Recently, I met a longtime college friend Derrick, and he explained to me how he has been trying to get certification in financial planning, but his efforts have been fruitless. He has tried registering, but the CFP Board keeps rejecting his applications. After college, we part ways, and it has been years since we spoke. When I heard of his tribulations, I felt sorry for him and as he was always top in our class. I knew this time; Derrick would thank me unlike the olden days in school where he always got lots appreciation from the academic fraternity. Well, after few interactions, I accepted to help my friend Derrick secure a certification. Right now as you are reading this piece of writing, Derrick is a certified financial planner.
Are you wondering how you would become a certified financial planner using simple techniques? Have you tried before but failed terribly? Maybe you are in college, and you are thirst to rise in haste and get certified, or maybe you completed college many years ago like Derrick, and you have never got certified, and clients are slipping off as you watch. Don’t worry, if that’s you, just follow the following tricks and thank me later.
Rule no 1: Complete school first
According to the CFP certifications rules, it is impossible to get certified when you have not completed school. Just like most certifications, it is a necessity to have at least a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university. However, in our case, to get certified as a financial planner, you must possess either a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree or a college academic program recognized by the board. It will enable the candidate to stand a good chance to comprehend the course requirements.
It is evident that having a sound financial background is crucial as it enhances efficacy when handling tasks. For that reason, it is a necessity that anyone willing to get certified must convince the board in having relevant and authentic academic papers. However, in case one lacks higher education credentials, the board offers its academic programs to enable skilled candidates to become eligible for the certification. To access the examinations, you must have completed high-school and convinced the board in having some basic information on financial matters. Besides, one is required to enroll in one of the many legit colleges recognized by the board to enable one pursue the short course. The course is convenient as one can study at his own time and pace. Other associate programs recognized are;
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Licensed attorney
- Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA)
- Business Administration/ Economics
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
- Others can be reviewed by the board to test their legitimacy
Rule no 2: Ensure you pass the CFP exams
Many people get scared when they hear the term ‘examinations’, I included. Personally, I detest examinations just the way I do to medical injections. They make one nervous, anxious and if you are not careful, they can subject you to sleepless nights. Wait! To become a certified financial planner, you have to brave all the predicaments that sprout from exams mood and plan on how to succeed in them. Also, the Certified Financial Planners’ exams are crucial to enhancing the career besides updating the cv. They get conducted three times a year; that is in March, July, and November. As a certified financial planner I can attest that this test is not as easy as it seems, but again, with proper preparation, it is one of the sure ways to success. Something funny about the test is that it is a ten multiple questions paper which takes 2 hours. Yes, it is a two-hour multiple question paper, in which all the answers are made similar and appear correct just to test ones’ keenness. To pass this exam proper exam preparation is vital. The exam covers all the financial aspects necessary for a financial planner. Well, if you are salivating to become one of the top sourced financial planners, always ensure you prepare well for this exam.
Rule no. 3: Participate in the corporate world and gain experience
Completing school and getting good grades is not a surety to getting certified as a financial planner, one needs to enroll in an institution and provide financial services for at least 3 years working full time. Many people get locked out of the certification due to this requirement. Others are college graduates who have just completed school, and they want to get certified immediately. Like the adages said that building Rome never took one day, building a good portfolio needs patience and persistence. Well, in a situation where one is unable to acquire a job, internships are also accepted, but the candidate must complete the three years to become legitimate.
Rule no.4: Pay the certification fee
Just like in other profession bodies, the registration fee for members is a mandatory. To become a certified financial planner, one is required to pay a one-time fee of 100 US dollars. This money will cater for all the expenses used to ascertain your background information. Besides, one is required to pay $360 us dollars to get the certificate. Unlike other majors, you will agree that the fees paid here are very minimal considering the quality of education acquired. After you have cleared your fees, you will get awarded with the certificate. Well, this is the most joyous moment in the entire academic journey. At this juncture, you get power and the zeal to offer professional financial advice and mentorship to others.
Rule no.5: keep updating your skills and doing the CFP exams
Unlike other certifications in other majors where one may take the exam only once, the CFP certification requires progressive update of skills. You will concur with the adages that education is a lifetime process, and as much as you get educated, you will still encounter something new each day. As for the CFP board, they have put measures to ensure financial planners are at par with the current trends. How is this done? It is mandatory for a certified financial planner to take regular CFP exam each two years. It will act as immunity to the certification to avoid losing its credentials. Well, you don’t have to get enrolled at an institution of higher learning to be eligible for the exams each time, there are plenty of resources online that one can use to study. Besides, with advanced technology, virtualization of classrooms is becoming popular and learning some of these skills has become easy and efficient.
Are you a non-certified financial planner? What are you waiting for? Enroll now and spicy your financial career by getting certified by the CFP board.