What Exactly Is A CFP® Professional?

The Certified Financial Planner® (CFP) designation is a professional certification mark for financial planners conferred by the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC), the international owner of the CFP mark outside of the United States.

To receive authorization to use the designation, candidates must meet rigorous education, examination, experience and ethics requirements, as well as meet ongoing educational requirements each year.  In fact, the average process takes more than three years to complete and includes 27 hours of closed-book exams.  Candidates are taught and examined extensively in the areas of Retirement Planning, Investing, Insurance and Tax Planning.

On the other hand, anyone can call themselves a Money Coach.  The title presumes that the professional will bring objective oversight to their personal finance practice – someone who will help an individual or couple with their money challenges, helping them invest, understand retirement, eliminate debt, save, understand where their money is going and ‘coach’ them to a better position.

As a CFP® professional and Money Coach, I am proud to combine the strictest requirements of the financial profession conferred on those with the CFP® designation, with the ‘no product selling and objective approach’ of a Money Coach.  For those seeking qualified, experienced and unbiased money management advice, I recommend someone with both titles.

Of course every situation is different, and you should understand your options.  Most qualified financial professionals are selling one thing or another – they may provide financial advice or even provide a comprehensive financial plan, but at the end of the day their pay is typically based on products sold to their clients (commissions, trailers, percentage of assets, etc.).  This is just the way the industry is organized, and it can unfortunately, create some win-lose conversations with clients who perhaps never wanted or needed a product in the first place.

As a CFP® professional and Money Coach, I offer a free no-obligation introductory consultation – a meeting that is just an opportunity to determine if there is a fit between what I do and what clients are looking for in a financial professional.  During that 45-minute meeting, we review their priorities and financial status, I spend some time describing my qualifications and experience, and I share my one flat fee as well.  The amount is often lower than what people expect, and I offer to spread payment over 3 months without any interest.  My fee is equivalent to what many consider a course on financial planning, but in this case it is a course tailored to the individual needs expressed by the client(s).

In addition to the CFP® qualification, I have a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University and hold a diploma in financial planning from the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning.  My 28 years in the financial services industry include 8 years as a Vice President at a Fortune 500 bank where I was responsible for launching products ranging from savings accounts and mutual funds to credit cards and life insurance.  I have a wealth of knowledge that I am eager to share with my clients to both protect and educate them.

If you are interested in hearing more – no matter your financial position – I encourage you to contact me and set up a free consultation.  I have helped clients pay off boatloads of debt and educated wealthy clients so they better understand their investments and retire with confidence.  I enjoy empowering my clients with new information so they are better equipped to manage their money.  But please don’t come to me for a financial product – I don’t sell any.

About Financial Planning Standards Council

Financial Planning Standards Council is a not-for-profit organization which develops, promotes and enforces professional standards in financial planning through Certified Financial Planner® certification. FPSC’s purpose is to instil confidence in the financial planning profession.  As a standards-setting and certification body, FPSC ensures CFP® professionals and Registered Candidates meet appropriate standards of competence and professionalism through rigorous requirements of education, examination, experience and ethics.  Learn more at www.fpsc.ca.

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