Certified Financial Planner FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Certified Financial Planner™ Professionals

What do the CFP® certificant marks represent?  Anyone can call himself or herself a “financial planner.” In fact, many insurance agents and stockbrokers use the term “financial planner” or “financial advisor.” But only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of the CFP®Board can use its marks. Please view this 30-second video. Why are CFP® certification requirements important?  The certification process assures the general public that the individuals authorized to use its marks have met the education, examination and experience requirements to provide co-ordinated financial planning advice. What are the CFP® certification requirements?  Candidates must:
  1. Pass a rigorous two-day, 10 hour exam which currently has a less than 54% pass rate;
  2. Have at least three years of experience in the financial planning process;
  3. Have a bachelor’s degree, or higher; and,
  4. Each candidate must undergo a thorough background check and disclose any investigations or legal proceedings related to their professional conduct.
Can a CFP®  professional lose his or her certification?  The Board has the absolute and unrestricted authority to revoke the right to use the certification marks if it finds the practitioner has failed to adhere to the strict code of ethics and professional responsibility requirements. How many CFP®  professionals are there in the country?  Although there are over several hundred thousand licensed insurance agents and stock brokers, there are only approximately seventy thousand CFP® professionals at present. Why aren’t there more?  Please see above! How can I find out if my “advisor” has received the certification?  Simply go to www.CFP.net, scroll down the left sidebar, click on “Search for CFP® professional” and type in his or her last name. How do I know if I need a  Certified Financial Planner™ professional?  Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Are you confused about the vast array of investment options?
  • Are you unclear about how your current investments are performing?
  • Is your current level of risk appropriate for your goals?
  • Do you and your spouse differ over how to handle money?
  • Have you created an estate plan?
  • Do you feel you’re missing some tax planning opportunities?
  • Do you really know how much money you will need to carry you through your retirement years?
Certified Financial Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®,  Certified Financial Planner and federally registered 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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