What is a Certified Financial Planner?

August 31, 2018
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When it comes to financial planning, the basics are relatively simple:  save as much as you can in your retirement account; do not spend more than you make, and prepare your estate for after your passing. However, most individuals get to a point in their lives where they begin to develop deeper, more complicated questions:  How much do I actually need for retirement? Do I need a complex estate plan? Are my investments a good fit for me and my goals?  For these types of questions, we, as savers, need to know our resources to ensure we have quality advice.  After all, your financial future depends on it.

Most of you have heard of the Certified Financial Planning Certification, but what exactly does it mean? A CFP® Practitioner is an individual that has successfully met an extensive required criterion and has been approved by the CFP® Board to use the letters of the designation.

One component of the requirements is a college level education program in financial planning, along with a Capstone course.  This course encompasses eight different topics of coursework, including Education & Investment Planning, Risk Management & Insurance, as well as Estate and Retirement Savings planning.  Applicants must also pass a 6-hour, 170 multiple-choice question exam, that tests candidates on depth and breadth of knowledge, understanding, and application of the material.  In 2017, only 64% of applicants taking the test, passed the examination.  Candidates must show years of experience before using the designation.  Applicants must accumulate 6,000 hours of financial planning on their own, or 4,000 hours under supervision, as an apprentice under a CFP® practitioner.  Finally, applicants must adhere to the highest standard of ethics.  CFP® candidates are required to pass a detailed background check and are asked to disclose any involvement in illegal activity, as well as bankruptcy or customer complaints.  If the CFP® Board deems that the professional's actions are not up to standards, the professional may lose the authorized use of the letters.

What all this means is that a CFP® Professional is prepared, by education and experience, to dig deep into an individual’s financial situation to root up any issues or concerns that may hinder your financial future. Having a knowledgeable CFP® professional by your side looking over your financial situation can help put your best foot forward in working toward your financial goals.  Because of the extensive education program, a CFP® professional is equipped with the knowledge to answer your deep, complicated questions regarding your financial plan, as well as help answer questions that you may not have even thought of or considered.

In July 2018, one of our Wealth Advisors, Jason Gergely, sat for the examination after several months of studying the rigorous curriculum and completing the coursework exams.  After the exam he walked away with a “preliminary pass”, which means he passed the examination, but final confirmations were to be mailed out four weeks later to all applicants who sat for the test in July.  As of August 13, 2018, Alderfer Bergen & Company officially has two CFP® professionals on staff, since Jason received his official notice of completion of all coursework and experience necessary to use the CFP® designation.  Jason specializes in Employee and Employer Plan Benefits, Young Professionals and Social Security planning, just to name a few of his specialty areas.  His knowledge and experience adds to the vast knowledge our office already has in Retirement and Income Planning, Investment Planning and Sudden Wealth Management.  By having a second CFP® Professional in the office, we are even better equipped and prepared to give top-notch, holistic advice to our clients and local small businesses.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. 

Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC.