As you take steps to get closer to your dreams, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP) professional can be a key resource in helping you create a sound financial plan to achieve them. Depending on your stage in life, you may be at the peak of your career, saving for your children’s college tuition, saving for retirement, or a combination thereof, as well as planning for other financial milestones and circumstances. A solid financial plan involves more than investing. It involves all the financial facets of your life and how they affect your wealth.
Not all financial planners are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals. You might see “Financial Planner” on the business cards of bankers, insurance salespeople, credit union employees, accountants, and more, but that does not mean that they are certified. Only approximately 20 percent of financial planners have committed to the rigorous training, experience, and exams required to earn the industry’s gold standard CFP® designation.
CFP® Professionals Have Extensive Education
Working with a CFP® professional means you know your financial planner has completed studies at CFP Board-approved college or university. Curriculum outside the approved list is only accepted after a thorough review of transcripts, course work, and other professional designations earned.
CFP® Professionals Have Passed Rigorous Examination
CFP® professionals take the CFP® Certification Exam. The six-hour exam covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance. This difficult and comprehensive test helps ensure that CFP® professionals are well qualified to create your financial plan. The average pass rate for this exam is only 55 percent to 60 percent. How difficult is it? In comparison, the aggregate first-time bar passage rate for the class of 2017 was 77.2 percent, according to the American Bar Association.
CFP® Professionals Have Real-World Experience
A college degree and passing the CFP® Certification Exam isn’t enough to earn the CFP® designation. CFP® professionals have logged at least three years of hands-on experience in the financial planning process. Your CFP® professional has the education, testing and real-world experience to help you create a realistic financial plan that fits your individual needs.
A CFP® Professional Follows the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and The Rules of Conduct
CFP® professionals are held to the highest of standards in the field of financial planning. A Code of Ethics spells out the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence that must be followed. Also, your CFP® professional must follow The Rules of Conduct, which states he or she is a fiduciary, acting in your best interest, not his or hers.
Code of Ethics and/or The Rules of Conduct violations result in strict sanctions. The CFP Board releases disciplinary actions taken against CFP® professionals to the public. This transparency, along with the designation process, is what makes having a CFP® matter to financial planning clients who value ethics and competence.
When every day brings you closer to your dreams, you want to be confident that your wealth manager has the knowledge and experience to assess all the financial facets of your life to create your financial plan. By committing the time and energy to become a CFP® professional, your financial planner has demonstrated that he or she can develop a plan to help you best achieve your goals. Not sure where to start? Contact one of our CFP® professionals for more information.
CFP® certification marks are owned by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board). Individuals certified by CFP Board have taken the extra step to demonstrate their professionalism by voluntarily submitting to the CFP® certification process that includes education, examination, experience and ethical requirements.