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What is a CFP®?  And why is this designation important?

A Certified Financial Planner™ is largely considered the gold standard for financial planning—of the approximately 270,000 personal financial advisors in the United States, only about 83,000 (or 30 percent) are CFP® professionals.  A Certified Financial Planner™ is an individual who has successfully met rigorous professional standards and has agreed to adhere to the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentially, professionalism and diligence when dealing with clients. They understand the complexities of the changing financial climate and know how to make recommendations in their clients' best interests.

To obtain certification, a CFP® is required to meet the following requirements:

  • Education: Individuals must have a bachelor’s degree, as well as have completed a 7-course personal finance planning program that includes a comprehensive exam at the conclusion of each course. Last, applicants must complete the Financial Plan Development Capstone course that integrates and applies content across all financial planning subject areas.
  • Examination: The CFP® exam is for the financial industry what the bar is for the legal industry. This rigorous test assesses an applicant’s knowledge and application across 106 financial planning topics, including insurance, investment planning, tax planning, estate planning, retirement savings and income planning, and professional conduct/regulation. Preparation for the exam typically includes months of studying—the pass rate is 60 percent.
  • Experience: The CFP Board requires 6,000 hours of experience in the financial planning process (approximately three years of qualifying, full-time work experience).
  • Ethics: All CFP® practitioners are subject to detailed background checks and must adhere to the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards.

Once certified, all CFP® professionals must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years.

At JFL Total Wealth Management, Jerry Lynch has been a CFP® since 2000.

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