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certified senior adviserAs you age, it can be difficult to know what decisions are best for your health, finances, or estate planning. That’s why it’s important to make those decisions with someone you trust. A Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) can help ensure your affairs are handled appropriately. Read on to discover how a CSA can help you address your needs as you age.

What is a Certified Senior Advisor?

A Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) is one of the leading designations for professionals who work with aging adults. By using their knowledge and expertise they can identify the best solutions for senior’s needs. Those who have the CSA designation demonstrate comprehensive experience in a wide range of issues that plague seniors such as their their health, social issues, financial concerns, and legal considerations.

CSAs agree to a code of professional responsibility. This code requires them to place the needs of the seniors they work with first and foremost. So, if you want to ensure that you’re working with a professional who understands the obstacles you face as you age and has your best interest in mind, you may want to consider working with a CSA.

Certified Senior Advisor Qualifications

To achieve the CSA designation individuals must pass a demanding exam and uphold an ethical standard that’s in the best interest of the senior’s welfare and protection of their health. All criteria and standards are set by the CSA Certification Council. For a professional to qualify for this certification they must meet the CSA Certification Council’s following criteria:

  • Complete a candidate profile based on their accurate information.
  • Finish the disclosure questionnaire.
  • Complete and pass the CSA certification exam.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Complete and pass the Roles, Rules, and Responsibilities Ethics Exam.
  • Complete and submit the signed Certified Senior Advisors Application for Certification.
  • Agree and comply with the CSA Code of Professional Responsibility.

After their initial enrollment, candidates must complete and pass the CSA certification exam within 12 months. Once the CSA candidate passes this exam, they must complete and pass the Roles, Rules, and Responsibilities Ethics Exam.

Certified Senior Advisor Continuing Education

Once a professional completes the CSA coursework and examination, they will receive this designation for a year. After this point, they will have to meet specific requirements to renew their certification. In order to do this, they must update their member profile, pay the annual renewal fee, and accept the Terms of Attestation Statement.

In addition to the annual renewal process, CSAs must renew their certification every three years. To renew their designation they must pay the three-year renewal fee, complete a new background check, and fulfill the CSA credit requirements. To complete the CSA credit requirements, designation holders must have 30 qualifying credits.

All renewals confirm that certified professionals maintain and stay up to date on all knowledge needed to provide the best guidance for seniors in their industry.

Should You Work With a Certified Senior Advisor?

certified senior adviserWith the abundance of professional credentials, it’s hard to determine which ones are most relevant to your needs. For example, in the financial services industry, there are at minimum 70 different designations and credentials a financial professional can carry. While some of these credentials focus solely on products and services, the CSA designation focuses on clients and their needs.

CSAs understand the key factors that shape senior’s lives and how they interact with each other. These factors include finances, health, and social concerns. Consequently, their professional recommendations and referrals can often offer more effective solutions and provide solid guidelines for aging adults.

CSAs work in many different fields such as insurance, real estate, social work, finance, and the medical industry just to name a few. Therefore, whether you’re worried about your future financial security or need support dealing with bereavement or social isolation, CSAs can help you with a wide range of senior concerns.

How to Find a Certified Senior Advisor

certified senior adviserBefore you begin to look for a CSA, pinpoint some areas of expertise that may be useful for your situation. For example, if you need help developing a retirement plan, you may want to work with a financial advisor. However, if you need help dealing with the loss of your spouse, you may want to partner with a social worker. Identifying what you want in a professional will help you find a suitable CSA to tackle your situation.

After you have identified what you’re looking for in a CSA, you can then go directly to the CSA Certification Council’s website to find CSA professionals in your area. Meanwhile, if you find several CSAs you may want to work with, take the time to interview each of them. This will help you discover who might be the best fit for your situation.

The Bottom Line

When partnering with any professional in any industry, it’s important to know if they are qualified to answer your questions and help you develop solutions for the issue you face.

The CSA title helps you identify multidisciplinary professionals who understand senior’s needs and how to address them. As a result, it can indicate that a professional has the knowledge and experience you need to handle these situations.

Financial Tips

  • If you aren’t sure whether or not you need a CSA, consider consulting a financial advisor first. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Do you know how much you’ll need to retire? What will your 401(k) be worth when you stop working? How much will you rely on Social Security in retirement? If you aren’t quite ready to consult at CSA or financial advisor about these concerns, SmartAsset’s retirement guide can help with the small details.
  • Estate planning can be complex depending on which state you live in. SmartAsset’s estate planning guide can tell you how a state’s laws and taxes will affect your heirs. It can also point you toward financial advisors with estate planning expertise.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/FluxFactory, ©iStock.com/FG Trade, ©iStock.com/skynesher

Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.
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