What is The Difference Between a Financial Planner & Financial Advisor?

Updated: Jun 15

When you take a closer look at your finances and decide it’s time to start planning for the future, you may be wondering how to get started. Unsure where to begin, perhaps you turn to Google in an attempt to figure things out or maybe you try downloading one of those investing apps only to realize it’s like trying to learn an entirely new language. As optimistic as you may be, it’s hard to trust that your internet research will be enough to make the best decisions with your life savings and retirement plan.


💡 Further reading: What is a Financial Plan and Why Do I Need One?


You’re intelligent and have the best of intentions, but deep down you know you deserve a retirement plan that doesn’t rely on crossing your fingers. Furthermore, your financial future and retirement plan is much too important to DIY and leave up to chance.


At Thom & Associates, we offer the balanced approach of both a Financial Planner and Financial Advisor to give you the best of both worlds. While these terms seem to be used interchangeably at times, there are a number of distinct differences between the two. Continue reading to learn more.


Article graphic with the text: What is the difference between an financial planner and a financial advisor? Learn the difference and more about why we offer the best of both worlds to our clients

Similar, But Different.


With +27 years of experience offering financial advice and financial planning services in Kelowna, Thom & Associates has helped countless individuals in the Okanagan and beyond meet their financial objectives and go on to have the comfortable retirement of their dreams.


A question we often hear when meeting with someone for the first time is: what is the difference between a Financial Advisor and a Financial Planner and which one is best for my situation?


📞Schedule your free consultation with Ken


Whether you’d like to grow your savings with investments, pay off debt, plan for retirement, or reach other financial goals, we’ll walk with you through the entire process, step-by-step. We’re here with answers to your questions and will make sure you feel confident going forward with your customized financial plan.


Let’s begin by exploring what these terms have in common. Both a Financial Advisor and Financial Planner provide invaluable services and have the skills to help you manage your money.


Where a Planner and an Advisor differ is in what they focus on. An Advisor tends to target investment management while a Planner looks at the bigger picture of your whole financial life starting from college savings to retirement.


A Financial Advisor is more likely to be interested in markets, bonds, and securities. They have an abundance of financial advice and recommendations on how you can improve your immediate financial situation. A Financial Planner can also manage investments, but they tend to do so with long-term strategies tailored to help you reach your goals.


Now that we have an understanding of how these two terms are similar, let’s take a closer look at their differences.


What Is A Financial Advisor?


Traditionally, Financial Advisors focus on investment management. With consideration for your current financial situation, risk tolerance, and how soon you’d like to reach your goals, the approach of a Financial Advisor is to offer advice and facilitate specific investments on your behalf. Generally speaking, the goal of a Financial Advisor is to make smart investments on your behalf that help you grow your wealth and achieve short-term goals.


What Is A Financial Planner?


Whether you’d like to create a budget, pay off debt, build good credit, or save for retirement, a Financial Planner’s approach is to create a comprehensive plan to help you reach your long-term goals.


By taking a 360-degree look at your expenses and financial goals, a Financial Planner will do their best to gain a full-understanding of your complete financial situation. From there, a customized plan is developed and tailored to help you reach specific goals.



Testimonial graphic with the text: My wife and I have been with Ken and Pauline for many years now. We just had our annual meeting and as usual were kept well informed as to our investments.We always enjoy our meetings and know we can trust them to keep our best interests in mind as we transition into retirement. I would recommend Thom & Associates to anyone.

A Growth Mindset with the Bigger Picture In Mind


At Thom & Associates, we find that a well rounded approach often works best for the financial goals of our clients. Frequently enough, the affairs of a Financial Planner and Financial Advisor go hand-in-hand and our clients appreciate that we go above and beyond to offer them the best of both worlds.


With the growth mindset of a Financial Advisor and the comprehensive understanding of a Financial Planner, we strive to gain a full understanding of your complete financial situation before offering advice and a plan on how to best reach both your short-term and long-term goals.


💡 Further reading: What is a Financial Plan and Why Do I Need One?


While our recommendations may involve investment strategies, we also look for tax-efficient solutions that make the most sense for your specific situation.


By serving you with a multi-way approach we can ensure that all bases are covered. We also specialize in estate planning and are Certified Executor Advisors as well as Certified Professional Consultants on Aging. Learn more about our certifications here.


Whether you have a few questions or are looking for a complete financial plan, call today and book an appointment with Ken 250-861-7777.