You may have wondered at some point in your life what the different letters behind a person's name meant. If you are or were a professional, you know that the letters represent a certain expertise or rather, a form of higher learning: Attorney's use Esq., which is an abbreviation for Esquire (gentleman); Medical Doctors use M.D. (abbreviation for the same words); and Doctors of Philosophy use Ph.D. (abbreviation for "philosophy doctor").
The same is true for financial planning professionals. CFP® is short for Certified Financial Planner™. A CFP® demonstrates his or her professionalism by voluntarily submitting to rigorous testing by the Board of Certified Financial Planners. The certification process requires Extensive Education, Examination, Experience, and Ethics. CFPs® must pass a two-day, 10-hour test before being certified. Every two years they must complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing financial planning education.
Not all financial planners are certified. Anyone can call him or herself a "financial planner." Only financial advisors who have fulfilled the CFP Board's certification and renewal requirements can display the CFP certification marks.
Your needs are in the forefront when you work with a CFP®.
Expect a CFP® to follow six steps in your financial planning process:
♦ Establishing and defining the client-planner relationship
♦ Gathering client data, including goals and finances
♦ Analyzing and evaluating your financial status
♦ Developing and presenting financial planning recommendations and/or alternatives
♦ Implementing the financial planning recommendations
♦ Monitoring the financial planning recommendations
The benefits of working with a CFP® as your financial planner should be obvious. The CFPs® advanced education enables him or her to give you a well-rounded financial planning approach.