A financial advisor can help clients navigate a number of different monetary situations, but choosing the best suited advisor for you can be tedious and nerve-wracking. How do you know which type of advisor is ideal for your financial future? It can be difficult to find someone who is exactly right for your situation.
Here, we’ll discuss why you should consider working with a Certified Financial Planner™ professional. Not only do they have a fiduciary obligation, meaning that they’re bound to act within the best interest of their clients, but they also have plenty of education and experience to help you make informed financial decisions. Think of a CFP® professional’s duty this way—in the words of Michael Kitces, “Suitability means selling a suit that fits you. Fiduciary duty means it actually has to look good on you too!”
Speak with a truly Independent Financial Advisor at Good Life Financial Advisors of NOVA today!
What is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional?
A CFP® professional is a fiduciary advisor who primarily works with individual clients and small businesses on personal finance issues across a wide array of disciplines, including: investments, insurance, tax planning, estate planning, and more. CFP® professionals help clients address their needs through a holistic multi-discipline approach.
Getting a CFP® professional designation takes a significant amount of experience and testing, as all advisors must be licensed by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. It’s important to note that only about 20% of all financial advisors are CFP® professionals, meaning just a select few have completed the rigorous coursework and training to achieve the certification.
What Does a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional Do?
CFP® professionals are dedicated to building relationships with their clients to help them hone in on their financial goals. By getting to know their clients personally, CFP® professionals can develop personalized financial plans, assist in the implementation of the plan, and even track clients’ progress towards goals. At Good Life Financial Advisors of NOVA, we created a process we call N.G.P.S.℠ to assist our clients in developing their financial plan and pursuing their goals.
Some of the most popular areas where CFP® professionals lend their expertise include:
- Retirement Planning
- Investment Management
- Risk Management and Insurance
- Estate Planning
- Debt and Credit Option
- Tax Strategy
CFP® professionals work with families and small business owners to create sensible financial plans tailored to specific goals and desires.
Certified Financial Planner™ Professional Requirements
Becoming a CFP® professional requires a lot of dedication and experience. Not only do potential advisors need a college degree and proper work experience, but they must pass the CFP® exam and remain in good standing with the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Board of Standards. This entails hours of CE every year, and ethics that are above reproach. The following criteria must be met to obtain the CFP® certification:
- CFP® Program Education Requirements. A degree from an accredited university that includes classes like Tax Preparation and Retirement Planning.
- Work Experience. CFP® professional candidates need to log long hours working at a reputable firm in order to achieve the certification. Work experience can come in two different ways: 4000 hours of apprenticeship experience or 6000 hours of professional experience. So, not only do candidates need a 120-credit college course load to be applicable for the CFP® program, but also several years of working experience.
- Testing. The final piece of the puzzle is the CFP® exam, a 170-question multiple-choice test which is given three times annually by the Board of Standards. The exam takes 7 hours to finish and candidates must wait 4 weeks for their results.
In addition to these prerequisites, CFP® professionals also must adhere to a strict ethical code. Personal bankruptcies are frowned upon, and the Board of Standards can reject the certificate of a CFP® professional convicted of a financial crime like fraud or embezzlement.
Benefits of Working With a CFP® Professional
The benefits of working with a Certified Financial Planner™ professional can be significant, thanks to the rigorous vetting process by the Board of Standards, thorough education, and significant experience in the field. If you have a complex financial situation, a CFP® professional can help build a plan dedicated to your specific goals. A CFP® professional can help maximize your tax deductions and refund, recommend possible investment products and strategies, create a long-term goal for retirement, and build a savings plan for children’s college costs.
We hope you see why you should consider working with a Certified Financial Planner™ professional! Know that choosing a financial advisor doesn’t need to be a massive headache. Once you understand the different certifications advisors can achieve and what your personal goals are, it’s easy to narrow the field and track down the best advisor for your financial future. If you’d like to work with an experienced, truly independent financial advisor, speak with a financial advisor at Good Life Financial Advisors of NOVA today!