Question about becoming a CFP

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Question about becoming a CFP

Postby lm002e » Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:41 pm

Hi all! I can only assume that a forum such as this has more than its fair share of Certified Financial Planners roaming around. So... I just started taking CFP classes this fall. I really enjoy the subject matter but I have one dilemma: I don't currently work in the financial services industry and I have no intention of changing careers (at least not for many years) . I currently work as a paramedic for a local gov't agency that provides great benefits. And as a bonus, I really love being a paramedic so I'm not looking at changing careers. My question is this: is it possible to work as a CFP part-time? I think I'd be interested in perhaps working for a non-profit doing financial planning for underserved, low-income people on a part-time or as needed basis. Does such a thing exist? I'd hate to finish all these classes ($700 per class!) only to find out that there are no professional opportunities for a financial planner in my position. Thank you very much for your input.

Luke
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Beat The Street » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:59 pm

Most financial advisors aren't even CFPs. For you to get the CFP designation you will need 3 years of experience in the financial services industry, no way around it, and you will need to pass the comprehensive exam. I believe you could get a series 66 license to become an investment advisor to charge a fee for investment advice part time.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby grok87 » Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:10 am

my understanding for the CFP is that you need to get the work experience requirement done before or shortly after passing the exam. in other words you cant take and pass the exam today and then wait around for like 5 or 10 years and then do the work experience requirement.

The CFA is different
http://www.cfainstitute.org/about/membe ... ience.aspx
you can take the 3 tests and then do the work experience requirement later and i don't think there is a time limit.
cheers,
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby ualdriver » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:17 pm

lm002e wrote:Hi all! I can only assume that a forum such as this has more than its fair share of Certified Financial Planners roaming around. So... I just started taking CFP classes this fall. I really enjoy the subject matter but I have one dilemma: I don't currently work in the financial services industry and I have no intention of changing careers (at least not for many years) . I currently work as a paramedic for a local gov't agency that provides great benefits. And as a bonus, I really love being a paramedic so I'm not looking at changing careers. My question is this: is it possible to work as a CFP part-time? I think I'd be interested in perhaps working for a non-profit doing financial planning for underserved, low-income people on a part-time or as needed basis. Does such a thing exist? I'd hate to finish all these classes ($700 per class!) only to find out that there are no professional opportunities for a financial planner in my position. Thank you very much for your input.

Luke


Luke-

I was in a similar situation as you several years go where I wanted to get my CFP while keeping my full time job. I think your work schedule as a paramedic might be even similar to mine where we work blocks of "days on" and "days off" which I thought would be conducive to working a side job. Anyway, I even went as far as reading all of the books on the CFP book list (except one) in anticipation of taking the CFP classes.

First, out where I live I had a pretty hard time finding a company that would hire me part time, unless I wanted to work for an insurance company. The insurance companies I talked to made it pretty clear to me that I would be selling insurance products like VULs and the likes, and that I would be expected to be a salesman first ("You have to earn their trust!") and a financial planner second. Another impression that I got was that I would be expected to market to my friends and family. For all of those reasons, that killed the insurance route for me.

There were a couple of medium sized financial planning firms that took a look at me and had me fill out an on-line application and questionnaire. Some of the questions that I was asked was "What is your net worth?" "Are you willing to invest your personal funds with our firm?" and again the questions about willingness to approach family and friends.

After those experiences (maybe I have a bad attitude?), I gave up. I got my Series 65 for fun, and that was the end of my CFP pursuit unfortunately. I ended up going into taxes and recently obtaining my EA instead. I found it pretty easy to find work doing taxes part time. Hopefully you will have better results than me :)

IMHO, I would be really hesitant to make a large time/financial investment in pursuing the CFP unless you know for sure that you have a job lined up, especially since you can only work part time. It sounds like after you complete the exams that you'll need to get your 6000 hours done within 5 years of exam completion since you have no creditable experience now. If you don't get the experience in within the time frame, my understanding is that you would have to retake the exam unless there were extenuating circumstances. I imagine that would be pretty unpleasant.
Last edited by ualdriver on Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby tj » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:22 pm

How did you get your Series 65 when you need to be sponsored by a firm to take it? Edited: i geuss anyone can take the 65. Neat.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby lm002e » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:56 am

ualdriver wrote:
lm002e wrote:Hi all! I can only assume that a forum such as this has more than its fair share of Certified Financial Planners roaming around. So... I just started taking CFP classes this fall. I really enjoy the subject matter but I have one dilemma: I don't currently work in the financial services industry and I have no intention of changing careers (at least not for many years) . I currently work as a paramedic for a local gov't agency that provides great benefits. And as a bonus, I really love being a paramedic so I'm not looking at changing careers. My question is this: is it possible to work as a CFP part-time? I think I'd be interested in perhaps working for a non-profit doing financial planning for underserved, low-income people on a part-time or as needed basis. Does such a thing exist? I'd hate to finish all these classes ($700 per class!) only to find out that there are no professional opportunities for a financial planner in my position. Thank you very much for your input.

Luke


Luke-

I was in a similar situation as you several years go where I wanted to get my CFP while keeping my full time job. I think your work schedule as a paramedic might be even similar to mine where we work blocks of "days on" and "days off" which I thought would be conducive to working a side job. Anyway, I even went as far as reading all of the books on the CFP book list (except one) in anticipation of taking the CFP classes.

First, out where I live I had a pretty hard time finding a company that would hire me part time, unless I wanted to work for an insurance company. The insurance companies I talked to made it pretty clear to me that I would be selling insurance products like VULs and the likes, and that I would be expected to be a salesman first ("You have to earn their trust!") and a financial planner second. Another impression that I got was that I would be expected to market to my friends and family. For all of those reasons, that killed the insurance route for me.

There were a couple of medium sized financial planning firms that took a look at me and had me fill out an on-line application and questionnaire. Some of the questions that I was asked was "What is your net worth?" "Are you willing to invest your personal funds with our firm?" and again the questions about willingness to approach family and friends.

After those experiences (maybe I have a bad attitude?), I gave up. I got my Series 65 for fun, and that was the end of my CFP pursuit unfortunately. I ended up going into taxes and recently obtaining my EA instead. I found it pretty easy to find work doing taxes part time. Hopefully you will have better results than me :)

IMHO, I would be really hesitant to make a large time/financial investment in pursuing the CFP unless you know for sure that you have a job lined up, especially since you can only work part time. It sounds like after you complete the exams that you'll need to get your 6000 hours done within 5 years of exam completion since you have no creditable experience now. If you don't get the experience in within the time frame, my understanding is that you would have to retake the exam unless there were extenuating circumstances. I imagine that would be pretty unpleasant.


Thank you very much for this feedback. This is precisely what I feared and so far seems to be consistent with what others have said. I've only taken one CFP class so far (Fundamentals of Financial Planning) so I don't have a lot of time/money invested thus far. I, like you, have no interest in sales (insurance or otherwise) so that route is off the table. Unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to put the CFP classes on the back burner for several years and then revisit the idea when I'm ready for a 2nd career. I really appreciate the input.

Luke
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby ShowMeTheER » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:57 am

lm002e wrote:Hi all! I can only assume that a forum such as this has more than its fair share of Certified Financial Planners roaming around. So... I just started taking CFP classes this fall. I really enjoy the subject matter but I have one dilemma: I don't currently work in the financial services industry and I have no intention of changing careers (at least not for many years) . I currently work as a paramedic for a local gov't agency that provides great benefits. And as a bonus, I really love being a paramedic so I'm not looking at changing careers. My question is this: is it possible to work as a CFP part-time? I think I'd be interested in perhaps working for a non-profit doing financial planning for underserved, low-income people on a part-time or as needed basis. Does such a thing exist? I'd hate to finish all these classes ($700 per class!) only to find out that there are no professional opportunities for a financial planner in my position. Thank you very much for your input.

Luke


I did this a few years ago - completed the course work (education) and passed the exam. My career is related to the financial world, but not as a direct adviser/money manager, so they would not grant me the designation due to the work requirement portion. This wasn't a surprise to me - I was doing the work just for fun/interest - but it does sting even now when I learn of people in the past who had been able to get the designation without a directly related career. Seems the CFP board tightened that up somewhere along the line... quite a few years ago now.

You have about 4 years from passing the exam to complete the work requirement
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Beat The Street » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:27 am

lm002e wrote:
ualdriver wrote:
lm002e wrote:Hi all! I can only assume that a forum such as this has more than its fair share of Certified Financial Planners roaming around. So... I just started taking CFP classes this fall. I really enjoy the subject matter but I have one dilemma: I don't currently work in the financial services industry and I have no intention of changing careers (at least not for many years) . I currently work as a paramedic for a local gov't agency that provides great benefits. And as a bonus, I really love being a paramedic so I'm not looking at changing careers. My question is this: is it possible to work as a CFP part-time? I think I'd be interested in perhaps working for a non-profit doing financial planning for underserved, low-income people on a part-time or as needed basis. Does such a thing exist? I'd hate to finish all these classes ($700 per class!) only to find out that there are no professional opportunities for a financial planner in my position. Thank you very much for your input.

Luke


Luke-

I was in a similar situation as you several years go where I wanted to get my CFP while keeping my full time job. I think your work schedule as a paramedic might be even similar to mine where we work blocks of "days on" and "days off" which I thought would be conducive to working a side job. Anyway, I even went as far as reading all of the books on the CFP book list (except one) in anticipation of taking the CFP classes.

First, out where I live I had a pretty hard time finding a company that would hire me part time, unless I wanted to work for an insurance company. The insurance companies I talked to made it pretty clear to me that I would be selling insurance products like VULs and the likes, and that I would be expected to be a salesman first ("You have to earn their trust!") and a financial planner second. Another impression that I got was that I would be expected to market to my friends and family. For all of those reasons, that killed the insurance route for me.

There were a couple of medium sized financial planning firms that took a look at me and had me fill out an on-line application and questionnaire. Some of the questions that I was asked was "What is your net worth?" "Are you willing to invest your personal funds with our firm?" and again the questions about willingness to approach family and friends.

After those experiences (maybe I have a bad attitude?), I gave up. I got my Series 65 for fun, and that was the end of my CFP pursuit unfortunately. I ended up going into taxes and recently obtaining my EA instead. I found it pretty easy to find work doing taxes part time. Hopefully you will have better results than me :)

IMHO, I would be really hesitant to make a large time/financial investment in pursuing the CFP unless you know for sure that you have a job lined up, especially since you can only work part time. It sounds like after you complete the exams that you'll need to get your 6000 hours done within 5 years of exam completion since you have no creditable experience now. If you don't get the experience in within the time frame, my understanding is that you would have to retake the exam unless there were extenuating circumstances. I imagine that would be pretty unpleasant.


Thank you very much for this feedback. This is precisely what I feared and so far seems to be consistent with what others have said. I've only taken one CFP class so far (Fundamentals of Financial Planning) so I don't have a lot of time/money invested thus far. I, like you, have no interest in sales (insurance or otherwise) so that route is off the table. Unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to put the CFP classes on the back burner for several years and then revisit the idea when I'm ready for a 2nd career. I really appreciate the input.

Luke




There are virtually no entry level jobs in the financial planning industry unless you want to do sales. You could look into trust departments possibly, maybe at local banks. If you become a financial planner people do not just walk in and want advice (at least not until you are established). You have to be a salesman in the beginning, but don't sell products sell yourself and your advice and don't work on commissions.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby lm002e » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:36 am

.
Beat The Street wrote:
lm002e wrote:
ualdriver wrote:
lm002e wrote:Hi all! I can only assume that a forum such as this has more than its fair share of Certified Financial Planners roaming around. So... I just started taking CFP classes this fall. I really enjoy the subject matter but I have one dilemma: I don't currently work in the financial services industry and I have no intention of changing careers (at least not for many years) . I currently work as a paramedic for a local gov't agency that provides great benefits. And as a bonus, I really love being a paramedic so I'm not looking at changing careers. My question is this: is it possible to work as a CFP part-time? I think I'd be interested in perhaps working for a non-profit doing financial planning for underserved, low-income people on a part-time or as needed basis. Does such a thing exist? I'd hate to finish all these classes ($700 per class!) only to find out that there are no professional opportunities for a financial planner in my position. Thank you very much for your input.

Luke


Luke-

I was in a similar situation as you several years go where I wanted to get my CFP while keeping my full time job. I think your work schedule as a paramedic might be even similar to mine where we work blocks of "days on" and "days off" which I thought would be conducive to working a side job. Anyway, I even went as far as reading all of the books on the CFP book list (except one) in anticipation of taking the CFP classes.

First, out where I live I had a pretty hard time finding a company that would hire me part time, unless I wanted to work for an insurance company. The insurance companies I talked to made it pretty clear to me that I would be selling insurance products like VULs and the likes, and that I would be expected to be a salesman first ("You have to earn their trust!") and a financial planner second. Another impression that I got was that I would be expected to market to my friends and family. For all of those reasons, that killed the insurance route for me.

There were a couple of medium sized financial planning firms that took a look at me and had me fill out an on-line application and questionnaire. Some of the questions that I was asked was "What is your net worth?" "Are you willing to invest your personal funds with our firm?" and again the questions about willingness to approach family and friends.

After those experiences (maybe I have a bad attitude?), I gave up. I got my Series 65 for fun, and that was the end of my CFP pursuit unfortunately. I ended up going into taxes and recently obtaining my EA instead. I found it pretty easy to find work doing taxes part time. Hopefully you will have better results than me :)

IMHO, I would be really hesitant to make a large time/financial investment in pursuing the CFP unless you know for sure that you have a job lined up, especially since you can only work part time. It sounds like after you complete the exams that you'll need to get your 6000 hours done within 5 years of exam completion since you have no creditable experience now. If you don't get the experience in within the time frame, my understanding is that you would have to retake the exam unless there were extenuating circumstances. I imagine that would be pretty unpleasant.


Thank you very much for this feedback. This is precisely what I feared and so far seems to be consistent with what others have said. I've only taken one CFP class so far (Fundamentals of Financial Planning) so I don't have a lot of time/money invested thus far. I, like you, have no interest in sales (insurance or otherwise) so that route is off the table. Unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to put the CFP classes on the back burner for several years and then revisit the idea when I'm ready for a 2nd career. I really appreciate the input.

Luke




There are virtually no entry level jobs in the financial planning industry unless you want to do sales. You could look into trust departments possibly, maybe at local banks. If you become a financial planner people do not just walk in and want advice (at least not until you are established). You have to be a salesman in the beginning, but don't sell products sell yourself and your advice and don't work on commissions.[/quot

If this is indeed the case then I guess financial planning is not for me. I don't enjoy sales at all and consequently I'm not any good at it. Bummer. I was hoping to do planning/advising and not selling. Thanks again for the input.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Beat The Street » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:29 am

There are a lot of good fee-only firms that are growing fast (IFA, Buckingham etc.) though. It's probably much harder to find a job at a place like that but if you are willing to do something else for a few years just to get a foot in the door they might be willing to give you a shot. Most of those firms don't really sell, they just work off referrals because they have done such a good job for their customers. The rest of the industry isn't very professional (of course some are) and if I were you the only places I would look into are fee only registered investment advisor shops (check for job listings on NAPFA) or trust departments (which involves a lot more than investment planning).
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby bottlecap » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:50 am

ualdriver wrote:First, out where I live I had a pretty hard time finding a company that would hire me part time, unless I wanted to work for an insurance company. The insurance companies I talked to made it pretty clear to me that I would be selling insurance products like VULs and the likes, and that I would be expected to be a salesman first ("You have to earn their trust!") and a financial planner second. Another impression that I got was that I would be expected to market to my friends and family. For all of those reasons, that killed the insurance route for me.

There were a couple of medium sized financial planning firms that took a look at me and had me fill out an on-line application and questionnaire. Some of the questions that I was asked was "What is your net worth?" "Are you willing to invest your personal funds with our firm?" and again the questions about willingness to approach family and friends.

After those experiences (maybe I have a bad attitude?), I gave up. I got my Series 65 for fun, and that was the end of my CFP pursuit unfortunately. I ended up going into taxes and recently obtaining my EA instead. I found it pretty easy to find work doing taxes part time. Hopefully you will have better results than me :)

IMHO, I would be really hesitant to make a large time/financial investment in pursuing the CFP unless you know for sure that you have a job lined up, especially since you can only work part time. It sounds like after you complete the exams that you'll need to get your 6000 hours done within 5 years of exam completion since you have no creditable experience now. If you don't get the experience in within the time frame, my understanding is that you would have to retake the exam unless there were extenuating circumstances. I imagine that would be pretty unpleasant.




Im002e wrote:There are virtually no entry level jobs in the financial planning industry unless you want to do sales. You could look into trust departments possibly, maybe at local banks. If you become a financial planner people do not just walk in and want advice (at least not until you are established). You have to be a salesman in the beginning, but don't sell products sell yourself and your advice and don't work on commissions.


Luke wrote:If this is indeed the case then I guess financial planning is not for me. I don't enjoy sales at all and consequently I'm not any good at it. Bummer. I was hoping to do planning/advising and not selling. Thanks again for the input.


I understand that those with the CFP designation want, in large measure, to keep people out of the profession and maintain the value of the designation, but the experience requirements quite frankly cheapen the CFP designation to a degree that is almost disgusting. In order to get this supposedly meaningful designation, you have to sell products that are almost certain not to be in the best interests of your customers for three years. Then you can get your CFP and can actually do what's best for your clients, assuming you can parlay your experience into self-employment.

It's as if they won't permit people to get licensed as bank security guards until they've had three years experience robbing banks. What sense does that make?

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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby ualdriver » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:40 pm

lm002e wrote:Thank you very much for this feedback. This is precisely what I feared and so far seems to be consistent with what others have said. I've only taken one CFP class so far (Fundamentals of Financial Planning) so I don't have a lot of time/money invested thus far. I, like you, have no interest in sales (insurance or otherwise) so that route is off the table. Unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to put the CFP classes on the back burner for several years and then revisit the idea when I'm ready for a 2nd career. I really appreciate the input.

Luke


I didn't mean to discourage you. Maybe you will be able to find a good firm to work for. I just didn't have any luck and took an alternate route.

If you want to do something related to personal finance that will be much easier to find part time work without having to do sales, try taxes. The big tax firms are always hiring during the fall in anticipation of tax season and I have found that there are many smaller companies looking for seasonal help, particularly once you gain experience. The big downside I have found is that pay is pretty low until you are able to build a client base. But that likely would have been the case for a new CFP, too.

Maybe the CFP board would count the experience doing tax preparation towards your CFP? Not sure.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Chaol » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:19 pm

bottlecap wrote:I understand that those with the CFP designation want, in large measure, to keep people out of the profession and maintain the value of the designation, but the experience requirements quite frankly cheapen the CFP designation to a degree that is almost disgusting. In order to get this supposedly meaningful designation, you have to sell products that are almost certain not to be in the best interests of your customers for three years. Then you can get your CFP and can actually do what's best for your clients, assuming you can parlay your experience into self-employment.

It's as if they won't permit people to get licensed as bank security guards until they've had three years experience robbing banks. What sense does that make?

JT


There are certainly routes towards CFP(r) certification that have nothing whatsoever to do with peddling an inappropriate product. A relatively recent development has been the introduction of achieving the work experience requirement by a two-year "apprenticeship" where one must continuously be involved in the six primary elements of the planning process (and in effect, spending those two years focused solely on creating plans for clients). This has the effect of streamlining the process for "pure" planners over those who use planning as a piece of a wider service (or product) offering.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby bottlecap » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:35 pm

Chaol wrote:There are certainly routes towards CFP(r) certification that have nothing whatsoever to do with peddling an inappropriate product. A relatively recent development has been the introduction of achieving the work experience requirement by a two-year "apprenticeship" where one must continuously be involved in the six primary elements of the planning process (and in effect, spending those two years focused solely on creating plans for clients). This has the effect of streamlining the process for "pure" planners over those who use planning as a piece of a wider service (or product) offering.


This sounds great in theory, but in practice, I would imagine the overwhelming majority of apprenticeship programs would involve low pay and some sort of selling, if just to family members, as ualdriver pointed out in his experience. Not only this this route probably few and far between, it discourages the best people from seeking the certification, as they can likely make more money elsewhere and not have to deal with the baloney.

I realize no program is perfect, but the requirements in this case are either unrealistic or unsavory.

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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby stoptothink » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:39 pm

grok87 wrote:my understanding for the CFP is that you need to get the work experience requirement done before or shortly after passing the exam. in other words you cant take and pass the exam today and then wait around for like 5 or 10 years and then do the work experience requirement.

The CFA is different
http://www.cfainstitute.org/about/membe ... ience.aspx
you can take the 3 tests and then do the work experience requirement later and i don't think there is a time limit.
cheers,


This. My best friend recently passed the exam. I don't see the point in even pursuing it unless you plan to work in the industry, from what I have heard it is a pretty comprehensive and challenging exam. Not to mention your employer will generally pay for the entire thing.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby mikegerard » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:49 pm

lm002e wrote:My question is this: is it possible to work as a CFP part-time? I think I'd be interested in perhaps working for a non-profit doing financial planning for underserved, low-income people on a part-time or as needed basis.


Luke - If you are willing to do this for a non profit (for free) then you should be able to find lots of opportunities. Locally we have several groups like this https://www.cccsofrochester.org/ that do free or low cost counseling to help people with financial planning. I have not done any work like this but have an accountant friend who volunteers and really enjoys helping out.

Mike
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby ualdriver » Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:06 pm

mikegerard wrote:
Luke - If you are willing to do this for a non profit (for free) then you should be able to find lots of opportunities. Locally we have several groups like this https://www.cccsofrochester.org/ that do free or low cost counseling to help people with financial planning. I have not done any work like this but have an accountant friend who volunteers and really enjoys helping out.

Mike


Mike-

Do you (or anyone else?) know if that type of counseling would count toward the CFP requirements? I still would like to obtain the CFP, but as mentioned above not by selling product.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Beat The Street » Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:23 pm

You could be a teller at a bank for three years and that would satisfy the work experience requirement. It is very lenient.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Helot » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:02 pm

You don't have to pimp yourself out to obtain the CFP experience. For an individual only considering a career change, you have the option to obtain the relevant work experience through unpaid internships sponsored through a university. Most internships require approximately 80s hour over a college quarter. Each internship qualifies you for 3 months of work experience. Also, the FPA offers an annual 1 week retreat similarly worth 3 months of credit.

As a paramedic, I suspect you are on a shift schedule. You should consider devoting one day a week to an internship at a small RIA firm staffed with CFPs. You won't be expected to "sell" yourself or products.

If you truly desire to obtain the CFP certification, it is not beyond your time or capabilities.

Further, the time limit for the experience requirement starts upon passing the CFP examination. You have 5 years to obtain 3 years experience. If I recall correctly, you are allowed to request a 2 year extension.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby bottlecap » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:09 pm

Helot wrote:You don't have to pimp yourself out to obtain the CFP experience. For an individual only considering a career change, you have the option to obtain the relevant work experience through unpaid internships sponsored through a university. Most internships require approximately 80s hour over a college quarter. Each internship qualifies you for 3 months of work experience. Also, the FPA offers an annual 1 week retreat similarly worth 3 months of credit.


Interesting. It's comforting that there are more realistic options for folks.

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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Helot » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:29 pm

Here's a nice blog post that seems to sum up the whole experience quite well: http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/certi ... -planning/
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby HouseStark » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:10 pm

I second the earlier post about considering working in the tax preparation field instead. If you want to work directly with clients in a financial field that doesn't involve selling, then tax prep is an available route. For one thing, the entry requirements are lower. There's no degree or experience requirement. Go to IRS.gov and research becoming a RTRP. It's a seasonal business, so the demand for peak season help will always be there, and because of that demand, employers will often consider flex-time and part-time employees. Yes, it can involve significant data entry and pay at entry-level can be limited, but the opportunities are there for growth over time. The greater your knowledge and experience, the more compensation you can earn and the more sophisticated types of advice and more meaninful interactions you can have with clients. Many tax firms do expand the breadth of their services beyond just tax preparation and become a key financial advisor to their clients. There are many more possibilities for part-time or second career work in the tax prep field than what seems available in financial planning and the field is more much open to gaining credentials such as Enrolled Agent compared to the requirements for earning the CFP credential.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby ualdriver » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:35 pm

Helot wrote:Further, the time limit for the experience requirement starts upon passing the CFP examination. You have 5 years to obtain 3 years experience. If I recall correctly, you are allowed to request a 2 year extension.


When I contacted the CFP Board and asked about the 2 year extension, they said it would only be granted for circumstances beyond a candidate's control. The two examples they used in our conversation was a military person being called up to active duty or a medical condition that prevented you from working. They explained to me that it wasn't intended to give part timers (like I was considering at the time) an extra 2 years to get the work experience in. It's been a few years since that conversation so maybe things have changed since then.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby emh1 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:38 am

Good luck to the OP in getting your CFP, especially since your motivation is helping others. Speaking for myself, I can honestly say it was worth the hassle of getting it. Even though the CFP board does seem a little screwy at times.

http://www.cfp.net/media/release.asp?id=372
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Helot » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:11 pm

ualdriver wrote:
Helot wrote:Further, the time limit for the experience requirement starts upon passing the CFP examination. You have 5 years to obtain 3 years experience. If I recall correctly, you are allowed to request a 2 year extension.


When I contacted the CFP Board and asked about the 2 year extension, they said it would only be granted for circumstances beyond a candidate's control. The two examples they used in our conversation was a military person being called up to active duty or a medical condition that prevented you from working. They explained to me that it wasn't intended to give part timers (like I was considering at the time) an extra 2 years to get the work experience in. It's been a few years since that conversation so maybe things have changed since then.



Good to know. I wasn't aware of the limits on asking for an extension. Seems a bit silly to me. It dissuades people from pursuing the designation in a part-time fashion. Perhaps 6 or 7 years to obtain 3 years of experience would be more appropriate.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby JeffX » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:38 pm

Can someone just pass the series 65 exam, create a fee only financial planning company (LLC) and work at it for 3 years? Wouldn't this satisfy the requirements?
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Helot » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:28 pm

JeffX wrote:Can someone just pass the series 65 exam, create a fee only financial planning company (LLC) and work at it for 3 years? Wouldn't this satisfy the requirements?


I believe the answer is yes.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby gwrvmd » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:29 pm

uasldriver
You asked about other fields that may count as work related or even as a parttime career field. How about Credit Counceling? I have no idea what the creditentials are but everybody is offering it now: credit card companies, mortgage companies, the Military, insurance companies like USAA etc. Student debt just passed credit card debt in dollar value which are both far ahead of total mortgage debt which is hard to believe but apparently true. The personal debt problem is going to get worse and Credit Score is becoming more important to qualify for the best mortgage rates, HELOC rates, car insurance rates, security clearances etc. Check it out, it may be something you might consider. Gordon
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby wholeinone04 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:46 pm

JeffX wrote:Can someone just pass the series 65 exam, create a fee only financial planning company (LLC) and work at it for 3 years? Wouldn't this satisfy the requirements?


That's what I was wondering! What I'm interested in is the whole aspect of financial planning. I like helping my friends out with the basics and I would like to get something like a CFP license to show that I'm credible and not just some kook with a PF blog. Can you take the CFP test and then start a LLC with you as the only employee and start helping people?

I am going to guess the answer is no so what is the next best option? What is the most credible degree you can attain through studying/passing a test that will allow you to work for yourself. Right now, a lot of my friends come to me for advice and I like doing that. I just want to attach some type of certification to it so that I look a little more credible. I have a large group of friends that I'm hoping to some day turn into clients. For now, I just help everyone out for free though..
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Helot » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:59 pm

wholeinone04 wrote:
JeffX wrote:Can someone just pass the series 65 exam, create a fee only financial planning company (LLC) and work at it for 3 years? Wouldn't this satisfy the requirements?


That's what I was wondering! What I'm interested in is the whole aspect of financial planning. I like helping my friends out with the basics and I would like to get something like a CFP license to show that I'm credible and not just some kook with a PF blog. Can you take the CFP test and then start a LLC with you as the only employee and start helping people?

I am going to guess the answer is no so what is the next best option? What is the most credible degree you can attain through studying/passing a test that will allow you to work for yourself. Right now, a lot of my friends come to me for advice and I like doing that. I just want to attach some type of certification to it so that I look a little more credible. I have a large group of friends that I'm hoping to some day turn into clients. For now, I just help everyone out for free though..



You do not need to obtain the CFP to provide financial planning. If you want to be seen as "credible," complete the course of study that allows you to sit for the CFP exam. Completing the course of study from a university should result in your obtaining a "Certificate in Personal Financial Planning." Thereafter, register and pass the Series 65 test, start your LLC, partner with Scottrade (no minimum asset base required) to custodian your assets (if you want to manage client portfolios). The cost you will incur will include the Series 65 test, establishing your LLC, outsourcing your compliance, E&0 insurance, financial planning software, CRM, etc, etc.

The difficulty, though, is that the cost of all of the above starts to add up quite quickly. Soon you're out of pocket $10,000 - $20,000 just to provide advice in a competent, compliant, and insured manner.

This is why few succeed in "just starting" their own RIAs without any initial assets or customer base.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby emh1 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:46 pm

.....You could start by getting the ChFC designation through the American College. I believe the coursework for the ChFC still counts towards the educational requirement for the CFP exam. It does have more of an insurance focus than the CFP but at least youll have a designation and be able to sit for the CFP exam.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby ualdriver » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:53 pm

gwrvmd wrote:uasldriver
You asked about other fields that may count as work related or even as a parttime career field. How about Credit Counceling? I have no idea what the creditentials are but everybody is offering it now: credit card companies, mortgage companies, the Military, insurance companies like USAA etc. Student debt just passed credit card debt in dollar value which are both far ahead of total mortgage debt which is hard to believe but apparently true. The personal debt problem is going to get worse and Credit Score is becoming more important to qualify for the best mortgage rates, HELOC rates, car insurance rates, security clearances etc. Check it out, it may be something you might consider. Gordon


Yes, I might consider that after tax season ends. I guess my only concerns with going down this path is finding a good, credible organization that isn't taking advantage of these peoples' financial miseries and making sure the time spent providing this counseling is accepted by the CFP board.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby grok87 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:22 pm

stoptothink wrote:
grok87 wrote:my understanding for the CFP is that you need to get the work experience requirement done before or shortly after passing the exam. in other words you cant take and pass the exam today and then wait around for like 5 or 10 years and then do the work experience requirement.

The CFA is different
http://www.cfainstitute.org/about/membe ... ience.aspx
you can take the 3 tests and then do the work experience requirement later and i don't think there is a time limit.
cheers,


This. My best friend recently passed the exam. I don't see the point in even pursuing it unless you plan to work in the industry, from what I have heard it is a pretty comprehensive and challenging exam. Not to mention your employer will generally pay for the entire thing.

I guess that sounds about right.
If you are interested in financial stuff it probably makes sense to check out both the CFA and the CFP curriculum and see which one would enjoy more.
one advantage of the CFA is that you can do it entirely by self study (aside from the experience requirement) whereas with the CFP you need a course (albeit it could be an online course) and to pay tuition.
cheers,
grok, CFA | "You can only convince people who think they can benefit from being convinced."- Taleb
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby wholeinone04 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:43 pm

Helot wrote:
wholeinone04 wrote:
JeffX wrote:Can someone just pass the series 65 exam, create a fee only financial planning company (LLC) and work at it for 3 years? Wouldn't this satisfy the requirements?


That's what I was wondering! What I'm interested in is the whole aspect of financial planning. I like helping my friends out with the basics and I would like to get something like a CFP license to show that I'm credible and not just some kook with a PF blog. Can you take the CFP test and then start a LLC with you as the only employee and start helping people?

I am going to guess the answer is no so what is the next best option? What is the most credible degree you can attain through studying/passing a test that will allow you to work for yourself. Right now, a lot of my friends come to me for advice and I like doing that. I just want to attach some type of certification to it so that I look a little more credible. I have a large group of friends that I'm hoping to some day turn into clients. For now, I just help everyone out for free though..



You do not need to obtain the CFP to provide financial planning. If you want to be seen as "credible," complete the course of study that allows you to sit for the CFP exam. Completing the course of study from a university should result in your obtaining a "Certificate in Personal Financial Planning." Thereafter, register and pass the Series 65 test, start your LLC, partner with Scottrade (no minimum asset base required) to custodian your assets (if you want to manage client portfolios). The cost you will incur will include the Series 65 test, establishing your LLC, outsourcing your compliance, E&0 insurance, financial planning software, CRM, etc, etc.

The difficulty, though, is that the cost of all of the above starts to add up quite quickly. Soon you're out of pocket $10,000 - $20,000 just to provide advice in a competent, compliant, and insured manner.

This is why few succeed in "just starting" their own RIAs without any initial assets or customer base.


Thank you for the detailed reply. I really know nothing about any of this so this thread has been very helpful. Is being a financial advisor similar to being a realtor where you need some type of license or can you just go and start a LLC and if you have clients you'll make money. Getting clients is really not the part I'm worried about, since I'm considering doing it part time, at least in the near future. Maybe go full time if it goes well and I enjoy it.

Seems like the CFP route is probably not the best option for me. But what do you think about CFA or do you think it's a good idea to(like you said) take the course for CFP and then take the series 65 test(difference vs series 66 test?) Thanks for the help :) I googled some info on series 63,65,66 tests but didn't find too much that was helpful. Any idea of where I can research this on my own or good previous threads? TIA
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby ualdriver » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:32 pm

wholeinone04 wrote:Seems like the CFP route is probably not the best option for me. But what do you think about CFA or do you think it's a good idea to(like you said) take the course for CFP and then take the series 65 test(difference vs series 66 test?) Thanks for the help :) I googled some info on series 63,65,66 tests but didn't find too much that was helpful. Any idea of where I can research this on my own or good previous threads? TIA


I'm sure someone else will have better information than me, but the CFA is a MUCH greater undertaking than the CFP. The Series 65 is pretty much one textbook of information. I would bet the average well-read Boglehead could pass it with little difficulty.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby tj » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:30 am

There are study guides for Series 65 from kaplan and others. It looks to be about $300 total investment for study materials and the exam. Not bad...


I'm just wondering how useful a Series 65 license would be on it's own. Most entry level jobs seem to require other licenses (that you can't take on your own).
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby TN_INVEST » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:04 am

Beat The Street wrote:You could be a teller at a bank for three years and that would satisfy the work experience requirement. It is very lenient.


I'm not sure about that (per the CFP website)

=========================

Experience Standard

A total of three years full time qualifying Experience, or the equivalent 6,000 hours, is required to satisfy the Experience Requirement.*

Qualifying experience for CFP® Certification must satisfy a two-part requirement.

PART 1: Experience must fall within one or more of the six primary elements of the personal financial planning process:

Establishing and defining the relationship with the client
Gathering client data
Analyzing and evaluating the client's financial status
Developing and presenting the financial planning recommendations
Implementing the financial planning recommendations
Monitoring the financial planning recommendations

PART 2: Experience can be satisfied in any combination of five ways:

Personal Delivery to individual client
Supervision of personal delivery to individual client
Direct Support of personal delivery to individual client
Teaching
Courses at a CFP Board-Registered Program or
Finance-related courses at a university, offered for
college credit (a maximum of two years of
Experience credit may be credited for this teaching
option)
Internships and/or Residency Programs

The Experience requirement must be fulfilled within five years of passing the CFP® exam. If the requirement is not completed within this time frame, your candidacy for CFP® Certification may be terminated. A one-time, three-year extension may be granted on a case-by-case basis. Requests for an extension should be sent to CFP Board by email to experience@cfpboard.org or by fax to 202-379-2299.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby save-early-often » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:58 am

Assuming you have some type of Defined Contribution plan at work, I would reach out to your benefits office to see how/if you could assist w/ enrollment, participant education, etc.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby tibbitts » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:07 am

save-early-often wrote:Assuming you have some type of Defined Contribution plan at work, I would reach out to your benefits office to see how/if you could assist w/ enrollment, participant education, etc.

You'd have to tread very carefully here to avoid conflicts with union regulations. Management would probably feel that way too, making the whole thing too difficult to deal with.

Paul
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby BruceCM » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:52 am

I've been teaching at the University of Portland's CFP course since 2005, although the course has currently suspended new classes, due primarily to a dispute with Kaplan who provides learning materials, has a 2 year non-compete agreement with the University and is charging a lot for not much service.

Anyway, over the years, I've had hundreds approach me with questions not unlike yours. Here is a shortened version of my general response:

1. Make sure you LOVE to do financial planning. Do NOT do this for hopeful high pay or status. Do it because you are drawn to financial planning (primarily household cash flow analysis, savings analysis, risk analysis, estate and gifting, how retirement plans work and knowledge of the working of the tax code). Many are drawn to the designation because they enjoy being self-taught investors. This too is not a good reason. Most competent financial planners I know today have gone from actively managed mutual funds or stock portfolios to index funds and ETFs....making the investment management part of the job much easier.

2. There are plenty of jobs with real financial planners for those who have passed a course and passed the 2 day national certification exam. I get contacted by such firms in our community on a fairly regular basis. However.....

3. Pay for the first few years at a firm who practices 'real' financial planning, will be entry-level and low. This has kept many, particularly engineers looking for another career, out of the industry. All Fee-Only palanners I know who have been out working for 6 to 10 years have built a practice and are doing well and are happy. It takes time, hard work and you need to be able to get by with an income just north of minimum wage for at least the first couple of years. Some firms, such as Ameriprise and LPL, as well as some banks, can bring your income up to speed faster, providing you use primarily their fianancial products (funds, annuities, CVLI, etc). Most who have completed the CFP coursework and comprehensive exam avoid this and take the narrow road, although some go this route and don't seem to mind. Others like Edward Jones and Primarica are seemingly 100% product based and are happy to hire anyone who can fog a mirror, to sell their products. I know of no CFP Certficant who works...or would work....at such places.

4. The coursework and pre-comprehensive exam study requirements are hugely time consuming. The two major competitors for this required time will be your job and your family. We have had students come through with both who have studied sufficiently and passed the comprehensive exam, but we have had those that have not been able to. It is a huge time commitment.

Similar to your situation, we had one of the financial writers for the Oregonian come through our course about 2 years ago. This was a career journalist with no FP experience. With job and family (two small children), he worked his bu-- off and in 18 months, got through the course and passed the exam. Problem was, the CFP Board gave him no...thats zip....credit for his 6 or so years of writing personal financial articles. So he has had to set up a part time relationship with a local 2-person fee-only firm, working for almost no compensation, to get the required 3 years of experience, which he is just now about half the way through. Its been hard for him, but he's doing it...meaning it can be done. But again let me reiterate...this needs to be a persuit you are firmly committed to if your goal is to pass the course, pass the comprehensive exam and eventually use the CFP credential. If not, don't do it.

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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Jason Hull » Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:50 pm

JeffX wrote:Can someone just pass the series 65 exam, create a fee only financial planning company (LLC) and work at it for 3 years? Wouldn't this satisfy the requirements?


This is exactly what I have done. My previous experience was founding, growing, and selling a software development company, so while I am very versed in all of the ins and outs of what you need to do as a business owner to make sure that your business finances are solid and that your personal finances are solid to be able to have credible walkaways from offers, it's worth, apparently zero in financial planning. So, here's what I've done so far:

1) Take the required courses to be eligible to sit for CFP(R) exam: ~Jan - Feb '12
2) Take and pass CFP(R) exam: March '12
3) End golden handcuffs: June '12
4) Start up financial planning firm: July '12
4)a) Determine right away that in order to be providing investment advice legally (or, at least, as much as my research could indicate), I needed to be an IARD at a RIA: July '12
4)b) Spend one night reading Investopedia Series 65 exam, then pass Series 65 exam: July '12
5) Keep calm and carry on: July '12 - present

Since I am a one-man shop, I don't work for a CFP(R), and, therefore, don't qualify for the accelerated two year experience requirement. As a result, I am a candidate for the CFP(R) Board's certification until, as best I can estimate, June '15.

Regardless of the route you take, you will have to do selling. I am an hourly, fee-only planner - a rare breed, apparently - but that doesn't mean I'm not selling. My brand of selling, for better or worse, doesn't involve cold calling or white shoes, but it's selling nonetheless. At some point, I have to convince the person on the other end to part with some of their hard-earned dosh for me to provide them with my opinion and with a lot of Monte Carlo. It's not a "Buy now! There are only 4 cars left on the lot!" type of sales process, but it is a sales process nonetheless.

Someone else mentioned the FP writer who didn't get any credit from the CFP(R) Board for experience. He/she may not get credit for work experience, but, going forward, may get CE credit. I'm a personal finance columnist for U.S. News & World Report, and, apparently, I can get up to 1/2 of my CE credit requirements through the "journalism" route (I'm about as far from a journo as can be). See here for more details: http://www.cfp.net/certificants/ce.asp
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby BruceCM » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:34 pm

Jason
Did you consider joining the Garrett Network?
If you did consider it but elected not to, why not?
Just being curious.

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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby SNR » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:12 pm

Jason, doesn't the CFP work requirements specify actual hours worked? Working at a newly minted financial planning company for 3 years does not necessarily equate to 3 years of full time experience with clients as there will be some down time in the beginning while you get clients. So it might take longer than 3 years? or do you think the CFP will accept the first 3 years since it was your full time job?

thanks
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby CashCowCouple » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:05 am

Jason Hull wrote:
JeffX wrote:Can someone just pass the series 65 exam, create a fee only financial planning company (LLC) and work at it for 3 years? Wouldn't this satisfy the requirements?


This is exactly what I have done. My previous experience was founding, growing, and selling a software development company, so while I am very versed in all of the ins and outs of what you need to do as a business owner to make sure that your business finances are solid and that your personal finances are solid to be able to have credible walkaways from offers, it's worth, apparently zero in financial planning. So, here's what I've done so far:

1) Take the required courses to be eligible to sit for CFP(R) exam: ~Jan - Feb '12
2) Take and pass CFP(R) exam: March '12
3) End golden handcuffs: June '12
4) Start up financial planning firm: July '12
4)a) Determine right away that in order to be providing investment advice legally (or, at least, as much as my research could indicate), I needed to be an IARD at a RIA: July '12
4)b) Spend one night reading Investopedia Series 65 exam, then pass Series 65 exam: July '12
5) Keep calm and carry on: July '12 - present

Since I am a one-man shop, I don't work for a CFP(R), and, therefore, don't qualify for the accelerated two year experience requirement. As a result, I am a candidate for the CFP(R) Board's certification until, as best I can estimate, June '15.

Regardless of the route you take, you will have to do selling. I am an hourly, fee-only planner - a rare breed, apparently - but that doesn't mean I'm not selling. My brand of selling, for better or worse, doesn't involve cold calling or white shoes, but it's selling nonetheless. At some point, I have to convince the person on the other end to part with some of their hard-earned dosh for me to provide them with my opinion and with a lot of Monte Carlo. It's not a "Buy now! There are only 4 cars left on the lot!" type of sales process, but it is a sales process nonetheless.

Someone else mentioned the FP writer who didn't get any credit from the CFP(R) Board for experience. He/she may not get credit for work experience, but, going forward, may get CE credit. I'm a personal finance columnist for U.S. News & World Report, and, apparently, I can get up to 1/2 of my CE credit requirements through the "journalism" route (I'm about as far from a journo as can be). See here for more details: http://www.cfp.net/certificants/ce.asp


Jason, how have things worked out? I'm possibly headed down the same path. Any pointer you care to share?
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby tj » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:20 pm

I randomly saw Jason posting at brightcope (the site that rates 401ks). He has a website, http://www.hullfinancialplanning.com , it appears he's still at it.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Jason Hull » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:44 am

It would help if I followed my own posts, huh? :oops:

* Garrett Network - Yes, I have definitely considered it, but want the cashflow to pay for the membership. For whatever reason, I like constraints and challenges (which is why I always choose to be some lower league side when I play FIFA '12), so part of my goal is to build this without using any of my buyout money. Thus, no GFP yet, but when I have more clients, then it and NAFPA are the two I'd join.

* 3 years of running a firm <> 3 years of providing financial advice. Honestly, I have absolutely no freakin' clue how they'll view what I do with regard to the experience requirement. They may laugh at the fact that I don't spend 2,000 hours a year on clients. By the way, that'd be 50 weeks of 40 hours a week of work. Unless you work at a body shop (not the auto mechanic version), you won't get that. There are solo practitioners who cannot be providing 2,000 hours of service a year yet they get the CFP(R) designation. I think (hope) that there will be some common sense applied come time to make my case before the board.

* How have things worked out so far? That's a blog post all in its own! I think the biggest challenge that anyone who chooses to go the solo route is going to have is name recognition. It's easy enough to go work for a strip mall "investment advisory firm" who has nice offices and charges crazy 5.9% front load fees which pay for the receptionist and the like. I'd rather do anything short of self-immolation than go down that route. Therefore, you have to build a name and a reputation for yourself, which, if, like me, you're a cheap ******* when it comes to spending money on marketing, means that you're going to have to hustle like crazy to get your name out there. Honestly, the biggest surprise to me, from a marketing perspective, is that, so far, the U.S. News gig has driven hardly any traffic. It's great for credibility, particularly since I can't claim to be a CFP(R) yet, but, the first day one of my articles came out, I expected the server to break with the wave of traffic. Instead, I was overwhelmed with the deafening roar of silence. Occasionally, I have an article that seems to strike a chord with Yahoo! trolls...err...commenters, and I get a wave of traffic, but those are rare spikes.

* One piece of advice I'd have for people who are just starting out (besides learn marketing and sales backwards and forwards): Make sure that if you don't have clients coming in your door/web storefront from day 1, that you're doing pro bono work. That counts as experience too, as per the CFP(R) board's guidelines (http://www.cfp.net/become/experience.asp).

Sorry for the long delay and silence! The cliffhanger wasn't intentional! :happy
Last edited by Jason Hull on Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby xayphet » Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:31 pm

Jason Hull wrote:It would help if I followed my own posts, huh? :oops:

* Garrett Network - Yes, I have definitely considered it, but want the cashflow to pay for the membership. For whatever reason, I like constraints and challenges (which is why I always choose to be some lower league side when I play FIFA '12), so part of my goal is to build this without using any of my buyout money. Thus, no GFP yet, but when I have more clients, then it and NAFPA are the two I'd join.

* 3 years of running a firm <> 3 years of providing financial advice. Honestly, I have absolutely no freakin' clue how they'll view what I do with regard to the experience requirement. They may laugh at the fact that I don't spend 2,000 hours a year on clients. By the way, that'd be 50 weeks of 40 hours a week of work. Unless you work at a body shop (not the auto mechanic version), you won't get that. There are solo practitioners who cannot be providing 2,000 hours of service a year yet they get the CFP(R) designation. I think (hope) that there will be some common sense applied come time to make my case before the board.

* How have things worked out so far? That's a blog post all in its own! I think the biggest challenge that anyone who chooses to go the solo route is going to have is name recognition. It's easy enough to go work for an Edward Jones or Ameriprise or whatnot who has nice offices and charges crazy 5.9% front load fees which pay for the receptionist and the like. I'd rather do anything short of self-immolation than go down that route. Therefore, you have to build a name and a reputation for yourself, which, if, like me, you're a cheap ******* when it comes to spending money on marketing, means that you're going to have to hustle like crazy to get your name out there. Honestly, the biggest surprise to me, from a marketing perspective, is that, so far, the U.S. News gig has driven hardly any traffic. It's great for credibility, particularly since I can't claim to be a CFP(R) yet, but, the first day one of my articles came out, I expected the server to break with the wave of traffic. Instead, I was overwhelmed with the deafening roar of silence. Occasionally, I have an article that seems to strike a chord with Yahoo! trolls...err...commenters, and I get a wave of traffic, but those are rare spikes.

* One piece of advice I'd have for people who are just starting out (besides learn marketing and sales backwards and forwards): Make sure that if you don't have clients coming in your door/web storefront from day 1, that you're doing pro bono work. That counts as experience too, as per the CFP(R) board's guidelines (http://www.cfp.net/become/experience.asp).

Sorry for the long delay and silence! The cliffhanger wasn't intentional! :happy




Jason,

I'm thinking about doing the same thing as you. I have started my CFP program and plan to finish in Nov 2014.

To obtain experience I was going to start an LLC to get my name out there. However, this would be part time only since I can't afford to part ways with my salary job now. Do you know anyone else going this route? I figured even if I can't get revenue from customers just yet, I can do pro bono work. Over the years hopefully a mix with revenue and pro bono will count. Just really concerned about this method not qualifying as experience.

what are your thoughts?

Pat
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby tj » Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:34 pm

As far as I know, you don't need any license to give advise for free. The series 65, and any of those designations that exempt you from it, are only required if you give advise for a fee. You are doing it for free, why incur the startup costs?
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Jason Hull » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:30 am

Hey, Pat -

Yes, I know a couple of people who are going the same route. One that comes to mind is Matt Becker of Mom and Dad Money, who passed his CFP exam in 2011 and just made the leap to full-time financial planning.

You don't even need the legal structure of an LLC at first. Just do a DBA, but MAKE SURE you have professional liability insurance. Mine runs me about $2k a year since I am a RIA/IARD all rolled into one like you'd probably be. Forming an LLC <> getting your name out there. Networking + doing positively noteworthy things = getting your name out there.

Good luck on the CFP exam and the program. You'll get to take the computerized version that's a one day, fewer questions test. It reminds me of when I was at West Point as a plebe and the cows and firsties complained about how much harder West Point was before they initiated a bunch of anti-hazing regulations in 1993. Despite the grumbling, the Academy didn't change its basic character. I suspect the CFP exam will be the same thing. Those of us who did the 2 day version will grumble about how much easier it has become, but it'll still be a significantly difficult hurdle that it (barring other shenanigans) will carry credibility.
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Re: Question about becoming a CFP

Postby Clearly_Irrational » Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:51 pm

lm002e wrote:If this is indeed the case then I guess financial planning is not for me. I don't enjoy sales at all and consequently I'm not any good at it. Bummer. I was hoping to do planning/advising and not selling. Thanks again for the input.


Yeah, I had looked into it for a while and came to the same conclusion. I'd be great at giving advice but I'm just not a salesman. I have been wondering if I could approach it from a different angle and sell classes instead.
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