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Choosing a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Choosing a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

By Amit Bhawani

What is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?

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A Certified Financial Planner, or CFP, is a financial professional who meets the requirements established by the CFP Board of Standards.

To become a Certified Financial Planner, the board requires the following:

  •  A Bachelor’s degree, or higher
  • Complete a CFP Board-Registered Education Program.
  • Pass the CFP Certification Examination, a 10 hour exam
  • Have at least three years of work experience in personal financial planning
  • Pass a background check
  • Pay certification fees

Once they become a CFP, financial professionals are required to report Continuing Education requirements every other year, to insure they are keeping up with changes in the industry.

How does a CFP compare to other financial professionals?

There are many different types of financial professionals, and the “alphabet soup” of designations may be confusing.

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CFPs are trained to develop comprehensive financial plans for individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations. It is their responsibility to objectively assess your financial situation, troubleshoot problem areas, and recommend appropriate options. A good CFP should be confident in all areas of financial planning and the way various strategies can be used to create a comprehensive plan suited to your needs.

How do I pay for a CFP’s services?

There are two ways that CFPs can be compensated. First, they may take a commission from a product or service that they sell you. Second, they may ask that you pay a flat or hourly fee for their services. Some financial professionals use a hybrid of fees and commissions. Be sure to talk about this with your planner before agreeing to engage his or her services.

How do I choose a CFP to work with?

You will be working very closely with your financial planner on every aspect of your wealth management, so it’s important that you are completely confident with the CFP you choose to work with. – Talk to your friends and family to see what their experiences are, it’s a good place to get started.

– Feel free to do some internet searches on prospective planners – you should be able to tell a lot by a person’s, or firm’s, online presence.

– Don’t hesitate to check with the various regulatory boards to see if there has ever been a complaint lodged against the planner. You can check CFP.net, as well as Finra.org, and Sipc.org.

– Finally, give the CFP a call. If you set up a meeting, or even just start out with a long phone conversation, it will give you a good idea of whether this is the planner for you.

Amit Bhawani writes on different topics ranging from technology to Financial Planning and gives advices through different articles on choosing professional financial planners at financialplanners.com who can help you make better decisions with your money.

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Financial Tips for Women

Women, don’t just sit back and let your men take the lead when it comes to your financial future – it just isn’t a smart thing to do – so make your own budget and money saving plan and begin managing your personal finances.

I’m not saying the man in your life isn’t smart, or great, or untrustworthy – I’m saying – if you choose to sit back idly and leave your financial future in your guy’s hands – what are you going to do if something happens to him?

Managing Personal Finances

  • What are you going to do if you end up in the majority – another statistic – another couple that ends up divorced?
  • What if he makes a bad choice and you end up blaming him?
  • At least if you do your research and make some or all of your own choices, you don’t end up playing the blame game.

Financial Tips

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Any good financial plan starts with recognizing and understanding your current financial situation, then developing a livable budget.

Just like with everything else in life, you have to begin at the beginning to create a strong foundation for your financial future.

Plus, you can’t save anything for your future if you aren’t even making ends meet in the first place, now.

Financial Analyst

Once you have created a livable budget and started the savings habit, you can tap into the knowledge a good financial analyst offers.

In addition to asking friends for names of their financial planners, check into the background of anyone you consider taking money advice from – look for a registered rep for financial planning, or a certified financial planner.

What Is a CFP

A CFP is certified financial planner, which means this person has:

  • Taken a CFP-approved set of courses.
  • Passed a ten hour exam, measuring his (or her) ability to translate financial planning problems to real-life cases.
  • Three years previous financial planning experience (in order to become certified.)
  • A certified financial planner must also pass a background check.
  • Agreed to follow a professional code of ethics.

The key thing to take away from this post is, don’t blindly trust your financial future to anyone. Make your own budget and money saving plan, check the credentials of anyone you ask for financial planning help, and make sure the plan you create will give you the future you want.

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Financial Planning Now to Avoid the Risk of Being Broke Later

It’s scary to think of not having enough money at any age, but even scarier to think of being broke after you’ve retired and can’t work anymore – but some planning now can give you a brighter future. (Sorry for stating the obvious.)

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You have choices here – you can hire a financial advisor, you can do research and apply your best common sense, you can flip a coin to choose your retirement savings strategy (but you shouldn’t actually do that) – you can leave it in God’s hands and see how it works out – or you can make a plan.

Financial Planning for Your Future

According to NAPFA, the National Association for Personal Financial Advisors (which can help you find a CFP, or Certified Financial Planner), two out of five people surveyed rated themselves poorly in regards to understanding personal finance.

This lack of financial understanding leads people to retire later, to be underwater with mortgages, to have ZERO DOLLARS saved for retirement, and to have no kind of budget whatsoever.

Ignoring the need for financial planning does not make the problem go away, however. It only serves for stress and depression to build up in the individuals who have foregone this type of monetary exploration.

Financial Management

Whether you have a lot of money or you are struggling to get by, financial management is going to play a big role in your future. If you take control now, your future will be better.

(I know I kind of said that already, in different words, but really, it is so vital it cannot be over-stressed.)

How to Save Money for Long Term Investment

If you feel like you don’t have enough money to get by, saving money is, of course, the farthest thing from your mind.

The thing is, things like saving and contributing to causes, instills in your subconscious mind that there will always be more, and then, you start to find more and more that you can save, and you start to feel better about yourself.

And, as Anthony Robbins said, “If you won’t save a dime out of a dollar, you won’t save a million dollars when you have ten million.”

Personal Finance

Personal Budget Guide
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If you don’t know where to start on this life changing part of rewriting your life story, pick up a book on personal budgeting, or look for money management games you can play to explore the process of taking control of your financial destiny.

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