Why Choose a CFP®?

Working with a CFP® professional is a great choice. Not only do these advisors meet rigorous education and experience requirements, but they are also held to the highest ethical and professional standards in the industry.


CFP® professionals must master nearly 100 integrated financial planning topics, ranging from:

  • Investments
  • Income Tax Planning
  • Retirement Planning
  • Employee Benefits
  • Estate Planning
  • Risk Management
  • Insurance

In addition to completing a comprehensive financial planning curriculum approved by CFP Board, or equivalent academic coursework, CFP® professionals are required to complete continuing education coursework, including a CFP Board-approved code of ethics course, to ensure their competence in financial planning.


CFP® practitioners must pass a comprehensive two-day, 10-hour CFP® Certification Examination that tests their ability to apply financial planning knowledge in an integrated format. Based on regular research of what 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 status
  • Developing recommendations
  • Communicating recommendations
  • Implementing recommendations
  • Monitoring recommendations
  • Practicing within professional and regulatory standards


CFP® professionals must have a minimum of three years experience in the personal financial planning process prior to 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 financial step to certification, CFP® practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct, known as CFP Board's Code of Ethics Responsibility, that sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients and employers. CFP Board also performs a background check during this process, ad each individual must disclose any investigations or legal proceedings related to their processional or business conduct.

What to Expect When Working With a CFP® Professional

CFP® Practitioners can work in several settings including small financial planning practices, large financial services firms, credit unions, banks and other financial institutions. Planners are compensated for the services they provide in different ways, as well. Some are paid through commissions and other through fees or a combination of both. While all CFP® practitioners are trained to provide you with comprehensive financial planning services, some specialize in one or more areas, or work with specific types of clients. Be sure to ask the planner how he or she is paid.

What Else Should I Remember When Selecting a Planner?

As more people call themselves "financial planners," finding the right professional to address your financial planning needs isn't always easy. Become familiar with the planner's business style and understand the level of service he or she provides. Look for a measure of the planner's commitment to ethical behavior and adherence to high professional standards. Look for a financial planner who will put you and your needs at the center of every financial planning engagement.

Check to see if Your Planner is a CFP® Certificant

To verify that your planner is authorized by CFP Board to use the CFP® certification marks and to learn more about financial planning, visit letsmakeaplan.org or call toll-free to 800-487-1497.

The information provided is a public service by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board). A nonprofit, professional regulatory organzation, CFP Board fosters professional standards in personal financial planning so that the public values has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning.

CFP® certification marks are owned by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board). Individuals certified by CFP Board have taken the extra step to demonstrate their professionalism by voluntarily submitting to the CFP® process that includes education, examination, experience ad ethical requirements.

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