Should I Hire a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?
Imagine, while sitting at your desk, you experience temporary chest pains unlike anything you have felt before. Immediately heading to WebMD and various other sites on the internet, you arm yourself with a plethora of information about heart disease and develop a plan to start eating healthier and exercising. You’ve obviously taken all the necessary steps to get this under control, right? That night over dinner you mention the incident to your spouse and before you know it you are sitting in the waiting room of a top cardiologist. Let’s face it, when it comes to your health, there is no substitute for the advice of an expert.
Financial planning, particularly for retirement, is not much different. There are so many complexities, details, and nuances, yet one small miscalculation can be devastating to your future. Nonetheless, many retirees make the mistake of trying to do it on their own.
The complexity of investments, Social Security, Medicare, Long-Term Care Insurance, reverse mortgages, proper-asset allocation, tax planning and estate planning are challenging even to the professional who works with and studies these subjects daily. Retirees need a trusted guide if they are to optimize their “financial health.”
But with so many advisors touting themselves as retirement specialists and financial planners and a veritable alphabet soup of initials after their names, how do you know you are working with the right professional? Just as you would choose a top cardiologist for a heart condition, in the world of your finances, you want to find a fee-only CFP®, the gold standard in the personal financial industry.
What are the Qualifications of a Certified Financial Planner?
A CFP®, Certified Financial Planner, is a financial professional that has met the rigorous qualifications of the CFP® Board of Standards. These individuals are required to take extensive coursework in the financial planning process, insurance, investments, retirement planning, tax planning and estate planning; a course load that takes nearly two years to complete. The CFP® Candidate must fulfill a 3 year experience requirement, pass a 10 hour exam and uphold an ethics oath before they are eligible to use the CFP® title. To maintain the title, CFPs® must engage in 30 hours of continuing education every two years to keep current with the constant changes in this field.
In matters of life or death, most people would not think twice about calling an expert, and typically, the best in their field. The same is true for maintaining your financial health. There are no do-over’s or second chances when it comes to your retirement. Deciding to work with a Certified Financial Planner will likely be the best decision you make to ensure a successful and healthy future.