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Work with a CFP®

CFP ® Certification: The Standard of Excellence

Only a select group of planners have met the rigorous education, examination, experience and ethics requirements set forth by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, necessary to call themselves a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. CFP® certification is a symbol of an advisor’s knowledge and credibility among his or her peers, and indicates the advisor’s status as a qualified, trustworthy financial planner.


CFP® professionals must possess a Bachelors Degree and master nearly 100 integrated financial planning topics, including:

  • Investment planning
  • Tax planning
  • Retirement planning 
  • Estate planning
  • Insurance planning
  • Financial management


In addition to completing a comprehensive financial planning curriculum approved by the CFP Board, CFP® professionals are required to complete continuing education and ethics coursework to ensure their competence in financial planning.


CFP® candidates must pass a comprehensive 6-hour CFP® Certification Examination that tests their ability to apply financial planning knowledge in an integrated format.  Based on thorough research of what financial planners do, the exam covers:

  • Establishing and defining the Client-Planner relationship
  • Gathering information necessary to fulfill the engagement
  • Analyzing and evaluating the client’s current financial situation
  • Developing recommendations
  • Communicating recommendations
  • Implementing recommendations
  • Monitoring the recommendations
  • Practicing within professional and regulatory standards


CFP® professionals must have a minimum of three years experience in the personal financial planning process before earning the right to use the CFP® certification marks.  As a result, CFP® practitioners possess financial counseling skills in addition to financial planning knowledge.


As a final step to certification, CFP® practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct, known as CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, that sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients, and employers.  CFP Board also performs a background check during this process, and each individual must disclose any investigations or legal proceedings related to their professional or business conduct.