What is a Certified Financial Planner?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 January 2019
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The Certified Financial Planner is a finance professional that has undergone rigorous education and testing, and is also dedicated to a process of continuing education. Before obtaining this high status, an individual must submit to examination by the International Board of Standards and Practices For Certified Financial Planners. After successfully completing recognized courses and passing the exams, the actual certification is granted. In general, the CFP will possess a high degree of expertise in a wide range of financial matters, with four main disciplines emphasized as part of the certification process.

One of the key areas of expertise that a Certified Financial Planner will possess is that of estate planning. Certified Financial Planners will be well versed in all sorts of financial arrangements related to this process. Among the tasks that a CFP can help with are the creation of trusts, the preparation of a last will and testament, and the creation of living wills and powers of attorney related to the authorization for medical care in emergencies. The CFP may also help design programs that allow for the orderly disposition of property, and the provision of inheritances or gifts to various non-profit organizations.


Along with estate planning, the CFP may also provide a great deal of assistance in tax planning and preparation. For busy people who need assistance in making sure revenue is reported accurately, keeping up with changes in tax laws, and understanding what is involved with taking applicable deductions, the services of a Certified Financial Planner is essential. A CFP can bring a great deal of order to even the most convoluted of finances, and help steer the individual to a brighter economic status.

Investing is a third area of expertise for persons who carry this level of certification in financial planning. The CFP will possess a solid working knowledge of the various investment markets and be able to identify the most promising transactions for the client. These recommendations are usually based on a thorough understanding of historical data and performance, and tend to focus more on investments that carry a low to mid level element of risk.

Every Certified Financial Planner is expected to be proficient with insurance and insurance planning. Going hand in hand with estate planning, the CFP will be able to assess both the types of insurance and the amount of coverage that is in the best interests of the client. The insurance portfolio will work in tandem with the investments to help build up an estate, making it possible for the Certified Financial Planner to guide a client to a desirable level of financial health. By taking advantage of all applicable tax breaks, maintaining the right amount of insurance coverage, engaging in safe investments, and building a solid estate that can be distributed according to the wishes of the owner, the CFP can help people achieve their financial goals and build a bright future.



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