What is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™?

By November 16, 2015Financial Planning

Lacee Floyd, Rowland Carmichael Advisors, scottsdale wealth managementLacee Floyd explains the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation and certification process.

Imagine this: You and your family decide that you are going to take a road trip next week to Key West, Florida. You have never been before, but it’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. You pack plenty of food and clothes, the car has a full tank of gas, and you remembered to bring your wallet. You pile into the car and you’re off! What could possibly go wrong? There is only one problem: neither your phones nor your car have navigation, and you didn’t bring a map. Sure, there are signs on the road, but highway signs usually only show the cities within the next 400 miles or so. You know your destination is Key West, Florida, but unless you know every city from Phoenix to Key West, the signs will only confuse and frustrate you.

What does this have to do with wealth management? Financial planning is a process very similar to planning your trip and making sure you stay on the right track to your destination. While we may not be driving across the country with you, Rowland Carmichael is there to help you create the best road map to reach your personal financial destinations throughout life.

Financial planning isn’t about selling a product; it is about measuring where you want to be financially against where you are now and developing a process unique to your situation to help you get there. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Candidate, this is exactly what I am learning to do for clients. We want to show you why the CFP® certification is important.

The first step in becoming a CFP® Practitioner is to successfully pass the education modules, which are as follows:

  • General Principles of Financial Planning
  • Insurance Planning
  • Investment Planning
  • Income Tax Planning
  • Retirement Planning
  • Estate Planning
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Professional Conduct and Fiduciary Responsibility
  • Financial Plan Development

Once I have successfully passed the education requirement, I am able to sit for the six-hour exam. Only 50%-60% of those who take the exam actually pass, which shows that only determined and dedicated candidates become eligible for the CFP® certificate.

Following the exam, I must fulfill the experience requirement of either three years of professional experience in financial planning, or two years of apprenticeship experience in financial planning.

Once I have completed the education, examination and experience components, I may submit an application to the CFP Board for review. Upon which, the CFP Board will verify that all requirements have been met and conduct a detailed background check before I may receive the CFP® certificate. After receiving the certificate, I must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years and prove that I am upholding the Standards of Professional Conduct before my certification will be granted renewal.

So why do we take the time at Rowland Carmichael to become CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Practitioners?

A CFP® Certificant is held to the high standards of the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics, Rules of Conduct, Practice Standards, and Disciplinary Rules, all of which outline the certificant’s responsibilities to the public, clients, colleagues, and employers.

The Code of Ethics is made up of seven principles that serve as the foundation for how CFP® Certificants should conduct their professional activities. These principles are central to the values that mark Rowland Carmichael’s commitment to our clients.

  • Integrity
  • Objectivity
  • Competence
  • Fairness
  • Confidentiality
  • Professionalism
  • Diligence

I personally wanted to pursue the CFP® certificate early in my career so that I could start on a solid foundation of high standards and have a deeper understanding of all aspects of financial planning from the very beginning. Although my journey towards the CFP® certificate has just begun, I have already found great value in the knowledge I’ve gained so far. I look forward to not only finishing the education requirements before the exam, but to continuing the education for years to come. I am excited to have the opportunity to help clients create a road map that best fits their situation and needs, while keeping them on track to reach their financial objectives in life!