What is a Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP)?
Be wary of people who call themselves financial planners but who appear more interested in pushing specific financial products at the expense of your real needs and goals. A genuine financial planner can help you address a variety of financial needs, not just investments, insurance or taxes. Moreover, not every financial planner is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional. CFP® professionals have an ethical obligation to act in your interest.
Most CFP professionals are dedicated to using the financial planning process to serve the financial needs of individuals, families and businesses. Most CFP professionals have earned a four-year college degree in finance-related areas, and have completed a course of study in financial planning approved by the CFP Board. To earn the prestigious CFP certification and remain certified as a CFP professional, individuals must meet four main requirements:
Examination. They must successfully complete the CFP Board and comprehensive certification examination, which tests the individual’s knowledge on various key aspects of financial planning.
Experience. They must acquire three to five years’ financial planning-related experience before receiving the right to use the CFP marks.
Ethics. They must voluntarily ascribe to the CFP Board’s code of ethics and additional requirements as mandated. CFP professionals who violate the code can be disciplined, including the permanent loss of the right to use the CFP marks.
Education. They must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years to stay current in financial planning knowledge, including ethics. Compliance with these four all-important areas assures you that an individual who holds the CFP certificate is well prepared and qualified to give you sound, professional advice. As a result of its established recognition and credibility as a symbol of educational competence and continued commitment to financial planning excellence, FPA recommends the use of a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional for your financial planning needs. There are also other credible designations such as the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), which have their roots in financial disciplines such as insurance and accounting.