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TheStreet Open House

A Who's Who Guide to Financial Advisers

"If you already have a financial plan and you know you have money you can afford to lose, you can just go to an investment adviser or a stock broker to get advice on investments," Redmond says.

People become financial planners by completing five course sessions that specialize in one of the many areas of study -- including insurance planning, employee benefits planning, investment and securities planning, state and federal income tax planning, asset protection, estate planning and retirement planning -- before taking the CFP Certification Examination, a 10-hour multiple choice exam.

Because of the broad spectrum of issues they are trained to deal with, finding a financial planner can be tricky. Check out this article for some tips on how to do so.

Certified Public Accountant
The average consumer generally seeks out a CPA when they are looking for someone to prepare their taxes or simply need general tax advice. These experts also specialize in tax audits or work as corporate accountants for big companies looking to maximize their tax returns and make sure that everything is filed accurately and on time.

Their in-depth knowledge of tax law has led CPAs to branch out into other specialized markets and become a mainstay at wealth management companies.

For instance, CPAs are also becoming a regular go-to for small businesses, who want to "know the tax ramifications of the decisions they're making," says Sean Duncan with the Texas Society of CPAs.

To become a CPA, an individual must pass a national test and be in compliance with state laws before being licensed to practice there. While the requirements vary, Johnston says most states require 150 hours of education, which means most CPAs must have the equivalent of a master's degree.

They also have to spend two to three years working under the supervision of an experienced CPA before they can add the acronym to their email signature, Duncan says.

Once you are a practicing CPA, you have to take 40 hours a year in continuing education to keep up on tax law and maintain your license.

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