Working with the right financial planner is the single most important step you can take to ensure retirement success. Yet with so many experts, advisors, and salespeople out there, it’s difficult to know how to find the right person for the job. Working with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) is one way to guarantee you are entrusting your hard-earned retirement with a seasoned professional who will work towards your best interest. Here is some helpful information about working with a Certified Financial Planner in Monmouth County, NJ.
- CFP®s represent the highest standard of financial professional, having gone through extensive coursework, rigorous tests, and continuing education.
- CFP®s act as fiduciaries, putting their clients’ interest first in all financial decisions.
- A Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) in Monmouth County, NJ can help you plan the retirement you’ve been dreaming of.
What is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)?
A Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) represents the gold standard of professionalism within the personal finance sector. These financial specialists have undergone a rigorous financial training program and qualification procedures outlined by the CFP® Board of Standards. They are required to master a wide-ranging curriculum that encompasses financial planning, insurance, investments, retirement strategy, tax planning, and estate planning. The completion of this comprehensive coursework generally takes about two years.
The distinction between a financial advisor and a Certified Financial Planner is more than a simple difference in title. The role of a financial advisor requires substantial knowledge and training to be prepared for advising on various financial scenarios. However, achieving the status of a CFP® necessitates a high degree of experience, further education, and a proven dedication to ethical practices. Eligible candidates must have at least 4,000 hours of work experience within the financial services industry. This is why a CFP® is, by definition, a highly experienced professional you can trust.
Certified Financial Planner Requirements
There are five main requirements a financial advisor needs to meet in order to gain the CFP® designation.
- Education. Financial advisors aiming to qualify as CFP®s must hold at least a bachelor’s degree from a university recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Subsequently, they are required to complete a series of courses on financial planning, as mandated by the CFP Board. However, those who have pursued advanced degrees (such as MBAs) or attained separate certifications (like Chartered Financial Analyst or Certified Public Accountant) may be exempt from these additional courses.
- Financial Planning Experience. After fulfilling these educational prerequisites, candidates for the CFP® designation must accrue either three years or 6,000 hours of work experience in the financial services sector. Alternatively, they may complete two years or 4,000 hours in an apprenticeship role. This ensures that prospective CFP®s have a practical, hands-on understanding of financial advising in addition to textbook knowledge.
- Passing the Exam. The most difficult requirement to become a CFP®, the exam is an intense, single-day, ten-hour test covering over 100 financial topics and passable by only the most qualified candidates. Because the CFP® designation is so highly prized, it’s common for candidates to dedicate years of study just to prepare for the exam.
- Ethical Standards. Before they can use the title, candidates must take an ethics oath and disclose extensive personal information to the CFP Board. This includes customer complaints, bankruptcy filings, involvement in criminal activities, terminations, or investigations by government agencies. Candidates must explain the outcomes of any such events. Following these disclosures, the CFP Board conducts detailed background checks on each candidate. This rigorous process serves to assess individual candidates and maintain the credibility and integrity of the CFP® title.
- Staying Current. The designation of a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) isn’t a lifetime honor. CFP® professionals are obligated to undertake exams annually, ensuring their proficiency and knowledge remain comprehensive and current. As regulatory norms often evolve, financial advisors need to stay updated to maintain their effectiveness. A CFP® title essentially guarantees up-to-date expertise in wealth management.
The Fiduciary Standard for CFPs®
CFPs® are legally obligated to act as fiduciaries for their clients. This means that they are required by law to act in the best interest of their clients, rather than their own. Working with a retirement planner who adheres to the Fiduciary Standard means there will be no conflicts of interest, and the advice they give you has no ulterior movies. Certified Financial Planners must act as fiduciaries in three specific ways:
- Duty of loyalty – Remaining free of any conflicts of interest and transparent of any potential conflicts.
- Duty of care – A requirement to act with “care, skill, prudence, and diligence” in accordance with the client’s goals and circumstances.
- Duty to follow client instructions – Complying with all reasonable and lawful instructions given by the client.
If a financial planner uses a fee-only compensation model, meaning their payment comes solely from fees and not commissions on products, that is another way to ensure that their success is tied to your own.
Contact a Monmouth County Certified Financial Planner Today
If you are living in Monmouth County, NJ, and are near or in retirement, it is important to hire a Certified Financial Planner you can trust. A local professional will have an intimate knowledge of the opportunities and challenges of retiring in Monmouth County, including:
- Typically high cost of living and property taxes.
- New Jersey’s retirement-friendly state tax policies.
- The seasonal climate and storm precautions.
- Proximity to New York City and the shore.
As fee-only CFP® and fiduciary, we build successful, productive long-term relationships with our clients through unbiased, objective financial advice. Contact Zynergy Retirement Planning today to learn more.
From our Red Bank, NJ headquarters, we’ve worked with retirement planning clients throughout Monmouth County NJ, including but not limited to:
- Asbury Park
- Colts Neck
- Fair Haven
- Little Silver
- Long Branch
- Monmouth Beach
- Ocean Township
- Red Bank
- Sea Bright
- Sea Girt
- Spring Lake
- Tinton Falls