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Sun, 12 Nov 2023 08:00:00 -0600entext/htmlhttps://www.uwyo.edu/uw/degree-programs/certified-financial-planning.html 4 Certified Senior Designations Worth Holding

In recent years, the number and scope of professional designations available have grown, and many financial advisors are now unsure of which credential will serve them most effectively. This is especially true for specialized designations for retirement planning and working with the specific financial needs of older adults. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, the major driver of the growth in jobs for financial advisors is the aging population. The large baby boomer generation is on the way to retirement, and longer life spans are leading to prolonged retirements, adding to the demand for financial planning services aimed at older adults. Here, we take a closer look at some of the designations used and whether they are worth pursuing for those looking to offer financial advice on retirement planning, retirement income, longevity planning, and estate planning.

Key Takeaways

  • Many financial advisors are specializing in retirement planning and income.
  • As a result, these advisors have sought targeted training and education to validate their expertise and signal their skills to those who need it.
  • Several professional credentials and designations are now available for financial planning for older adults, with certified senior advisor (CSA) being the most recognized.
  • Chartered advisor for senior living (CASL) was a popular certification no longer available for new applicants (though existing license holders are still required to continue their education).
  • Some designations, like the certified senior specialist (CSS), face restrictions from state bodies and are not recognized as valid in some areas.
  • Another well-rounded certification option is the chartered senior financial planner (CSFP).

What Are Designations Focused on Older Adults?

Several designations have been created in the financial planning industry in recent years. Designations focused on the needs of older adults primarily involve financial strategies for individuals aged 50 and older.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) do not officially recognize any professional titles such as “retirement advisor” that financial professionals use. Nevertheless, this financial planning consumer demographic has been increasingly targeted from almost every direction by the financial services industry, including banks, insurance companies, and independent financial and estate planners.

With potentially larger portfolio balances, given their longer investment timeline and a growing need for retirement and succession planning services, there are ample needs and opportunities for working with older clients.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) does not approve or endorse any professional designation. The designation's inclusion in its database doesn't mean that FINRA considers the designation acceptable for use by a registered representative.

4 Main Designations

Here are four main designations that financial professionals may use to signal expertise in the financial planning needs of older adults:

Certified Senior Advisor

Offered and recognized by the Society of Certified Senior Advisors (SCSA), a CSA is the best-known advisory certification on this list. Candidates need to pass a certification examination on the social, medical, cultural, financial, and legal aspects of aging to become a license holder.

There is no prescribed training or education program, but the SCSA offers resources like textbooks and live course training. Preparation for the exam usually takes 50–60 hours. Candidates must also complete 30 hours of continuing education and pass a criminal background check every three years to maintain their certification.

CSAs are typically professionals in different fields who work exclusively or frequently with the aging and want to supplement their professional knowledge with the designation. Many advisors who earn this designation work primarily with fixed or indexed annuities. However, some nonfinancial professionals, including estate planning attorneys, healthcare professionals, and administrators, carry this designation. CSAs must inform consumers that the designation alone does not imply financial, health, or social expertise. 

Chartered Advisor in Senior Living (CASL)

Offered by The American College, CASL applicants need to have worked with older adults for a minimum of three years before they can take the required examination. Applicants must also adhere to The American College's code of ethics.

A CASL advisor is tested on retirement distributions from pensions and Social Security, planning for health and long-term care needs, and effective estate planning strategies. The CASL designation is no longer offered to new students. However, existing certificate holders are required to participate in the Professional Recertification Program to keep their credentials.

Certified Senior Specialist (CSS)

CSS requires more course work than the others in retirement planning, estate tax planning, annuities, Social Security, and Medicare. The exam covers long-term care and issues related to the care of adults 80 and over, the demographics of the population of older adults, charitable estate planning techniques, and reverse mortgages.

The CSS license is issued by Certified for Senior Studies, although not all jurisdictions recognize the designation. For example, California treats this license differently than the CSA since the designation can't be used by agents or brokers to sell insurance to adults 65 and over. For this reason, the CSS license holds much less value than some of the other licenses.

Chartered Senior Financial Planner (CSFP)

Issued by the Association of Chartered Senior Financial Planners, the CSFP designation trains recipients in advanced retirement and estate planning strategies. To take the exam, trainees must have two years of insurance experience, two years of securities experience, or be a licensed attorney or CPA. Three-day training sessions are available before the exam, and 16 hours of continuing education are required every two years.

Like other exams, the CSFP designation prescribes a code of ethics and demonstrates a holder's proficiency in preretirement, post-retirement, and asset protection strategies.

Broad Based Designations That Serve Seniors

While designations for expertise in the financial needs of older adults may differ substantially in the academic training, none of them can compare to the curricula for established and respected designations such as Chartered Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Life Underwriter, or Chartered Financial Consultant.

If you wish to position yourself as an expert in financial planning for anyone, including older adults, you should first consider earning one of the more traditional, comprehensive designations. Afterward, you could earn one of the designations focusing on older adults. At that point, your competence in the needs of this demographic would mean a great deal more as you've honed in on a specific Topic while having a broad background in financial planning. You would also be subject to a code of ethics that can be enforced.

Pending Consequences

Given they often have access to savings that are meant to take them through their retirement years, older adults are frequently targeted by scam artists and charlatans. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports that in 2022, there were 88,262 complaints of fraud, resulting in $3.1 billion in losses from people age 60 and over. This may vastly underrate the problem, given that such frauds often go unreported, according to the NCOA. The most common scams involve impersonating government officials, supposed sweepstakes winnings, and robocalls.

As a result, state and federal regulators have taken notice of inadequate training and the business approach many certificate holders take to the financial matters of older adults. One of the main limits regulators face when dealing with this problem is that no overarching agency monitors the financial designation community like there is for insurance or securities licensing. Therefore, any “rogue” credential must be dealt with state-by-state.

What Is the Best License Designation for Working With Older Adults?

The Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) designation is the most recognizable professional license. Though it still falls well short of the breadth and depth of wide-scale professional licenses, it remains a strong option for those looking for specific certification in the financial matters of older adults.

Is It Worth Getting a Designation for Working With Older Adults?

There are mixed opinions on the value of these license designations. Some argue any sort of formal training and exam provides value and boosts your credibility as a financial planner. Others point out the gap in education between these license designations and broader financial planner certifications. As long as your clients understand the limits of what the designation means, there is some value in pursuing them.

Are All Designations for Working With Older Adults Recognized?

No, such license designations are often recognized on a state-by-state basis. Each state will have its own reporting requirements, and many limit the recognition of some designations. When a designation is limited in a state, the financial advisor can't use that title while pursuing sales of insurance or securities. To check whether your license is recognized in a specific state, check with that state's Department of Insurance.

The Bottom Line

While the differences between designations such as the CFP and CSA may be apparent to those in the business, most people looking for financial advice may have difficulty comprehending the gap in training between the two. Although it would be unfair to label every financial professional who holds a designation for advising older adults as dishonest, the increasing pressure from state regulators is making the future of these designations uncertain.

Advisors considering whether to pursue a designation for working with older adults may want to check with their state's insurance commissioner and securities bureau before enrolling in a program. While bogus designations can fool prospects and clients at least temporarily, regulators are certain to rectify the situation eventually.

Thu, 14 Dec 2023 08:34:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.investopedia.com/financial-advisor/close-look-at-certified-senior-designations/
How To Choose A Financial Advisor

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

Are you seeking assistance with your financial management? If so, you’re not alone. Many Americans could benefit from financial guidance. In fact, according to the National Financial Education Council, the average American incurs a cost of $1,200 per year due to a lack of personal finance knowledge.

Choosing a good financial advisor can help you avoid these costs and focus on your goals. Financial advisors aren’t just for rich people—working with a financial advisor is a great choice for anyone who wants to get their personal finances on track and set long-term objectives. To find the ideal financial advisor for your requirements, consider following our 5 key steps.

Related: Find A Financial Advisor In 3 minutes

Step 1: Decide What Part of Your Financial Life You Need An Advisor For

Before you speak to a financial advisor, decide which aspects of your financial life you need help with. When you first sit down with an advisor, you’ll want to be ready to explain your particular money management needs.

Keep in mind that financial advisors provide more than just investment advice. The best financial planner is the one who can help you chart a course for all your financial needs. This can cover investment advice for retirement plans, debt repayment, insurance product suggestions to protect yourself and your family and estate planning.

Depending on where you are in life, you may not need comprehensive financial planning. People whose financial lives are relatively straightforward, like young people without families of their own or significant debt, might only need help with retirement planning.

People with complex financial needs, however, may need extra assistance. They could be looking to establish college funds or trusts for their children, navigate aggressive debt payment situations or solve tricky tax problems. Not all types of financial advisors offer the same menu of services, so decide which services you need and let this guide your search.

Step 2: Learn About the Different Types of Financial Advisors

There’s no federal law that regulates who can call themselves a financial advisor or provide financial advice. While many people call themselves financial advisors, not all have your best interest at heart. That’s why you have to carefully evaluate potential financial advisors and make sure they are good for you and your money.

Part of learning about the different types of advisors is understanding fiduciary duty. Some, but not all, financial advisors are bound by fiduciary duty, meaning that they are legally required to work in your financial best interest. Other people who call themselves advisors are only held to a suitability standard, meaning they only must suggest products that are suitable for you—even if they’re more expensive and earn them a higher commission. (The SEC is trying to regulate this, though, by limiting the use of “advisor” to those who hold themselves to a fiduciary standard.)

Regardless of which kind of advisor you choose, you should make sure you know how they earn money. This helps you determine if their recommendations are actually better for you—or for their wallets.

Here’s how to think about these four types of financial advisors:

Fee-Only Financial Advisors

Fee-only financial advisors earn money from the fees you pay for their services. These fees may be charged as a percentage of the assets they manage for you, as an hourly rate, or as a flat rate.

Almost all fee-only advisors are fiduciaries. Generally speaking, they have chosen to work under a fee-only model to reduce any potential conflicts of interest. Because their income is from clients, it’s in their best interest to make sure you end up with financial plans and financial products that work best for you.

Financial Advisors Who Earn Commissions

Some financial advisors make money by earning sales commissions from third parties. Among financial advisors who earn sales commissions, some may advertise themselves as “free” financial advisors who do not charge you fees for advice. Others may charge fees, meaning they derive only part of their income from third-party commissions.

Either way, financial advisors who earn third-party sales commissions derive some or all of their income from selling you certain financial products. If you choose to work with a financial advisor who earns sales commissions, you need to take extra care.

Commission-only advisors are not fiduciaries. They work as salespeople for investment and insurance brokerages and are only held to suitability standards. In contrast, some fee-based financial advisors are fiduciaries, though it’s important to determine if they’re always acting as fiduciaries or if they “pause” fiduciary duty when discussing certain types of products, like insurance.

Related: Find A Financial Advisor In 3 minutes

Keep in mind, commissions aren’t bad in and of themselves. They’re not even necessarily red flags.

Some financial products are predominantly sold under a commission model. Take life insurance: A fee-based planner who receives compensation for helping you purchase a life insurance policy may still have your best interests at heart when advising on other financial products.

“To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with paying the commission for life insurance,” says Karen Van Voorhis, a fee-based certified financial planner (CFP) and Director of Financial Planning at Daniel J. Galli & Associates in Norwell, Mass. “That’s how the structure of that industry works.”

Purchasing financial products via financial advisors that earn commissions may be a matter of convenience, especially if someone will receive a commission regardless of where you buy the product. What’s important is understanding the difference. And if you work with a fee-based financial advisor, understand when they are acting as a fiduciary, especially when they help you purchase financial products.

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Registered Investment Advisors

Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) are companies that provide fiduciary financial advice. RIAs employ Investment Advisor Representatives (IARs), who are bound by fiduciary duty. An RIA may have one or hundreds of IARs working for it.

IARs may call themselves financial advisors and may be fee-only or fee-based. Some may have additional credentials, including the certified financial planner (CFP) designation.

“The certified financial planner designation is really the gold standard in the financial planning industry,” says Van Voorhis. A CFP designation indicates a financial advisor has passed rigorous industry exams covering real estate, investment, and insurance planning as well as has years of experience in their fields.

Because of their wide range of expertise, CFPs are well-suited to help you plan out every aspect of your financial life. They may be particularly helpful for those with complex financial situations, including managing large outstanding debts and will, trust and estate planning.

Robo Advisors

Robo advisors offer low-cost, automated investment advice. Most specialize in helping people invest for mid- and long-term goals, like retirement, through preconstructed diversified portfolios of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

“For younger people who are really tech-savvy, a robo advisor just to manage retirement funds could be a perfect solution,” says Brian Behl, a CFP at Behl Wealth Management in Waukesha, Wisc. “I don’t think they’re going to get as in-depth advice on insurance and retirement and taxes.”

People with complex financial needs should probably choose a conventional financial advisor, although many robo advisors provide financial planning services a la carte or for higher net-worth clients.

“While the robo advisors have really disrupted the industry…I do think there’s still a place for human advisors right now,” says Corbin Blackwell, a CFP at robo advisor Betterment.

Betterment, for example, allows clients to purchase individual financial advising sessions, and Personal Capital, Wealthsimple, and Betterment provide regular financial planning for clients with higher account balances for a management fee.

Step 3: Choose What Kind of Financial Advice You Need

Services offered by financial advisors vary from advisor to advisor, but they may provide financial advice on any of the following topics:

  • Investment advice: Financial advisors research different investment options and make sure your investment portfolio stays within your desired level of risk.
  • Debt management: If you have outstanding debts, like credit card debt, student loans, car loans, or mortgages, financial advisors will work with you to chart a plan for repayment.
  • Budgeting help: Financial advisors are experts in analyzing where your money goes once it leaves your paycheck. Advisors can help you craft budgets so you’re prepared to reach your financial goals.
  • Insurance coverage: Financial advisors may examine your current policies to identify any gaps in coverage or recommend new types of policies, like disability insurance or long-term care coverage, depending on your financial situation.
  • Tax planning: Tax planning involves strategizing ways to decrease the amount of taxes you may pay, like by large charitable donations or tax-loss harvesting. Keep in mind that not all financial planners are tax experts and that tax planning is different from tax preparation. You will probably still need a CPA or tax software to file your taxes.
  • Retirement planning: Financial advisors can help you build funds for the ultimate long-term goal, retirement. And then, once you’re retired or nearing retirement, they can help ensure you’re able to keep your money safe.
  • Estate planning: For those who wish to leave a legacy, financial advisors can help you transfer your wealth to the next generation, whether that’s family, friends, or charitable causes.
  • College planning: If you hope to fund loved ones’ educations, financial advisors can craft a plan to help you save for their higher education.

In addition to investment management and financial planning, financial advisors also offer emotional support and perspective during volatile economic times. During the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020, for instance, client demand for financial advisor contact increased by almost 50%.

Related: Find A Financial Advisor In 3 minutes

“I think that during these times, we can be a source of reason,” says Blackwell. “We can weather the storm. We’ve built this portfolio for a reason.”

When choosing a financial advisor, make sure they offer the services you’re looking for in your financial and non-financial lives.

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Step 4: Decide How Much You Can Pay Your Financial Advisor

It used to be that financial advisors charged fees that were a percentage of the assets they managed for you. Today, advisors offer a wide variety of fee structures, which helps make their services accessible to clients of all levels of financial means.

  • Commission-only financial advisors may seem free on paper, but they may receive a portion of what you invest or purchase as a payment. These “free” financial advisors are typically available through investment or insurance brokerages. Remember, these advisors may only be held to suitability standards, so they may end up costing what you would pay for a similar financial product suggested by a fiduciary financial advisor—or more.
  • Fee-only and fee-based financial advisors may charge fees based on the total amount of assets they manage for you (assets under management), or they may charge by the hour, by the plan, through a retainer agreement, or via a subscription model. Common average financial advisor fee rates are listed in the table below:

Step 5: Research Financial Advisors

Financial advice comes in many forms, and there are a variety of different kinds of financial professionals, so you need to do your homework. Make sure the advisor guiding your financial decisions is trustworthy and capable.

There are a few good ways to find a financial advisor. Ask friends, family and peers for recommendations when trying to find a financial advisor near you. Alternatively, look for financial advisors online. Many professional financial planning associations provide free databases of financial advisors:

When evaluating advisors, be sure to consider their credentials as well as research their backgrounds and fee structures. You can view disciplinary actions and complaints filed against financial advisors using FINRA’s BrokerCheck. And remember, just because someone is part of a financial planning association, that doesn’t mean they’re a fiduciary financial advisor.

Can Financial Advisors provide Economic Insights?

A financial advisor can help you make decisions based on current economic conditions that you may not be aware of. In December 2023, we’re in a high-interest rate environment with inflation cooling down but still a significant factor. A financial advisor may urge you to pay off high-interest debt, take advantage of high-yield savings accounts, and continue to invest in tax-efficient accounts so you aren’t actively losing money to inflation.

Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Advisor

When meeting a financial advisor for the first time, it’s important to obtain the answers to these questions and ensure you’re satisfied with their responses:

  • Fiduciary Status: Are you a fiduciary, committed to acting in my best interest?
  • Compensation Structure: How do you make money? Understand their fee structure and any potential conflicts of interest.
  • Consistency of Fiduciary Duty: Do you always act as fiduciaries, even when selling commission-based products?
  • Financial Planning Approach: What is your approach to financial planning? Learn about their strategies and methodologies.
  • Available Services: What financial planning services do you offer? Ensure their offerings align with your specific needs.
  • Client Profile: What kind of clients do you typically work with? Confirm if they have experience catering to clients similar to you.
  • Account Minimums: Do you have any account minimums? Determine if their requirements match your financial situation.
  • Conflicts of Interest: Do you have any conflicts of interest in managing your money? Ensure transparency and alignment of interests.
  • Required Information: What information do you need me to provide to develop my financial plan? Gather relevant documents.
  • Meeting Frequency: How many times and how often will we meet? Establish expectations for ongoing communication.
  • Collaboration with Advisors: Will you collaborate with your other advisors, such as CPAs or attorneys? Coordinate efforts for comprehensive financial management.

Related: Find A Financial Advisor In 3 minutes

The Bottom Line

Because of the ambiguity in the industry, you have to exercise caution to make sure you get the right financial advisor who meets your fiduciary and financial needs. That said, when you choose the right financial advisor for you, they can help you achieve your financial goals and financially protect your loved ones and their futures.

“So much of what I do in a life-centered approach to financial planning and wealth management is walk out life with people,” says Wes Brown, a CFP at CogentBlue Wealth Advisors in Knoxville, Tenn. “I think there’s value in an ongoing relationship where somebody can help you walk through the various waypoints you’re going to come to.

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Financial Advisor Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a financial advisor?

Financial advisors are personal finance experts who provide you financial advice and manage your money. Some—but not all—are fiduciaries. A fiduciary acts only in your best financial interest.

“A financial advisor is like a coach,” says Matt Chancey, a certified financial planner (CFP) at Dempsey Lord Smith in Tampa, Fla. “It helps to have someone keep you accountable to your goals and make sure that you aren’t making any major missteps.”

What can a financial advisor do for you?

A good financial investment advisor can evaluate your current situation and develop a comprehensive plan to guide you through your financial life.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” says Marianela Collado, a CFP and certified public accountant (CPA) at Tobias Financial Advisors in Plantation, Fla. “By opening your finances up, a good financial adviser can suggest a wide range of opportunities that the client probably never thought of or wouldn’t even know to ask for.”

Who needs a financial advisor?

Though some people may think they don’t need a financial advisor until they’ve amassed at least $1 million, the amount of assets you hold shouldn’t be the sole determining factor. In fact, financial advisors work with clients of all tax brackets and backgrounds.

How much does a financial advisor cost?

Financial advisor fees can vary widely. This is due to there being different methods for a financial advisor to generate their income. Some advisors are fee-only. Other advisors are commission-based. Some advisors even work on a hybrid model between the two.

It’s recommended that you research how the individual advisor you’re choosing generates their income before starting to work with them.

When should I get a financial advisor?

Financial advisors become most helpful when your financial life becomes complex. That might be when you get married, have children, get divorced, are managing many competing debts, come into an unexpected windfall or are navigating end-of-life financial decisions.

Wed, 20 Dec 2023 20:11:00 -0600 John Schmidt en-US text/html https://www.forbes.com/advisor/investing/how-to-choose-a-financial-advisor/
New change to 529 college savings plans has ‘so many caveats,’ advisor says. Here's what to know No result found, try new keyword!Starting in 2024, families can roll unused 529 plan funds to the account beneficiary's Roth individual retirement account, without triggering income taxes or penalties. However, there are "so many ... Wed, 03 Jan 2024 05:32:21 -0600 en-us text/html https://www.msn.com/ Slim down that 80-page financial plan — a New Year's resolution for advisors

A quarter of a century ago, I began my career as a financial advisor and certified financial planning practitioner, emphasizing deep analysis and technical expertise, earning designations early on and touting my team's capabilities. 

However, after my first decade in the industry I realized that very few clients cared about the intricacies of the robust 80-page reports we used to present to them, both at the onset of our relationship and throughout our time working together. Those reports were meant to instill confidence in our clients that their best interests were reflected in our research and analysis of their financial state of affairs, showcasing our understanding of their balance sheet, including summaries of data they provided, assumptions and projections going forward. 

Adam Holt of Asset-Map

H. Adam Holt, CEO and co-founder of Asset-Map

But over the years I've come to believe those reports were more about reassuring ourselves, as advisors, of our own conclusions about the financial plan we'd devised for the client. And more often than not the reports we compiled included explanatory or disclosure text that went unread — or intimidated the client into submission.

These reports are just the starting point of what a professional should be doing in the back office, but they don't necessarily facilitate effective communication with the client in the front. It's akin to saying we have 20 years of recipes for meals when the client just wants to know what's for dinner tonight. Clients aren't interested in the lengthy recipe; they want actionable steps for the present moment.

More specifically, the advisor community is witnessing a shift in high net worth client expectations from those  80-page reports to executive summaries of those reports. The popularity of the one-page financial plan (and related technological solutions that aim to facilitate quicker and more effective communication) has flourished as advisors have placed a renewed emphasis on the value of their own time. It also reflects the recognition that what most clients truly value is the trust in our competence and the ability to communicate and execute a plan when they have none.  

While I hate to admit it, clients don't have to follow a plan perfectly for it to work; typical financial planning engagements are intimidating right from the start, so let's start small. Take, as an example, a New Year's resolution to get back in shape. While the larger end goal may seem daunting, lifting weights twice a week is an effective place to begin that process. Similarly, typical financial planning engagements are intimidating right from the onset, and it's OK for individuals — and their advisors — to start small. 

This all leads me to assert that financial planning, as we once knew it, is evolving away from an annual display of technical printouts and toward advice engagement and an ongoing advisor-client conversation.

READ MORE: HNW clients want more online engagement and to leave the 'heavy lifting' to advisors

Such an evolution is overdue, and largely a product of younger generations seeking advisors who will legitimately empower them throughout their financial wellness journey. In the past, too many professionals have justified their fees by showcasing the aforementioned extensive analyses conducted in the initial months of a client relationship and have allowed the financial planning process to morph into a sales tool focused on asset gathering, insurance placements, annuity transactions and even banking and property casualty services.

The issue here isn't necessarily the financial planning software or the output it generates; it's the perception that providing a lengthy technical report is sufficient to validate the recommendations. In reality, if we're truly honest with ourselves, how many of our clients actually take the time to delve into the meticulously crafted presentations we proudly create? The ultimate point here is that clients are entitled to understand the transactions being carried out on their behalf, and financial planning isn't measured by the thickness of your reports. 

Ultimately, in today's shared experience economy, there's a heightened demand for information that is not only reliable, but also fast and easily digestible on demand. If a client isn't revisiting those voluminous reports, dusting off their covers or retrieving them from the depths of a drawer, they have no true value. 

How can you ensure that you're delivering an advice experience that truly engages, elevates financial well-being and is an experience your clients can't live without?

My firm focuses on delivering a visualization of households' current financial state, highlighting all of the people and financial decisions that exist for a particular client at any given time. This facilitates conversations about the relevancy of financial instruments and helps advisors educate their clients on the purpose and intent of them. Each of the financial planning projection tools we offer lives completely on its own as a tear sheet, limited to one page. 

More broadly, advisors must ensure the most relevant details of a client's financial situation are digestible in order to reach a consensus on the most urgent priorities. And most importantly, it's paramount that advisors be mindful of the resources they create for their clients in the attempt to lift their overall financial well-being.

If those resources don't combine empathy with technical expertise and provide clients with the confidence to understand how decisions serve their household, then you don't have a modern financial plan.

Thu, 28 Dec 2023 05:30:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.financial-planning.com/opinion/slim-down-that-80-page-financial-plan-a-new-years-resolution-for-advisors
Certified Financial Planner Board Of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) No result found, try new keyword!Celtics star has been awarded the largest contract in NBA history but financial planner, while commending Brown's efforts, says wealth inequality is a complex issue. The American Institute of CPAs ... Tue, 12 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.investmentnews.com/tag/certified-financial-planner-board-of-standards-inc-cfp-board Once-exclusive 'accredited investor' tag on track to apply to half of U.S. households

alotofpeople - stock.adobe.com

With no inflation adjustments to the criteria for who counts as an "accredited investor" in four decades, the number of households fitting the definition has swollen sixteenfold.

And unless regulators start erecting further barriers to entry, the accredited investor crowd is expected to grow large enough in the next 20 years to encompass nearly half of all U.S. households. Accredited investors are generally meant to be members of an exclusive club deemed fit by their financial sophistication and wherewithal to put money into hedge funds, private investments in startup firms and other risky vehicles not commonly traded on public markets.

Since 1982, the Securities and Exchange Commission has defined these sorts of investors as people with a net worth of at least $1 million or more than $200,000 in annual income in each of the previous two years. The criteria have been refined several times since then. 

In 1988, for instance, the Wall Street regulator decided to admit households with a joint annual income of $300,000 over the past two years. In 2011, it said investors' primary residences had to be excluded from the net worth calculation.

READ MORE: The 23 top tax stories of 2023

But the basic thresholds have remained the same even as inflation has eroded the buying power of the dollar. That has meant a steep increase in the number of U.S. households meeting the criteria for accredited investors.

Time for review?
A report SEC staff released on Dec. 15 suggests those standards could be due for revision. Jay Gould, a former SEC lawyer and current special counsel in the San Francisco office of Baker Botts, noted that the report makes no specific recommendations.

But its prediction that nearly half of all U.S. households will meet the definition of accredited investor in the next 20 years does raise real questions over whether the net worth and income criteria are serving their intended purpose. 

"They are laying the groundwork for saying, should we index this to inflation?" Gould said in an interview. "Or should we have additional standards?"

According to the SEC's report, in 1983 only 1.51 million households met the definition, or 1.8% of the total. By 2022, that number had risen to 24.3 million households, or 18.5% of the total. And if nothing changes, it will approach 80 million by 2042 —nearly half of all U.S. households.

If the SEC's thresholds had kept pace with inflation, the net worth limit would now stand at a little above $3 million. The income limits would be around $608,000 for individuals and $911,000 for households with joint incomes.

How much money are we talking?
Gould said the SEC has struggled to gauge how much money annually goes into the sorts of nonpublic investments that are typically reserved for accredited investors. The agency's report estimates that $3.7 trillion was raised by these means in 2022, much of it going to private startup firms. Registered offerings on regulated public markets brought in only $1 trillion in the same period.

But Gould noted that the SEC acknowledges in its own report that unregistered offerings, by their very nature, are difficult to track.

Once every four years
The SEC's report is a result of a provision in the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 requiring the SEC to review its standards for accredited investors every four years. Gould said he thinks the SEC has the legal authority to change the standards on its own, although any attempt of that sort might lead to legal challenges.

Usha Rodrigues, a professor of corporate finance and securities law at the University of Georgia, said in an interview that there's sometimes a perception that the accredited investor laws exclude regular investors from opportunities that allow the rich to grow only richer.

READ MORE: How the election will hit markets and 4 other wealth predictions for 2024

"When times are good, people are pressed up against the glass and wondering, why can't we do what everybody else is doing?" Rodrigues said. "The thought is that this is not fair and it's not American."

But when the bottom drops out of these riskier investments, a hue and cry often goes up asking why less sophisticated investors weren't better protected, she said.

Legislation situation
Even as some question if the definition of accredited investor could stand some tightening, Congress in recent years has put forward a variety of bills meant to lower the gates. The Fair Investment Opportunities for Professional Experts Act, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June, would expand the definition to include certified broker-dealers, investment advisors or others who have certain professional licenses or experiences. 

The legislation is similar to an internal SEC order from Aug. 20 extending the definition of accredited investor to federal- or state-registered advisors and certain holders of brokerage licenses, among others. Like similar pieces of legislation in recent years, its chances of adoption by both chambers are slim.

Gould said he thinks Democrats in the Senate will resist attempts to admit more households into the ranks of accredited investors. He also predicted any attempt by the SEC to tighten the admission standards will probably wait until after the presidential election in November.

"It's probably time that they do something," he said. "But I wouldn't expect anything immediately."

Carve-out for startups?
Rodrigues said one argument commonly made by advocates of looser criteria is that the current qualifications make it difficult for private startup firms to raise money from regular investors. Difficulties with accessing capital are one of the biggest struggles for companies that are just getting started.

Rodrigues said that if lawmakers are seeking to ease the way for startups, they could devise an exception that allows non-accredited households to put money into them while still keeping up the barriers to investing in hedge funds and other risky alternatives.

"I'm not anti-hedge funds," Rodrigues said. "But I really do think there is an argument that there needs to be a more direct path to capital markets with respect to startups rather than for hedge funds or derivative plays."

Thu, 28 Dec 2023 04:11:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.financial-planning.com/news/accredited-investor-numbers-to-swell-in-next-20-years
Bad financial advice comes in many forms. Knowing how to spot it can save you money No result found, try new keyword!Whether it came from a family member, social media influencer or certified professional, if you’re a millennial or gen Z who’s been burned by bad financial advice in the past year, you can take some ... Tue, 19 Dec 2023 01:05:00 -0600 en-us text/html https://www.msn.com/ Vaillancourt becomes a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor

BANGOR – Acadia Federal Credit Union is pleased to announce that collections officer, Kate Vaillancourt, has successfully finished the required coursework and exam to become a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor.  

CCUFC designation is earned through the Credit Union National Association Financial Counseling Certification Program eSchool and demonstrates proficiency in critical financial counseling skills and concepts. The program is designed for credit union staff who work in financial counseling, collections, and loan departments, to help Excellerate the financial well-being of credit union members. 

The demand for expert assistance is significant, particularly as many individuals confront uncertain economic futures. Vaillancourt’s expertise will be used to assist Acadia FCU members facing financial challenges and guide them toward greater financial stability. This may ultimately help reduce delinquencies and increase adoption of credit union products and services, while showcasing the distinctive advantages of credit union membership.

“Kate’s recent certification is more than just an individual achievement; it embodies our mission of creating exceptional experiences that enrich the lives of our members,” said Acadia FCU Executive Vice President, Joey Cannan. “With each stride we make in professional development, we draw closer to providing unparalleled resources and support to our community, always aiming to elevate the standards of excellence.”

To earn the CCUFC designation, Vaillancourt completed a combination of educational objectives and passed the required exam. She will keep her financial counseling knowledge current by recertifying every three years. 

Acadia FCU is committed to offering continuous educational opportunities, empowering our team to excel in their respective roles and provide meaningful guidance to our members.

With a rich history dating back to 1963, Acadia Federal Credit Union is the culmination of seven smaller community credit unions and proudly serves Aroostook, Penobscot, Hancock, Washington, and Piscataquis counties. With eight branch locations, over 16,000 members, and assets exceeding $327 million, our mission, “Creating exceptional experiences to enrich your life,” guides our dedication to delivering top-tier support and financial solutions, while contributing to the vibrancy of our communities. Discover how our member-owned financial institution can enhance your financial journey by visiting acadiafcu.org.

Thu, 21 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.bangordailynews.com/2023/12/22/bdn-maine/vaillancourt-becomes-a-certified-credit-union-financial-counselor/

AFE test - Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE) Updated: 2024

Real AFE questions that appeared in test today
Exam Code: AFE Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE) test January 2024 by Killexams.com team

AFE Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE)

Test Detail:
The Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE) examination is a professional certification exam administered by the Society of Financial Examiners (SOFE). It is designed to assess the knowledge and skills of financial professionals working in the field of insurance examination and regulation. Below is a detailed description of the test, including the number of questions and time allocation, course outline, exam objectives, and exam syllabus.

Number of Questions and Time:
The AFE examination consists of two parts: Part I and Part II. The number of questions and time allocation for each part are as follows:

Part I:
- 150 multiple-choice questions
- Time: 3 hours

Part II:
- 150 multiple-choice questions
- Time: 3 hours

The total testing time for the AFE examination is 6 hours.

Course Outline:
The AFE examination covers various subject areas that are essential for financial examiners in the insurance industry. The exam content typically includes the following key areas:

Part I:
1. Insurance Accounting and Financial Reporting:
- Financial statement analysis
- Regulatory accounting principles
- Financial reporting requirements

2. Insurance Examination and Financial Analysis:
- Examination techniques and procedures
- Financial analysis methods
- Risk assessment and evaluation

3. Insurance Laws and Regulations:
- State and federal insurance laws
- Insurance regulatory environment
- Compliance and enforcement

Part II:
4. Insurance Company Operations and Products:
- Insurance company structures and operations
- Insurance products and underwriting
- Claims management and reinsurance

5. Actuarial Principles and Analysis:
- Actuarial concepts and methods
- Risk modeling and estimation
- Reserving and pricing techniques

6. Insurance Risk Management:
- Enterprise risk management
- Risk identification and mitigation strategies
- Capital adequacy and solvency assessment

Exam Objectives:
The AFE examination aims to assess the knowledge and skills necessary for financial examiners to effectively examine and regulate insurance companies. The key objectives of the exam include:

1. Demonstrating Knowledge of Insurance Accounting and Financial Reporting: Assessing candidates' understanding of financial statement analysis, regulatory accounting principles, and financial reporting requirements in the insurance industry.

2. Testing Competence in Insurance Examination and Financial Analysis: Evaluating candidates' ability to apply examination techniques, perform financial analysis, and assess risk in insurance companies.

3. Assessing Understanding of Insurance Laws and Regulations: Testing candidates' knowledge of state and federal insurance laws, the regulatory environment, and compliance and enforcement processes.

4. Evaluating Familiarity with Insurance Company Operations and Products: Assessing candidates' understanding of insurance company structures, operations, products, underwriting practices, and claims management.

5. Testing Knowledge of Actuarial Principles and Analysis: Evaluating candidates' knowledge of actuarial concepts and methods, risk modeling, reserving, and pricing techniques.

6. Assessing Competence in Insurance Risk Management: Evaluating candidates' understanding of enterprise risk management, risk identification and mitigation strategies, and capital adequacy and solvency assessment in the insurance industry.

Exam Syllabus:
The AFE exam syllabus covers a wide range of courses in insurance accounting and financial reporting, insurance examination and analysis, insurance laws and regulations, insurance company operations and products, actuarial principles and analysis, and insurance risk management. It is designed to reflect the knowledge and skills required for financial examiners in the insurance industry. The specific content and emphasis may vary slightly across different versions of the exam. Candidates should consult official study guides and resources provided by SOFE for accurate and up-to-date information on the exam syllabus.

Candidates are advised to allocate sufficient time for comprehensive preparation, including reviewing relevant financial concepts, understanding insurance laws and regulations, studying insurance company operations and products, familiarizing themselves with actuarial principles and risk management techniques, and practicing problem-solving skills related to insurance examination and financial analysis.
Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE)
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Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE)
Answer: A
Question: 270
The options for securities that insurance entities own and can deliver if the options are
exercised by the option buyers are called:
A. concealed transactions
B. covered-call options
C. financial servicing
D. safekeeping
Answer: B
Question: 271
Insurance entities usually write covered-call options because they consider the premium
received for writing the options to be either:
A. an economic hedge between a decline in market price and security
B. a decrease in yield on the underlying risk security
C. Both A & B
D. Neither A nor B
Answer: D
Question: 272
What encompasses investment income and gains and losses, as well as custody of
investment and recordkeeping?
A. Valuation data
B. Verification note
C. Transaction cycle
D. Investment evaluation
Answer: C
Question: 273
The evaluation and subsequent purchase or sale of investments is based on the judgment
of the entitys investment and finance committees.
A. True
B. False
Answer: A
Question: 274
The price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly
transaction between market participants at the measurement date is called:
A. face value
B. fair value
C. market value
D. transaction value
Answer: B
Question: 275
___________ is the price in a hypothetical transaction at the measurement date in the
market in which the reporting entity would transact for the asset or liability
A. Feasible financial price
B. Asset/Liability price
C. Principal price
D. Exchange price
Answer: D
Question: 276
The market in which the reporting entity would sell the asset or transfer the liability with
the greatest volume and level of activity for the asset or liability is known as:
A. Transfer market
B. Transport market
C. Principal market
D. Turn-around market
Answer: C
Question: 277
The highest and best use of the asset is ___________, if the asset would provide
maximum value to market participants principally on the standalone basis.
A. in-exchange
B. in-use
C. in-market
D. in-sale
Answer: A
Question: 278
The risk that the obligation will not be fulfilled and affects the value at which the liability
is transferred is known as:
A. performance risk
B. nonperformance risk
C. hypothetical risk
D. relocation risk
Answer: B
Question: 279
Valuation technique should be used to measure fair value and is consistent with:
A. market, income and risk approach
B. market, performance and cost approach
C. security, income and risk approach
D. market, income and cost approach
Answer: D
Question: 280
What uses valuation techniques to convert future amounts to a single present amount?
A. Risk approach
B. Market approach
C. Income approach
D. Cost approach
Answer: C
Question: 281
The amount that currently would be required to replace the service capacity of an asset is
A. Risk approach
B. Market approach
C. Income approach
D. Cost approach
Answer: D
Question: 282
A change in __________ or its application is appropriate if the change results in a
measurement that is equally or more representative of fair value in the circumstances.
A. Valuation technique
B. Value technique
C. Investment approach
D. Accounting corrections
Answer: A
Question: 283
To avoid double counting or omitting the effects of risks factors what should reflect
assumptions that are consistent with those inherent in the cash flows?
A. Economic flow
B. Nominal flows
C. Discount rates
D. Inflation effect
Answer: C
Question: 284
What technique uses a risk-adjusted discount rate and contractual, promised, or most
likely cash flows?
A. Asset/Liability weighted
B. Fair value
C. Present value
D. Discount rate adjustment
Answer: D
Question: 285
Fair quoted techniques used to measure fair value should maximize the use of observable
inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs.
A. True
B. False
Answer: B
Question: 286
What is made on an instrument-by-instrument basis, generally when an instrument is
initially recognized in the financial statements?
A. Election
B. Disclosure
C. Eligibility
D. Discount
Answer: A
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Financial Accredited test - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/AFE Search results Financial Accredited test - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/AFE https://killexams.com/exam_list/Financial How to Become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™

Becoming a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ can provide you broad-based knowledge that may allow you to guide your clients to achieve their personal financial goals. As a financial planner, you can expect to develop long-term client relationships and follow a strict code of ethics.

How to Become a CFP®

There are several components to obtaining the CFP® mark:

1. Education

Kristin Regis with the text Kristin RegisThe educational component includes completing a CFP Board-Registered Education Program and then 30 hours of continuing education in each reporting period. These ongoing requirements provide the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional the extra knowledge to enhance their reputation in the field.

“These requirements help to reassure potential clients that the financial planner has the knowledge to help them reach their financial goals and understands how to advise (them) ethically,” said Kristin Regis, an associate dean of finance at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).

Along with a finance degree or a CPA credential, other courses that can help CFP® professionals include psychology or other social science, public speaking or business presentation, and communication classes.

2. The CFP® Exam

Craig Allen with the text Craig AllenHow hard is it to become a CFP® professional? First, you need to have specific coursework under your belt to qualify for the CFP® exam. Some degree programs will include this, but you typically need to take additional courses if you have a degree in a related field.

Craig Allen, CFP® professional and finance adjunct faculty at SNHU, recommends looking for a program that offers a financial planning concentration that qualifies you to sit for the exam as you obtain your bachelor's degree.

Obtaining this defining industry credential can set you apart and accelerate your career, even when you have just a few years of experience. “(The CFP® mark) gives you a leg up, and shows you did the work and have the knowledge,” said Jennifer Facini, a CFP® professional and adjunct instructor at SNHU. "It builds trust.”

Facini also recommended getting a mentor, not only to help prepare for the exam but for career development. She suggested exploring the mentor program offered on the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. website, which can include test prep, free resources and networking opportunities.

3. Personal Characteristics and Interests

There are also certain personal characteristics and traits that a successful CFP® professional should possess that can predict your level of enjoyment in the industry.

Dan Serra with the text Dan Serra“Students ask me, 'What skills do I need?' I often highlight two keywords: curiosity and empathy — about people and how things work,” said Dan Serra, CFP® and adjunct at SNHU.

Serra said that sometimes a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional needs to explain complex concepts to their clients. "(The CFP® professional needs) to be willing to go through many pages of documents to understand what their clients might not. As for empathy, you need to be comfortable with their feelings and in difficult times,” he said.

A thirst for ongoing knowledge, a desire to help people reach their financial goals and an affinity for developing long-term relationships with your clients are all beneficial in this career track.

4. Experience

Experience in the field is required to attain the certification. According to the CFP Board’s experience requirement, you must achieve 6,000 hours of professional experience related to the financial planning process or 4,000 hours of apprenticeship.

The CFP Board notes that “qualifying experience includes activities involving the delivery of financial planning services to individual clients,” including direct interaction with clients or a supervisory role.

Teaching financial planning-related courses, internships or the Financial Planning Association’s Residency Program are also suggested as ways to gain the necessary experience requirements.

5. Ethics

Ethics is one of the most important characteristics and requirements of the CFP® professional. When you seek to attain this credential, you are vowing to adhere to high ethical and professional standards laid out by the CFP Board.

You promise to act as a fiduciary when providing financial advice to your client, and that you will always place their best interests and needs above your own personal gain.

How is it Different From a Financial Advisor?

Your financial status will always be a part of planning your future. Many of us need help with this and can find it from a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, or CFP® professional. While a financial advisor may help clients reach their personal financial goals by primarily focusing on investments, CFP® professionals take a more holistic view and approach to their clients' financial health.

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can advise their clients on risk management, retirement, estate planning, taxes, insurance, budgeting and more — and how all these factors affect their client’s ability to save and grow their money.

Jennifer Facini with the text Jennifer FaciniCredibility, according to Facini, is valuable in the financial industry. “The term advisor is so loose; anyone can say it," she said. "But to be a CFP® professional, you’ve taken courses, did a capstone and then sat for the exam. Knowledge and experience and ongoing education are required annually, along with strong ethics."

These good ethics are reflected in the fiduciary standards to which the CFP® professional is required to adhere. The fiduciary standard means that as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, you are obligated to put your clients’ needs ahead of your own. 

“Some advisors only get paid through (the) commission of selling certain products they’re incentivized to sell, that aren’t necessarily in the client’s best interest,” Facini said. “The fiduciary standard has eliminated that concern. (A CFP® professional is) working with your best interests in mind.”

The CFP® Professional and Client Relationship

One important consideration when becoming a CFP® professional is realizing a key element of the profession is developing and tending to long-term client relationships. Financial planning is a lifelong endeavor, and many things change and evolve in the best-laid plans due to life’s twists and turns. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional should be comfortable being an intimate part of their client’s discussions of all those facets.

This cradle-to-grave relationship can last through marriages and divorces, job loss, retirement and all kinds of financial setbacks and gains. The client needs to feel comfortable sharing these personal details with their financial planner, and there needs to be trust. “(As a client,) you’re kind of baring your soul, and you don’t want to feel judged. You need to feel safe to be honest,” Facini said. “You want to relate to the person. (As their CFP® professional,) be genuine. If they see the real you, they’ll feel comfortable.”

Sometimes, clients need someone to tamp down any short-term panic behavior to protect their long-term financial goals. “A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ is a coach prepared to provide advice on things beyond investments, up to and including managing (client) behavior,” Serra said. “The keyword is planning — for the future, not just ‘what’s going on in the market now.’ Risk management means helping clients protect themselves by focusing on the long-term implications, not just on the market today. That’s where psychology and coaching comes in. It’s planning for the long-term future, not the next couple of years.”

Dr Kimberly Blanchette with the text Dr Kimberly BlanchetteAs advancements in technology change how many fields work, financial planners will continue to be needed for quality control and the human touch. "A financial planner connects personally with clients through human skills such as emotional intelligence," said Dr. Kimberly Blanchette, the executive director of online business programs. "Financial planning as a profession is one that clients are looking to engage with a human and not a machine.”

A CFP® professional takes the emotional aspect out of their decisions, Facini said, preventing any rash decisions that might affect the client’s future. “A CFP® is sort of a therapist to express your fears to; they use their rational voice to talk you out of (bad decisions),” she said.

The Benefits of Becoming a CFP® Professional

There are many benefits to working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional to achieve your long-term goals, but there are also benefits to being one.

You’re the Go-To ‘Quarterback’

As a CFP® professional, the value of your in-depth knowledge of financial courses is in high demand. But what’s also valued by clients is the one-stop-shopping aspect. “The CFP® is the quarterback who can answer or knows who to go to for the answer,” Serra said.

Facini used the quarterback analogy as well, adding that in addition to finding any other needed specialists beyond the realm of the CFP® professional — estate attorneys, insurance agents and others who help with financial issues — the planner also follows-up to ensure everything has been done. Some clients are overwhelmed and don’t have time to research who they need to go to, she said, and then find them all.

A CFP® professional helps their client find these other professionals and then closes the communications loop by making sure they received the right help for their specific goals. A CFP® professional isn't an attorney, Serra said, but does know enough about estate planning to know when you need one. They can do follow-up work with beneficiaries, for example, tell you what they know, refer you to other professionals for information they don't know and coordinate all of that work into a cohesive whole.

You’re Not a Salesperson

Your clients know the fiduciary standard holds you accountable for putting their best interests ahead of your own.

“You don’t sell products, so it’s nice to not be a salesman,” Serra said.

Finance scares some people if they connote it with sales, Facini said, but you don't need those traits here. “You can be kind, easy-going, genuine. You’re coming from a place of helping people. You’re problem-solving; you put the puzzle together and present it. I love talking to people. You don’t have to be sales-driven or assertive.”

Career Advancement and Earning Potential

Serra said the earning potential as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional could depend on whether you work for an organization or for yourself.

“You can be a staff (financial planner) and work your way up into management as a principal or owner with profit sharing. Or you could also keep all the money you earn by being an independent planner, and increase as you gain experience. There is a high demand, and the more you know, the more valuable you are,” Serra said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), personal financial advisors had a median annual salary of $95,390 in May 2022.* The financial planning job outlook is positive, too. The BLS projects it to grow by 13% from 2022 to 2032.*

As a CFP® professional, you can specialize in financial courses or on specific professions or demographics. Serra said Social Security and Medicare advice is an especially attractive specialty to Baby Boomers, and professions like doctors or other businesses can have particular planning needs that you can develop knowledge about, creating a strong niche client base.

Career Satisfaction

One of the things the profession gets high grades for is personal satisfaction, Serra said.

According to a 2021 report by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, 93% of CFP® professionals surveyed were satisfied with their career choice. As per the findings of the Survey of CFP® Professionals, 93% of respondents would also recommend the CFP® certification to other financial professionals.

“It’s a career that gets a very high ‘I love my job’ rating because of the work/life balance. Some Certified Financial Planners I know only work three days a week or flex the hours for dealing with personal life needs. You can work anywhere with a phone and a computer. It’s a level of flexibility that many careers don’t offer,” he said.


The work/life balance ratio can be attractive to many people juggling family responsibilities and other interests. And there’s also the satisfaction of helping others achieve their financial goals and future security while developing lifelong relationships.

Facini sums it up with a simple concept: A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional is not selling their client something; you’re part of their team. “You’re on the same side of the table with the client,” she said.

Sun, 03 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/business/how-to-become-a-certified-financial-planner
Certified Financial Planning

The certificate is composed of 18 credits of masters-level graduate coursework with the primary goal of providing students with the education, training and skills necessary to be able to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) examination. 

The curriculum is aligned with the CFP® Board’s Principal Knowledge courses and covers principles and practices of essential areas of financial planning, including:

  • Wealth Management
  • Investment Management
  • Tax Planning
  • Estate Planning
  • Insurance and Retirement Planning

CFP students enjoy the opportunity to work with clients at the Low-Income Tax Clinic for graduate credit and CFP exam experience.

Have Questions?
For more information about the CFP Graduate Certificate, including tuition and fee information, please email Justine Tydings, our Sr. Recruiting Coordinator. 

The UW College of Business and the certified Financial Planning certificate program are nationally accredited by AACSB.

AACSB logo

Students must take the following required courses to receive their certificate*:

  • FIN 5070: Tax Planning for Financial Planners (3)
  • FIN 5310: Investment Management (3)
  • FIN 5720: Retirement/Insurance Planning (3)
  • FIN 5750: Fundamentals of Financial Planning (3)
  • FIN 5780: Estate Planning (3)
  • FIN 5800: CFP Capstone (3)

View the full online certified financial planning certificate degree program curriculum.

*Accelerated path candidates — candidates who bypass the other education requirements — are only required to take FIN 5800: CFP Capstone.

As a CFP® professional, you can assist with developing and executing financial strategies for your clients. You will help others create financial goals based on existing financial conditions and risk tolerance. CFP®s can offer guidance on managing debt, picking investments, preparing for retirement and setting aside money for both short- and long-term goals.

Certified Financial Planner Careers

Here are just a few places our University of Wyoming alumni are making a difference with a certified Financial Planning certificate:

  • University of Wyoming Foundation
  • Wyoming Retirement System
  • Wells Fargo Advisors
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Raymond James
  • Creative Planning
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Golden Tree Asset Management
  • Frontier Asset Management
  • Hiltop Bank
  • Edward Jones
Two people shaking hands in office
mountain logo

Financial Planning Certificate Program Highlights

In 2021, the University of Wyoming's certified financial planning certificate program had a 100% pass rate on the CFP exam.

100% Online

Due to the entirely online nature of our curriculum, you can continue working according to your usual schedule. We want this program to benefit a wide range of people, whether you're pursuing another graduate degree or acquiring your Financial Planning certificate as a non-degree-seeking student. Developing your career doesn't have to make your daily life more difficult or demanding.

Exceptional Faculty

The CFP Certificate program was the best decision I made in my graduate education. I had no idea how valuable this program would be not only for my personal life, but also my career development. The faculty were highly qualified and always available to help explain concepts and mentor me throughout the program.


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