While many financial advisors refer to themselves as a “financial planner” only those who have fulfilled certain rigorous training and requirements can call themselves a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional (CFP®). The CFP® designation stands out and is widely recognized as trustworthy because of the education, experience, and ethics requirements advisors have to meet in order to qualify.
What is different about a CFP® professional?
A CFP® certificant is a financial professional held to strict ethical and performance standards. They help investors with particular financial goals or with broader financial planning needs. They are trained to develop a comprehensive financial strategy to plan for short- and long-term financial goals. Essentially, they bring together all the varied pieces of your financial life into a detailed analysis and plan so that you have clarity on how to plan for your goals.
They must acquire several years of experience related to delivering financial planning services to clients and pass a comprehensive CFP® certification exam before they can earn their title. They must also follow a code of ethics and standards set and enforced by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board).
CFP® professionals have practical financial planning knowledge, so you can count on them to help you create a realistic financial plan that fits your individual needs and put your interests first. That is because a CFP® professional commits to acting as a fiduciary—which means acting in your best interests at all times when providing you with financial advice and financial planning services.
What can a CFP® Professional do for you?
All this rigorous training and preparation equips CFP® professionals to assist clients in any stage of life, no matter how complex their personal finances or how ambitious their plans. However, if you haven’t worked with a CFP® professional before, a specific financial challenge or question could prompt you to seek out a help.
Such events might include, but are not limited to:
- Life Changes: a change in marital status, a birth or death in the family, a financial windfall
- Career Changes: change in employment status, benefit changes, entering or exiting a business
- Retirement Planning: questions about distribution strategies, Social Security planning, or retirement savings goals
- Investments and Taxes:fine tuning your investment strategy, long-term planning for major life goals, strategies to attempt to limit tax liability
Why should you work with a CFP® professional?
Managing your finances often means a lot more than investing and budgeting. It can involve figuring out how all of the pieces of your finances must work together — for the short term and over the long haul — to help you achieve your financial goals.
There are plenty of reasons why you should consider hiring a CFP® professional such as:
- Help without judgement. Think of your CFP® professional as a coach in your corner. It’s not their job to judge or reprimand you; it’s their job to help you create and set in motion a plan for your financial future.
- Encouragement and guidance. When you work with a CFP® professional, crafting a plan is just the opening act, the real work begins thereafter. Setting a comprehensive financial plan in motion is tough, ongoing work, and having a knowledgeable professional behind you makes a big difference.
- Top tier professionalism. Your CFP® professional is qualified to create and guide your financial plan. Only the most qualified, committed candidates earn the right to use the CFP® mark.
- Rigorous level of standards. In order to provide you with peace of mind, all CFP® professionals are sworn fiduciaries. As fiduciaries, they are legally responsible to put their clients’ best interests first, to avoid conflicts of interest, to disclose any potential conflicts of interest to clients, and to ensure the advice they provide is accurate and thorough.
- Guidance through change. It’s quite common for people to seek out professional guidance before a planned life change or in the aftermath of an unexpected one. You can trust a CFP® professional for frank advice and comprehensive guidance through any life-changing event you’re facing.
So, what’s the bottom line?
Understanding the nuances of every decision as you navigate your financial life isn’t something that comes naturally to most people. It takes a significant amount of knowledge, experience, and time commitment to ensure that every important detail is considered.
It’s important to be proactive about personal financial planning. It is always a good time to start working with a CFP® professional regardless of where you are and what financial situation you are facing. Even if you feel like you’re on track to meet your financial goals, calling in a CFP® professional to give a second opinion or provide a fresh set of eyes can be very helpful.
When you work with a CFP® professional, you gain access to their expertise and experience. They can provide you with clear and customized guidance based on your unique goals, allowing you to develop a customized plan according to your specific needs and aspirations. Talk with one of our CFP® professionals today about your particular situation.
CONTACT US to learn more about how we can help you get your finances on the right track so you can prepare for your future.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and Certified Financial Planner™ in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.