What is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?

A Certified Financial Planner, also known by the initials CFP, is a professional certification for individuals who work as financial planners. It is earned through organizations that are associated with the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB), which owns the CFP mark. In order to be eligible to use the CFP designation, a candidate is required to achieve certain educational, examination, experiential and ethics requirements. He or she must also pay a fee for certification.

In order to achieve the CFP designation, a number of qualifications must be met. There is an educational requirement, which stipulates that CFP candidates must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university. Even after the achievement of this degree, to demonstrate mastery of the current CFP certification materials, all candidates must gain a thorough understanding of the key subjects related to complete financial planning. There are nearly one hundred topics covered, including the general principles of finance, financial planning, insurance planning, employee benefits, retirement planning, asset protection, estate planning, investment planning, securities, income tax planning for both federal and state taxes, additional tax planning considerations, and proficiency in many other categories.

While the college degree for CFP eligibility may be in any discipline, the education requirement will include mandatory course training in the CFP topic areas. Once this is satisfied, the candidate may be eligible to participate in the CFP Board Certification Examination, which lasts for ten hours.

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