Financial Planning

Financial planning is arranging, managing and planning the finances of a family or business. Becoming a certified financial planner requires the receipt of the CFP® certification mark, awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. This certification requires additional education, experience, and successfully passing an examination.

A certified financial planner is called upon to create a detailed financial plan by assessing the client’s current financial situation and could involve cash flow, risk management, tax, estate, and retirement planning. They are asked to formulate, execute, and oversee financial planning recommendations. In a nutshell, a certified financial planner creates a framework by which a financial goal can be accomplished.

Education Requirements

The certified financial planner certification requires a bachelor degree or higher from an accredited university in the United States. Candidates must also have a knowledge in many related topics such as investment planning, employee benefits planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning.

Courses in these subjects and others must be successfully completed before the student is permitted to take the 10 hour certified financial planner Board Certification Examination. The educational requirements are waived for applicants wishing to take the exam if they possess any one of a number of professional designations such as a Ph.D. in business or economics, attorney, certified public accountant, or chartered financial analyst. Individuals with an international degree must receive an equivalency designation prior to taking the test.

Even after successfully completing the exam, the student must obtain extensive supervised experience in one or more areas of the field. In addition, 3 years of experience are required and an extensive background investigation must be passed.

Salary and Benefits

The median salary for a certified financial planner, based on an independent survey, is between $50,000 and $90,000 annually. Salaries may reach $110,000 and above in larger cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Your eventual salary will most likely be based on your ability to acquire and retain new clients.

Many analysts receive bonuses based on their recommendations. Those looking into this career should be aware that the competition is great. However, over the next decade, the demand for top certified financial planners will increase by upwards of 35 percent.