What’s a Certified Financial Planner?


Many people think all financial planners are “certified’. However, this isn’t the case. While anyone may use the term “financial planner,” only those who have met certification and renewal requirements of the CFP® Board can display the CFP® certification marks.

To obtain the CFP mark, an applicant must

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Complete a CFP Board-registered education program
  • Pass the 10-hour CFP certification exam
  • Have at least three years of qualifying full-time work experience in financial planning
  • Pass professional fitness standards and a background check

CFP practitioners abide by a strict code of professional conduct, known as CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. They must meet continuing education requirements every two years to maintain certification.

CFP professionals are trained to implement comprehensive financial plans for individuals, businesses, and organizations. They have the knowledge to objectively assess your financial status, identify potential problems, and recommend solutions. They have demonstrated expertise covering multiple aspects of financial planning, including income and estate taxes, investment planning, risk management, and retirement planning.

Why work with a CFP?

A CFP can help you establish financial and personal goals and create a plan to achieve them.

You should expect a CFP professional to

  • Invest the time to understand the quality of life you are seeking to achieve, who’s important to you, and your purpose for money
  • Evaluate your financial well-being with a thorough analysis of your assets, liabilities, income, taxes, investments, and insurance
  • Identify areas of concern and helping you address them by developing and implementing a plan that emphasizes your financial strengths while minimizing weaknesses
  • Review your financial plan periodically to accommodate your changing personal circumstances and goals

The financial world has become a complex place. If you’ve handled your own financial affairs in the past, and decide to consult a CPF professional, recognize that the selection process is like choosing a doctor for your financial health.

Working with a CFP® involves sharing personal information, so you need to feel comfortable. The person should be knowledgeable, demonstrate integrity, as well as a commitment to the highest ethical standards.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

For informational purposes only. Not intended as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security or strategy. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Information prepared from third-party sources is believed to be reliable though its accuracy is not guaranteed. Opinions expressed in this commentary reflect subjective judgments of the author based on conditions at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. For more information about Wealth Dimensions, including our Form ADV Part 2A Brochure, please visit https://adviserinfo.sec.gov or contact us at 513-554-6000. Please be advised that this material is not intended as legal or tax advice. Accordingly, any tax information provided in this material is not intended and cannot be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer.

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