Why CFP®?

A common question that financial planner’s get is “What makes a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ different from a non-CFP®?” This question in particular gets asked of me in a lot of my first meetings with potential new clients. I get it. There are a ton of different financial professionals that hold themselves out as financial planners. I know planners with more than half of the alphabet after their name too! So why are these three letters so important?

In one word: Standards.

The Standards

In order to be a CFP® you have to first meet a few qualification standards. While they aren’t grueling, they also aren’t particularly trivial.

  • You need to complete a specific education program.
  • You need to have a bachelor’s degree.
  • You need to have three years of experience doing work that aligns with financial planning skills.
  • You need to pass a final exam that has a significantly high failure rate. (Nov 2023.)

In order to maintain your CFP® designation you need to also meet a few other requirements.

  • You need to maintain a highly ethical practice.
    • As a side note, this high standard of care is why some broker dealers (often folks with big national brands) won’t allow or actively discourage their representatives from becoming CFP® professionals, because they just want them to sell!
  • You need to regularly keep up with continuing education.
Why All Of This Matters

Earning my CFP® was a very significant day in my life, because to me it felt like I had achieved the highest general designation in my field. The three years, classes, and exam that lead to me becoming a CFP® instilled me with both knowledge and confidence to approach my professional responsibilities with. There are many more specific designations, which is why I’ve continued on to earn my RLP® and CDFA® designations.

So why should you choose a CFP®? You should want to hire a professional that meets your standards. So far, there are very few designations that have a comprehensive standard that can act as a floor for your experience. The CFP® designation does this. There are plenty of other criteria to use to select a planner for you – their compensation method, their planning process, and their ideal clients to name a few. That said, the CFP® is a good place to start.

If you have more questions about working with a CFP®, feel free to email me at ianbloom@openworldfp.com or book a time on my calendar.

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