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Do you have an advisor or an adviser?

You've probably seen both terms used here and everywhere else. So what's the difference if there is one? In most cases they are interchangeable -- po-tay-to po-tah-to. Where you'll likely see this differentiated is when you meet a Registered Investment Adviser or RIA. These are the folks who provide investment advice and are registered with state and sometimes federal regulators depending on their activities. They are regulated as "advisers" by the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

More often, but not always, you'll find stockbrokers and investment planners using the term "advisor" which doesn't indicate anything but the preference for a spelling that might feel a bit more academic or knowledgeable, as my college thesis advisor would have insisted.

It doesn't mean a whole lot unless you're sensitive to such things. And yet even though a word might mean the same thing one might prefer one over the other. For example, would you rather be Cat Woman or Cat Lady? Enough said.

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