study.
A key tool in evaluation of a financial professionals formal education is determining if that formal education was in the field of business at all.
Unlike many other professions, the financial services industry attracts individuals from various disciplines. Though a degreed psychologist may be more able to evaluate your mental state regarding your finances, that individual may not have the education available to truly understand the dynamics of portfolio management.
Another key item to find out is if the degree obtained is from a college or university that is certified by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Many colleges and universities today are accredited, however, their school of business may not be. That is because accreditation in universities and colleges today can be institutional, specialized, and/or programmatic. What this really means is that just because your advisor went to an accredited university doesn’t mean they attended an accredited business program, thereby they may not be as skilled in addressing your needs.
Formal education to look for are degrees or number of hours of study in finance, economics, and statistics. Undergraduate degrees may be a Bachelor of Business Administration degree or possibly a Bachelor of Science degree. Usually a Bachelor of Business Administration requires a more focused study in the field of business. The Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Masters of Accounting (MAC) are more advanced degrees in the field of business. Some advisors could even have a PhD in finance or economics, though most persons obtaining this business degree teach or conduct research. Be wary of advisor degree programs completed that gave credit for “life experience.” Some of the masters programs and even a few undergraduate programs today are doing this, however, a true student of the field does not recognize these programs and sadly they devalue the achievement of the degree.
Be sure to ask you advisor what degree or degrees he/she has and what accreditations those programs maintain.
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