If you’ve ever seen flashy Hollywood films like The Wolf of Wall Street, you may think financial professionals spend their days gambling stocks while greedily trying to make themselves rich. As entertaining as these movies and shows may be, the reality of financial professionals, like CFP® professionals, is much different. Here’s a closer look at what exactly CFP® professionals do.
CFP® Professional: What Does It Mean?
CFP® Professional stands for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNING® professional.
CFP® professionals are licensed practitioners and financial experts who are well-qualified to help clients—individuals or business entities—manage nearly all aspects of their finances.
Becoming a CFP® professional is no easy task. To earn your CFP® professional designation, you must complete a Bachelor’s degree and several financial courses covering topics like estate planning, investment portfolios, and more.
In addition to the education element, there are lots of experience requirements that CFP® professionals must meet before they earn their certification. For example, they must complete a minimum of 4,000 hours of professional experience and pass a rigorous exam (which has a mere 55% pass rate).
Finally, CFP® professionals are held to rigorous ethical standards by the governing body of the CFP® Professional Board. This board ensures that their financial planners perform their jobs according to measures designed to protect clients from potential abuse. CFP® practitioners perform their duties under the oversight of this governing body, which diligently holds them accountable.
What Do CFP® Professionals Do?
So with all that education and experience, what exactly do CFP® professionals do?
CFP® professionals work in the public and private sectors for both corporate entities and individuals. The following are some of their tasks.
Financial planning is the basis of what a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNING® professional does.
In business, “financial planning” describes the process of strategizing how businesses will finance their goals and objectives. CFP® professionals consult with businesses to understand their vision and objectives and how they can use their funds and budget to prioritize their goals.
Similarly, with individuals, CFP® professionals create step-by-step strategies to help their clients meet their goals. The financial plan has several goals:
- To help you strategize how to spend your income
- To allow you to be in control of your expenses
- To help you plan your investment contributions
Each of these goals is unified under the ultimate objective of allowing you to manage your money in a way that brings you personal success—whatever that looks like for you.
Budgeting is another fundamental aspect of how CFP® practitioners help their clients.
With individual clients, a CFP® professional may begin by evaluating their client’s circumstances to see where opportunities lie to better structure their spending and saving. CFP® professionals aren’t going to give the same budget plan to every person. Instead, they customize each approach to each client’s unique situation.
In addition to helping clients manage their budgets, CFP® practitioners also manage investment portfolios. This field area is where CFP® practitioners shine compared to financial advisors without this professional designation. CFP® professionals are fiduciaries, meaning they are legally required to manage their client’s investments in a way that prioritizes their clients’ best interests. Sometimes, other financial advisors may make strategic investments to get paid a certain way rather than planning according to what’s best for the client.
CFP® professionals also perform the function of retirement planning. Retirement planning is the process of determining the income goals required for the client to retire. Retirement planning involves:
- Evaluating expenses
- Implementing and monitoring a personalized savings program
- Managing risk
- Managing client assets
Once the retirement goals are formalized, the CFP® professional helps the client create a plan to achieve those goals by performing the tasks listed above.
CFP® professionals are also responsible for helping their clients plan their estates. This means determining what happens to the client’s assets once they die.
Where will their savings go? What will happen to their valuables? Will their money be divided up among relatives or left to a charity? All of these questions are things CFP® practitioners can help answer and officially formalize.
The Many Roles of a CFP® Professional
These are just a few of the many roles of a CFP® practitioner. They also assist with insurance, taxes, and other aspects of their client’s finances.
To learn more about CFP® professionals and how working with one can benefit you both personally and professionally, contact Good Life Financial Advisors in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Our team is proudly certified by the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNING® Professional Board. As licensed financial professionals with years of experience and demonstrated success in helping clients, we’d love to work with you to help build a path to work toward your goals. To learn more, contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.
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The opinions voiced are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.