Recent Posts



Accredited Financial Counselors®: Who We Are and What We Do

For Americans across all ages and income levels, an Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) is often the best option for getting much needed financial advice. AFC® professionals bring a strong focus on personal finance and are all accredited by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®), one of the oldest and most respected organizations offering financial counseling and coaching certifications.

AFCPE® is unique because it strives to ensure that individuals and families, like yours, can navigate what we’ve called the “alphabet soup” of financial designations you’re likely to encounter while shopping the extensive “menu” of professionals offering financial advice. In this way, AFCPE® ensures that people have access to the highest standard of financial advice that fits their needs, at any stage of life.

An AFC® considers the client’s complete financial life when administering advice, and they draw on a wide range of financial expertise to do so. Let’s face it, most Americans need to get their financial feet on the ground before taking the stock market by storm. AFC® professionals are the perfect guides to getting you to this goal … and beyond.

The AFC® certification was created in 1993 by educators and researchers to meet the need for unbiased financial education. An AFC® is different from other financial professionals in two major ways:

  1. An AFC® does not sell financial products but, rather, is focused solely on providing unbiased financial education and guidance specific to your unique situation and needs.

  2. An AFC® assists individuals and families in the complex process of financial decision-making, including creating budgets, getting out of debt, modifying ineffective money management behaviors, and even helping prepare for retirement.

A recent survey conducted by AFCPE®, which focused on retirement in the state of Ohio, showed that only 41 percent “have a financial plan.” But the truth is that this statistic isn’t unique to retirement or Ohio. Americans of all ages and backgrounds are behind when it comes to establishing a solid financial foundation on which to build upon. Now more than ever, AFC® professionals are needed and ready to answer the call to help their clients realize financial stability and security for themselves and their families.

Once a client has built a firm financial foundation, an AFC® may refer them to a trusted financial adviser, such as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) for wealth management advice, or even a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) for investment portfolio management. But it is important to establish a foundation before buying stocks or taking financial risks. Will a financial professional who is working for a commission tell you that? Maybe, or maybe not. But an AFC® will. And not only that, an AFC® will look at your complete financial picture and teach you why.

AFC® professionals serve a broad population. They provide financial education and counseling at military installations, colleges and universities, through nonprofit community groups, governmental agencies, banks/credit unions, financial aid offices, credit counseling agencies, and in private practice.

In many ways, AFC® professionals are the financial front line for those who need the most counseling and support, and they are often the best first step you can take toward building a solid financial foundation for life.

Americans have a lot of mistrust when seeking financial advice, worrying that a financial professional may be working for a commission or a financial gain. An AFC® is like a financial driving instructor: they don’t care what car you buy or drive; their job is to teach you how to drive safely, responsibly and independently.

How can I stop living paycheck to paycheck? How can I dig out of debt while still building savings for my retirement and my children’s future? As a new graduate, how can I establish money management skills to ensure a strong financial future? The answer: Ask an AFC®. No matter where you are in life’s continuum, it’s possible to develop the skills and knowledge needed to realize your goals and achieve financial security.

UP NEXT: Death to Budgets: How to Create a Saving & Spending Plan that Matches Your Values.