A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional is a designation given by the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional Boards of Standards. It is a financial planning designation that means that a candidate has a certain amount of education and experience, has passed a standardized test, and keeps up with a certain amount of ongoing education.

Why would you want to work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional?

By choosing to work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional you are able to work with someone who has been vetted and endorsed by a third-party organization. Because of the standardized test, you are able to know they have a certain amount of knowledge on financial planning, and due to the education prerequisites you know that they have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and three years of full-time personal financial planning experience or the equivalent part-time experience.

Why wouldn't you want to work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional?

Many clients are looking for a knowledgeable, well-intentioned, financial professional and the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional Boards of Standards holds themselves out as the gold standard in the industry. It’s easy to fall under their spell that you have to work with a financial professional that they endorse. The reality is that what you may get isn’t always what was proposed. In fact, there are more than a few articles on the topic and I posted some below.


Do you get someone with a good education? Maybe. CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional are required to have a bachelor’s degree, but that’s it. If that degree is in underwater basket weaving, I don’t think that’s going to help you on your financial planning journey.


Do you get someone who the right knowledge base? Again, maybe. You definitely get someone who could pass a comprehensive 6 hour exam on financial planning, but that was when they took it. Because it is a lot of information, many testing assistance programs teach you how to pass the test and cram instead of teaching how to apply the information presented.


Do you get someone who is always looking out for your best interest? No. As you can see in some of the articles, there are plenty of occurrences were CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professionals did things that went against the best interest of their clients, were red flagged, and the Boards of Standards continued to endorse these members.


At the end of the day, if you are looking for a good, trustworthy, knowledgeable, well-intentioned financial professional to work with, my suggestion is to learn about the field, interview multiple people, and pick the advisor to work with based on your connection to them and how they are able to help you instead of relying on a third-party organization to influence your decision on where you go.


America’s Broken Financial Advisor Promise - What’s Wrong with the CFP Board & Why You’d Better Check Twice Before Trusting a Certified Financial Planner



It may get harder for consumers to tell how some financial advisors get paid



Why I bid a bittersweet goodbye to my CFP designation



Looking for a Financial Planner? The Go-To Website Often Omits Red Flags


Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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