Why use a CFP®

How do you know if you could benefit from the services of a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional? You may not have the expertise, the time or the desire to actively plan and manage certain financial aspects of your life. You may need help getting started. You may benefit from an objective, third-party perspective on what are often emotional, difficult decisions. In today's hectic world, it can be beneficial to have a CFP expert to make sure you stay focused and follow through with your financial plans.

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ can help you:

  • Set realistic financial and personal goals
  • Assess your current financial health by examining your assets, liabilities, income, insurance, taxes, investments and estate plan
  • Develop a realistic, comprehensive plan designed to help meet your financial goals by identifying financial opportunities and building on financial strengths
  • Put your plan into action and monitor its progress
  • Stay on track to meet changing goals, personal circumstances, markets and tax laws

Often a specific event or need will trigger the desire for professional financial planning guidance. These might include:

  • Making sure your money will last during retirement or rolling over a retirement plan
  • Handling the inheritance of a large sum of money or other unexpected financial windfall
  • Preparing for a marriage or divorce
  • Planning for the birth or adoption of a child
  • Facing a financial crisis such as a serious illness, layoff or natural disaster
  • Caring for aging parents or disabled child
  • Coping financially with the death of a spouse or close family member
  • Funding education
  • Buying, selling or passing on a family business
  • Dealing with a complex financial situation such as calculating how long your retirement income will last or maximizing tax strategies

CFP professionals are dedicated to using the financial planning process. To earn the prestigious CFP certification and remain certified as a CFP professional, individuals must meet the following requirements:

  • Education: They must complete a comprehensive course of study offered by a college or university program (ranging from certificate to doctoral degree levels) which covers a personal financial planning curriculum approved by CFP Board. In addition, they must have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Examination: CFP professionals must successfully complete CFP Board's comprehensive examination, which tests an individual's ability to integrate and apply their financial planning knowledge.
  • Experience: They must acquire three years of financial planning related experience, or a limited 2-year structured option, before achieving the right to use the CFP marks.
  • Ethics: They must voluntarily ascribe to CFP Board's code of ethics and additional requirements as mandated. This includes providing financial planning services as a fiduciary, or acting in the client's best interest.