What is the difference between working with a Financial Planner, Investment Advisor, or Broker?

What is the difference between working with a Financial Planner, Investment Advisor, or Broker? 

When it comes to managing your finances, you have several professionals available for making informed decisions. The most common financial professionals are financial planners, investment advisors, and brokers. While they may appear similar, there are notable differences among them. In this article, we will explain these distinctions so that you can choose the right professional for your needs.

Financial Planner

  • A financial planner helps you create a comprehensive financial plan to achieve your goals.
  • They analyze your finances and provide advice on optimizing your situation.
  • Financial planners consider life goals, risk tolerance, and investment preferences.
  • Working with a financial planner helps you make informed decisions about your finances.
  • They assist with budgeting, retirement savings, college planning, and investment management.
  • Financial planners offer guidance on insurance, taxes, and estate planning.

Investment Advisors

Investment Advisor

An investment advisor is a professional who helps you manage your investments. They analyze your investment portfolio, suggest changes, and recommend new investments that align with your financial goals and risk tolerance. Investment advisors are licensed and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or state regulators.

Investment advisors provide personalized investment advice based on your goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. They can help you create a diversified investment portfolio that balances risk and return. Additionally, investment advisors can provide advice on tax-efficient investing, retirement planning, and estate planning.


A broker is a professional who buys and sells financial products, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, on behalf of their clients. Brokers may also provide advice, but they are not required to act in their clients’ best interests. Instead, they are held to a suitability standard, meaning they must make recommendations that are suitable for their clients’ financial situation.

Brokers typically work for brokerage firms and earn commissions on the financial products they sell. They may provide investment advice, but their primary role is to execute trades and manage investment portfolios on behalf of their clients.


While there is some overlap between the services provided, their primary focuses are different. A financial planner is focused on helping clients create a comprehensive financial plan that aligns with their long-term goals, an investment advisor is focused on helping clients achieve those goals through smart investment choices, and brokers are held to a suitability standard and must recommend investments that are suitable for their clients’ needs and risk tolerance.

It’s worth noting that some professionals may offer a combination of two or three of the services, and the distinctions between may blur in certain circumstances. Ultimately, it’s important to choose a professional who has the expertise and experience to help you achieve your financial goals, whether that means working with a financial planner, investment advisor, and/or broker.

The Nest Method

At Nest we welcome you to learn more about our unique process.  Whatever path led you here, everyone at NEST has one thing in common: forward-thinking. And we don’t just mean thinking about the freedom that comes with retirement, your financial legacy, and funding the lifestyle of your dreams.

You have your passion, and ours is finance. Sure, our team has decades of diverse experience, and yes, we’re total finance nerds at heart, but we show up every day out of a sense of duty to help our clients manifest their financial goals. We know there are a lot of conflicting resources and voices out there telling you what to do with your wealth. At NEST, we keep it real, we keep it simple, and we keep it centered on you and your goals and values.

We take pride in providing direct educational resources, simplified financial planning services, and data-driven investment management. We are dedicated to our community, building a personal relationship with each client. Our mission is to provide Austin’s leaders and doers with confidence, freedom, and security through authentic, innovative, and transparent wealth management. 

This article is brought to you by the wizard behind the scenes with 23 years of experience, Dan Dillard. Of course with his workshop of helpers including some handy hi-tech sourcing.
If you’re finding it challenging to stay on top of all the changes, connect with our financial planning professionals by scheduling a no-obligation call. At NEST Financial, we can help make crypto not quite so cryptic.

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DISCLAIMER: We are legally obligated to remind you that the information and opinions shared in this article are for educational purposes only. These are not financial planning or investment advice. For guidance about your unique goals, drop us a line at info@nestfinancial.net