Anyone can call himself (or herself) a financial planner. The term isn’t a license, and many people in the financial services industry call themselves financial planners, financial advisers, financial consultants, and a myriad of other names.
How do you know who to trust? The honest answer is that you can’t be sure, but you can take a few steps to make yourself safer. Today, I want to talk about the importance of designations. The gold standard in financial planning is the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM practitioner, often referred to by its initials, CFP. This designation requires a six-hour closed book exam covering topics in cash flow, insurance, retirement and benefits, investments, taxes, and estate, in addition to professional responsibility and ethics. To use and maintain the marks, a certificant must complete twenty-eight hours of CE every two years (including ethics), have three years of experience, a college degree, and maintain acceptable levels of conduct. In short, it’s a real, rigorous, difficult certification.
And yet, the public is still very confused. To emphasize the importance of training, CFP Board published an entertaining video about how easy it is to fool consumers. I’ve attached the video below.
On the website for consumers, the CFP Board provides background to this video along with some additional quizzes. Can you tell the financial planner from the commercial fisherman? Click the following link and find out!