Finding the right financial advisor is a personal experience, however I suggest finding an advisor who possesses the best credentials and is battled tested. One credential that shows your financial advisor is committed, competent, and gritty is a Certified Financial Planner®.
With the savings gap in America widening, it is more important than ever to have a qualified, competent, and engaged financial advisor. One of the main objectives of the CFP® Board is to arm professionals with the knowledge and skills to help with the ever-present needs of today’s American public. A CFP® professional is equipped to provide individuals and families with comprehensive financial planning, help solve complex financial problems, and create strategies to achieve financial goals. With the rigorous requirements to become a CFP®, it is widely considered the most prestigious credential in the financial services industry.
To qualify to sit for the CFP® Board Exam, a CFP® candidate must complete an arduous educational workload and meet the highest ethical standards in the business. The average student will invest well over 1,000 hours to complete all six courses. The topics cover the financial planning process, insurance, education planning, investments, taxes, retirement planning, and estate planning. The breadth and depth of each course is what makes the educational process challenging. To top it off, at the end of each course the student is required to take a comprehensive test, which requires a passing grade to move on. This challenging cycle requires perseverance and grit to get through.
The path to attain the CFP® marks is riddled with failed attempts. In fact, during my quest to the CFP® I was told about many unsuccessful ventures. One person went through the entire process of taking the CFP® course curriculum only to fail the CFP® Board exam, not once, but twice. Another professional told me they got through three classes but gave up. While some told me it was not worth it, I found an overwhelming amount of industry veterans, both CFP®s and non-CFP®s, affirmed that earning the CFP® mark would be one of the most challenging and rewarding professional experiences.
Once a CFP® candidate completes the required courses they need to focus their energy on the CFP® Board Exam. If you thought the educational process was challenging, getting prepared for the board exam is a test of physical, emotional, and mental limits. Many who aspire to get the CFP have families to tend to, businesses to run, and other challenges to overcome. For many, the shear stress can break their spirit and cause them to fail the exam. It takes a special person to maintain focus on the ultimate prize.
The test itself is two 3-hour sessions comprised of 85 questions per session. You are required to take a 40-minute break between each session. The CFP® Board exam has a dismal passing rate between 55-65%, on average. That means a large percentage of those testing during each testing window would walk away unsuccessful. CFP® candidates must come to the test physically and mentally prepared to handle the endurance.
From my own experience, successfully passing the CFP® Board exam was one of the proudest moments of my professional career. Attaining the coveted CFP® marks is tremendously important to me. Not only do the marks signify my commitment to the industry, they also represent an enduring commitment to my clients.