Choosing a financial planner may be one of the most important decisions you make for yourself and your loved ones especially when planning for retirement. A Financial planner can provide you and your family with guidance or work with you to address specific concerns. A financial planner can play a central role in helping you meet your retirement goals and achieve financial well-being. Consequently, you should take the time to select a financial planner who is competent and trustworthy, one on whom you can depend for professional advice and services. Your retirement depends on the choices you make during your planning. The CFP® (certified financial planner) certification are marks owned in the U.S. by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board), which can help you identify a financial planner committed to competent and ethical behavior when providing financial planning. A financial planner that is certified by Certified Financial Planner Board has taken the extra step to demonstrate their professionalism by voluntarily submitting to the rigorous certified financial planner certification process that includes demanding education, examination, experience and ethical requirements. These standards are called “the fours,” and they are four important reasons why the financial planner you select should display the CFP® certification marks.
Most people think that every financial planner is “certified,” but this isn’t always true. Anyone can call himself or herself a “financial planner.” However, only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of CFP Board can display the CFP® certification marks. When selecting a financial planner, you need to feel confident that the person you choose to help you plan for your future is competent and ethical. The certified financial planner certification provides that sense of security by allowing only those who meet the following requirements the right to use the CFP® certification marks.
A certified financial planner must achieve the following before obtaining this certification:
- Complete a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering a financial planning curriculum approved by certified financial planner Board.
- A certified financial planner 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 financial planners do, the exam covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance.
- A certified financial planner must have three years minimum experience in the financial planning field prior to earning the right to use the certified financial planner certification marks. As a result, a certified financial planner will possess financial counseling skills in addition to financial planning knowledge.
- As a final step to certification, the certified financial planner must agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct, known as certified financial planner Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, that sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients and employers.
- The certified financial planner 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.
Once certified, CFP® practitioners are required to maintain technical competence and fulfill ethical obligations. Every two years, they must complete a minimum 30 hours of continuing education to stay current with developments in the financial planning profession and better serve clients. Two of these hours are spent studying or discussing CFP Board’s Code of Ethics or Practice Standards. In addition to the biennial continuing education requirement, each certified financial planner voluntarily disclose any public, civil, criminal or disciplinary actions that may have been taken against them during the previous two years as part of the renewal process.
Oak Harvest Financial Group is proud to have Thomas J. O’Connor, Certified Financial Planner as part of our team of retirement industry experts.
Tom CFP® has over 33 years of experience in the financial services industry with an emphasis on life insurance and it’s applications to financial planning, business solutions, and estate planning. He is the lead financial analyst at Oak Harvest Financial Group overseeing each and every customized Retirement Defense System that our case design team creates for our clients.
For the past three plus years Tom CFP® gained additional knowledge and expertise in the international markets by supporting the planning and insurance placement of life insurance and annuities to foreign nationals in the Pacific Rim. He discovered that people have many of the same needs and concerns no matter what part of the world they call home especially in retirement
Whether the client is domestic or international sometimes the best solution is a simple straight forward approach. Other times it requires sophisticated understanding of the tax codes, life insurance rules and alternatives, and most importantly, an understanding of and empathy for the client’s needs and concerns. Oak Harvest Financial Group’s clients plan their retirement with confidence that a certified financial planner that specializes in retirement strategies has customized the best possible plan for their families and future.