What Is Financial Planning?
Financial planning is the process of meeting your life goals through the proper management of your finances. Life goals can include buying a home, saving for your child’s education or planning for retirement.
The process involves gathering relevant financial information, setting life goals, examining your current financial status and coming up with a strategy or plan for how you can meet your goals given your current situation and future plans.
The Benefits of Financial Planning
Financial planning provides direction and meaning to your financial decisions. It allows you to understand how each financial decision you make affects other areas of your finances. For example, buying a particular investment product might help you pay off your mortgage faster or it might delay your retirement significantly. By viewing each financial decision as part of a whole, you can consider its short and long-term effects on your life goals. You can also adapt more easily to life changes and feel more secure that your goals are on track.
At the core of our service is an individualized Financial Plan.
Our advisors endeavor to learn as much as possible about a client’s financial life. We listen to the individual’s concerns, hopes, ideas, and goals. The Plan becomes as unique as the people it is prepared for.
Your Financial Plan is a culmination of your time spent with us, along with the significant information gathering and research conducted on your behalf. The Plan’s evaluations, recommendations, and ‘action items’ are unique to your life. They suit you. Our recommendations take into account your entire financial picture.
What’s the Plan?
Your unique financial plan is created to evaluate your current financial position and address your unique goals. Based upon our interview with you and our review of your current financial status, this plan is detailed and extensive providing a “status report” on your finances at this point in your life, and sets forth the steps necessary to fulfill your desired lifestyle.
Why Choose a CFP® Professional?
Why Choose a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Practitioner?
Surprisingly, there is little regulation of individuals calling themselves financial planners or financial advisers. State and federal rules generally only apply to narrow parts of the financial planning process and have few checks to measure a financial advisors competence, experience, or ethics. Only those select advisors who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards can display the CFP® certification marks after their name. CFP® professionals are dedicated to using a financial planning process that serves the needs of individuals, families and businesses.
When selecting a financial planner to help you plan your future, begin with someone who has taken the time, care, and effort to become a CFP® professional.
What Is a CFP® Professional?
A CFP® professional is an individual who has a demonstrated level of financial planning technical knowledge, experience in the field and holds to a client-centered code of ethics. The standards that must be met to earn certification are:
CFP practitioners develop theoretical and practical financial planning knowledge by completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering a financial planning curriculum registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.
CFP practitioners must pass a comprehensive two-day, 10-hour CFP Certification Examination that tests their ability to apply their financial planning knowledge in an integrated format. Based on regularly updated research of what planners do, the CFP Board’s exam covers the general principles of financial planning, insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning and estate planning.
CFP practitioners must have a minimum of three years’ experience working in the financial planning process prior to earning the CFP® mark. As a result, CFP® practitioners have demonstrated a working knowledge of counseling skills in addition to their financial planning knowledge.
As a final step to certification, CFP® practitioners must pass an ethics review and agree to abide by the CFP® Board’s Financial Planning Practice Standards and a strict code of professional conduct, known as the CFP® Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. The Code of Ethics states that CFP® practitioners are to act with integrity, offering professional services that are objective and based on client needs.
It is also necessary for every CFP® certificant, once certified, to complete a re-certification every two years. Those seeking to maintain their certification must attain a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education in order to stay current with developments in the financial planning profession and to better serve their clients. Two of these hours must be spent studying the CFP® Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility or Financial Planning Practice Standards.