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If you are in need of a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) in the Minneapolis, MN region, contact Assured Retirement Group by completing our online contact form or by calling 952-657-7470.

A financial planner works with individuals to help them understand their options and make financial decisions suited to their personal financial situation and goals. Those with the CFP® designation have demonstrated competency in all areas of financial planning. Candidates complete studies on many topics, including stocks, bonds, insurance, tax preparation & advisory services, retirement planning and estate planning. The program is administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. Candidates must pass a two day examination covering all of the above subjects and includes case studies. Historically, only 45% to 55% of the candidates pass the exam on the first attempt. In addition to passing the CFP certification exam, candidates must also complete qualifying work experience and agree to adhere to the CFP Board’s code of ethics and professional responsibility and financial planning standards. The CFP Board posts information on the financial planning process and current licensees, allowing clients of CFPs to verify if their financial planners’ designations are in good standing.

Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)

This designation is issued by the American College, and those who hold it work mostly as insurance agents. The CLU designation is awarded to persons who complete a 10-course program of study and 20 hours of exams. The course covers the fundamentals of life and health insurance, pension planning, insurance law, income taxation, investments, financial and estate planning, and group insurance benefits provided by employers. A Chartered Life Underwriter is able to provide guidance to clients on the proper amount of life insurance to meet the client’s objectives, the legal aspects of life insurance contracts and proper beneficiary designations. They also are able to focus on estate planning which involves how to properly title assets to maximize estate tax planning techniques.

Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)

The ChFC program is administered by the American College. Individuals with the ChFC designation have trained in subject areas of financial planning, including income tax, insurance, investment retirement and estate planning. Candidates are required to have a minimum of three years experience in a financial industry position. The ChFC requires successful completion of an exam on the above mentioned subject matters. Like those with the CFP designation, professionals who hold the ChFC charter help individuals analyze their financial situations and goals.

Certified Public Accountant and Personal Financial Specialist (CPA and PFS)

Those holding the CPA designation have passed examinations on accounting and tax preparation, but CPA designation does not indicate training in other areas of finance. If a CPA makes recommendations to individuals in the areas of cash flow planning, risk management and insurance planning, retirement planning, investment advisory services, estate, gift and wealth transfer planning then the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) requires that the CPA also obtain a PFS designation. The PFS designation is awarded by the AICPA to those who have taken additional training and already have a CFP designation.

There is a Proliferations of Newer Lesser Designations?

The above designations have long been accepted as the benchmark requirements of the financial services establishment, and number of lesser designations have been proliferating to cloud the validity of some of the older designations. An analysis of these designations reveal that the requirements are not nearly as stringent and only a comparatively small fraction of the coursework is required to obtain some of these designations. For example, the Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) and Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC) designations can certainly aid advisors in the investment selection and management process (and will also likely sound impressive to clients and prospects). However, the academic curriculum required for either certification barely scratches the surface of the material covered by either the CFP or ChFC designations.

These certifications often focus more on training advisors how to effectively market certain kinds of financial products and services to senior citizens. Therefore, a substantial portion of the training is geared primarily towards exploring the mindset of the average senior citizen, and how that can be used to induce them to follow the newly credentialed advisor’s recommendations.

How Important are these Financial Certifications in Selecting an Advisor?

As stated in the beginning of this article, you would not go to a physician who had the proper training not passed the necessary state exams required to practice medicine. For many medical conditions the use of a Nurse Practitioner is being used to hold the cost of medical care down , but this is usually under the direction of a licensed medical doctor. If some of the lesser designations are supervised as part of a financial planning team, aathey can help the advisors better server their clients.

If you have any questions about retirement in Minneapolis feel free to come pay us a visit!

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Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
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