Financial Advisor or Adviser


Why finance adviser or advisor? If you go to your dictionary right now you will see that both are correct. You may brush it off to the U.K. version vs the U.S. version of the term. Adviser seems to be favored in the U.K., and advisor seems is favored in the U.S., but in actuality both countries seem to use the terms interchangeably. Leading to some confusion as to where this term came from. In fact, even in the website title Top Financial Advisor, we used the term advisor because it seem is searched for more often (and therefore likely used more often)[1].

Financial Adviser or Advisor

From Google Trends

Financial Advisor or Adviser, Both Correct?

Rather strangely, if we look at the Corpus of Contemporary American English, which is a amalgam of 450 million words from text in the 90’s – 2012. You will find that if you look up adviser and advisor, you will find about a 4/5 preference to financial adviser over financial advisor. Yet, it seems clear that the trends are in favor of financial advisor.

My assumption (which holds little to no value) is that people tried to change the name to make it more… shall we say respectable? Regardless of right or wrong, language is constantly changing and terms can change based on virtually nothing besides whether they “sound good.” If we look at words ending in “-or,” we can find many respectable professions,

  • Professor
  • Advisor (for education)
  • Governor
  • Janitor…?

Clearly, this doesn’t always hold true, however it does make it roll off the tongue a tad nicer. The “-or” sounds, causes a break in speech and makes you think a bit longer about the term. Whereas, “-er,” rolls into the next word,

  • “The cleaner was just hear.”
  • “The janitor was just here.”

The janitor sounds much more formal than the cleaner. Similarly, if we say,

  • “I am going to see a financial advisor today.”
  • “I am going to see a financial adviser today.”

The first phrase seems much more formal, it “rings” more nicely. Since every language is really only there for communication (i.e. to understand and communicate feelings), so long as we can communicate, the rest is “fluff.” Changing the term to advisor makes our friends more impressed, since it makes it seem more formal.

Both terms are correct and both can be used interchangeably, though financial advisor does seem to be the way the trend is heading.

Financial Advisor or Adviser, Which to Use?

Both terms are indeed correct, however I have a preference towards advisor. Calling a person a financial advisor gives them an aura of respect, at least they will feel so. Petting someones ego a bit when attempting to hire them for a service can go a long way (An idea formed from reading: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition). Indeed it is true, when ever I need something from my boss, co-worker, employee, or subjugated team member, I simply pet their ego by sprinkling in phrases with more formal tones. They probably never realized it has effected the way they act, but it does, it does a lot actually.

However, financial adviser is the historically correct term and should be used when writing a formal or publishable paper. On this website we will tend to use advisor because we have an understanding that language is simply a means of communication. Many people do not agree, and have some different notion of language, you should attempt to respect that when in a formal setting or “on their turf.” That being said, I recommend using financial advisor as opposed to adviser when ever possible, because it does lend itself to being more “respectable.”

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