Some financial planners and investment advisors work for companies that create, sell or trade investment vehicles. Others charge fees for investment and financial planning advice. The best financial planners strive to be independent, meaning they have no financial interest in the securities purchased by their clients.
The financial planning profession has attempted to promulgate standards for its members, including industry certifications, but federal and state regulators have no licensing provisions for the profession (as they do for securities dealers and brokers). Anyone can claim to be a financial planner or investment advisor.
Financial advice is a big business in the United States. Hundreds of specialty publications and websites cover niche areas of investing and speculation, such as currency or oil and gas futures trading. Many more cover general investment topics, mutual funds, or stock market trends. Some are heavily informational in content, while others revolve around general market analysis and concepts of investment cycles.
A special area of financial advice involves the investment celebrities, a select few advisors who author financial advice books and appear on television talk and news programs with their pronouncements. The content here is so general as to qualify as entertainment.
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