Best way to obtain a CFP?

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Best way to obtain a CFP?

Postby LH » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:50 pm

http://www.cfp.net/become/Steps.asp

What is the most straightforward path to becoming a CFP?

I have a degree in chemistry, 18 hours of straight A economics from 20 years ago undergraduate (likely meaningless), and an MD.

The "Complete a CFP Board-Registered Education Program" process they site above seems highly unspecified timewise. I would imagine some sort of online process may be best for me. Whats the shortest time route so I could take the test?

Also, I could become one of the other certifications if thats more straightforward, and then not have to take the "CFP Board-Registered Education Program"

To me, its interesting, that a JD, as I read things, enables one to sit for the CFP exam offhand, no further formal instruction, just take the test? That seems interesting. The standard three year law school, teaches one enough to be a certified financial planner, given that they can pass the CFP test? (to be explicit, not that I think getting a JD is the best path heheheh, its just interesting they can sit off the bat)

Then the three years "full time" of experience..... What practically constitutes "full time"?

I was into econ/law way back when, went a different road, and I am thinking of getting back into it to some extent going forward.

thanks for any help,

LH
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Postby Zook13 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:17 pm

The shortest time you could finish would be 4 to 6-months doing an online certificate program. The courses are helpful and will be pretty detailed stuff.

I have seen 1-2 years in classroom and for people on a slower path and time constraints.

A JD, CFA or CPA can sit for the exam, but they would still need to study for the exam. I see it as a professional curtsy given to high quality professionals that the CFP board would like to have use the mark. The material that is required to become a JD is a portion of what is on the CFP exam, but there is no way that you could pass the CFP exam just by getting your JD. Not saying that the material is tougher.

Experience needs to touch on the pieces of the financial planning process. If you worked 6-months full time assisting a financial planner, that would count for .5 of the 3-year requirement.
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Postby Helen » Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:40 pm

The CFP process is rather arduous and I do not recommend undertaking it unless you really want to do financial planning and/or money management on a professional basis. There are many things you must learn to pass the CFP exam that you would never use in real life. (Do you really want to know how to calculate bond duration yourself?) The fastest route to completing the education requirement is online education. I went the classroom route and took the Ken Zahn Live Review (4 days of cramming). It's a two-day exam that costs $600 to take (another reason not to do it if you don't really need it) and then you have to wait two months to find out if you passed. Thankfully, I did. The CFP board posts on its Web site information about what kind of work qualifies toward the experience requirement. Generally you must be working in the financial services industry. Writing about investments and financial planning doesn't count.
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Re: Best way to obtain a CFP?

Postby grok87 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:31 pm

LH wrote:http://www.cfp.net/become/Steps.asp

What is the most straightforward path to becoming a CFP?

I have a degree in chemistry, 18 hours of straight A economics from 20 years ago undergraduate (likely meaningless), and an MD.

The "Complete a CFP Board-Registered Education Program" process they site above seems highly unspecified timewise. I would imagine some sort of online process may be best for me. Whats the shortest time route so I could take the test?

Also, I could become one of the other certifications if thats more straightforward, and then not have to take the "CFP Board-Registered Education Program"

To me, its interesting, that a JD, as I read things, enables one to sit for the CFP exam offhand, no further formal instruction, just take the test? That seems interesting. The standard three year law school, teaches one enough to be a certified financial planner, given that they can pass the CFP test? (to be explicit, not that I think getting a JD is the best path heheheh, its just interesting they can sit off the bat)

Then the three years "full time" of experience..... What practically constitutes "full time"?

I was into econ/law way back when, went a different road, and I am thinking of getting back into it to some extent going forward.

thanks for any help,

LH


Why not do the CFA instead. With your science background you should have no problem...
cheers,
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Postby Adrian Nenu » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:19 am

If you want to do financial planning, get a degree in financial planning.

If you want to do portfolio management, get a CFA or BA in Finance.

You have already completed the required basic courses for both fields so you only have to do the core courses which are degree specific.

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Postby RabbMD » Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:00 am

I thought I was the only person with a biochem degree, an economics degree and a MD. Guess not. Of course I'd find another here on bogleheads
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id suggest reading this first...

Postby ohiost90 » Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:31 pm

just a thought... :)

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Postby arthurdawg » Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:23 pm

RabbMD wrote:I thought I was the only person with a biochem degree, an economics degree and a MD. Guess not. Of course I'd find another here on bogleheads


frankly, in this day and age, everyone pursuing an MD with an eye to private practice needs a MBA in business to go along with it...
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clarification

Postby Rocket, CFP » Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:23 pm

The "Complete a CFP Board-Registered Education Program" process they site above seems highly unspecified timewise. I would imagine some sort of online process may be best for me. Whats the shortest time route so I could take the test?
CHECK OUT Florida State University on-line CFP program. It is short. You must take around 6 college courses. Every college offers these courses when they feel like, so CFP Board cannot clearly state timewise when a college may offer these courses. You can take some courses concurrently.

Also, I could become one of the other certifications if thats more straightforward, and then not have to take the "CFP Board-Registered Education Program".
THIS WOULD BE a very inefficient way.

To me, its interesting, that a JD, as I read things, enables one to sit for the CFP exam offhand, no further formal instruction, just take the test?
THE TEST IS A lot harder than the college courses. You will NOT pass the exam by only taking the college courses. A JD will not pass the CFP exam without a lot of study expicitly for the CFP exam. Every CFP studies long and hard to prepare for the exam, and I do not mean the college courses. The college courses are a primer.


That seems interesting. The standard three year law school, teaches one enough to be a certified financial planner, given that they can pass the CFP test?
YOU CANNOT PRACTICE as a financial planner just by having a CFP(R). You must get registered with the SEC and pass series 65 exam to practice as a financial planner.

Then the three years "full time" of experience..... What practically constitutes "full time"?
READ THE CFP website to see what 3 years experience is.
One year working half-time counts as 6 months. Experience is independent work, not assistance to someone.
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Re: clarification

Postby tarnation » Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:37 pm

Rocket, CFP wrote:
YOU CANNOT PRACTICE as a financial planner just by having a CFP(R). You must get registered with the SEC and pass series 65 exam to practice as a financial planner.


This is incorrect. Are you a CFP? :shock:
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Postby Zook13 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:10 am

In most states, having the CFP allows you to be exempt from the series 65 exam. Even if your state doesn't have this setup, the series 65 can be done in two weeks flat.
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Best Way to obtain a CFP(R)

Postby Croberts » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:17 am

"One year working half-time counts as 6 months. Experience is independent work, not assistance to someone."


This is false, the experience requirement is provision, support or direct supervision of any step in the financial planning process. CFP Board has a publication "Guide to Certification" that is available and can be downloaded from the website. It is well written and would answer (accurately) most of your questions.
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Postby bnwest » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:16 am

I am a CFP candidate (passed the test and am "working" on the experience requirement) and I highly recommend that you get the experience first and then get the CFP.

Brian
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Re: id suggest reading this first...

Postby LH » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:40 am

ohiost90 wrote:just a thought... :)

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currently about 2/3rds through it, but have not done the exercises heheheh. Good book.
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Postby LH » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:42 am

Adrian Nenu wrote:If you want to do financial planning, get a degree in financial planning.

If you want to do portfolio management, get a CFA or BA in Finance.

You have already completed the required basic courses for both fields so you only have to do the core courses which are degree specific.

Adrian
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So my cem degree and 18 hours of econ 20 years ago would count toward a CFA or BA in finance then? Interesting.

I will have to look at the CFA thing.

I do not understand how one sells financial advice, without a certification beforehand, seems kinda backward?

thanks for the help,

LH
Last edited by LH on Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: clarification

Postby Rocket, CFP » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:43 am

tarnation wrote:
Rocket, CFP wrote:
YOU CANNOT PRACTICE as a financial planner just by having a CFP(R). You must get registered with the SEC and pass series 65 exam to practice as a financial planner.


This is incorrect. Are you a CFP? :shock:


In my state, you must be registered to give investment advice. 99% of financial planners give investment advice. I think there a are a few states (maybe 1-4) that do not reqiure registration.
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Re: Best Way to obtain a CFP(R)

Postby Rocket, CFP » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:46 am

Croberts wrote:"One year working half-time counts as 6 months. Experience is independent work, not assistance to someone."

This is false, the experience requirement is provision, support or direct supervision of any step in the financial planning process. CFP Board has a publication "Guide to Certification" that is available and can be downloaded from the website. It is well written and would answer (accurately) most of your questions.


Crobets, Would you include secretary in a financial planning firm as experience ???
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Postby LH » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:48 am

bnwest wrote:I am a CFP candidate (passed the test and am "working" on the experience requirement) and I highly recommend that you get the experience first and then get the CFP.

Brian


Why?

For me, passing the CFP test, would give me a feel for whats required/standards, versus just starting to hand out financial advice? Plus, without a certification of some sorts, who would want to buy financial advice from you?

thanks for help,

LH
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Postby yobria » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:11 am

LH wrote:Why?

For me, passing the CFP test, would give me a feel for whats required/standards, versus just starting to hand out financial advice? Plus, without a certification of some sorts, who would want to buy financial advice from you?

thanks for help,

LH


Yes and this is a key reason the CFP is a questionable desigation.

The CFP board obviously does not care if you're spending a few years gambling the life savings of others with no planning background or certification. In fact - they require it!

Can you imagine a state medical board making you to practice medicine for four years before obtaining an MD? The difference is that medical boards don't exist for the benefit of doctors, but patients.

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Re: clarification

Postby Zook13 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:13 am

Rocket, CFP wrote:
tarnation wrote:
Rocket, CFP wrote:
YOU CANNOT PRACTICE as a financial planner just by having a CFP(R). You must get registered with the SEC and pass series 65 exam to practice as a financial planner.


This is incorrect. Are you a CFP? :shock:


In my state, you must be registered to give investment advice. 99% of financial planners give investment advice. I think there a are a few states (maybe 1-4) that do not reqiure registration.


Registered, yes. Pass the Series 65 with a CFP, no.
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Postby Zook13 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:18 am

LH wrote:
Adrian Nenu wrote:If you want to do financial planning, get a degree in financial planning.

If you want to do portfolio management, get a CFA or BA in Finance.

You have already completed the required basic courses for both fields so you only have to do the core courses which are degree specific.

Adrian
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I do not understand how one sells financial advice, without a certification beforehand, seems kinda backward?


I agree about the backwardness. Tell your clients you have a BA in Financial Planning from an online school. That exudes confidence to me. :shock:

Like I have said before, I don't quite understand how more people on this forum don't push for ANY financial adviser, worth mentioning, to have at MINIMUM a CFP designation.
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Postby Zook13 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:22 am

yobria wrote:
LH wrote:Why?

For me, passing the CFP test, would give me a feel for whats required/standards, versus just starting to hand out financial advice? Plus, without a certification of some sorts, who would want to buy financial advice from you?

thanks for help,

LH


Yes and this is a key reason the CFP is a questionable desigation.

The CFP board obviously does not care if you're spending a few years gambling the life savings of others with no planning background or certification. In fact - they require it!

Can you imagine a state medical board making you to practice medicine for four years before obtaining an MD? The difference is that medical boards don't exist for the benefit of doctors, but patients.

Nick


Man, the hits don't stop coming. I didn't gamble life savings for my work experience? Name me a CFP that did such a thing. Please.

I earned my experience working in a unique situation with a highly skilled attorney and didn't have to "gamble life savings". Don't tell me you are one of the select few who think a BA in Financial Planning from an online school is better. Again, post a link please to the CFP's that have done this.
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Postby bnwest » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:30 am

LH wrote:For me, passing the CFP test, would give me a feel for whats required/standards, versus just starting to hand out financial advice? Plus, without a certification of some sorts, who would want to buy financial advice from you?

Excellent question.

Most people who get paid to deliver financial advice are not CFP certified.

Most CFP certificants had industry experience and then got the CFP.

The vast majority of financial service jobs are sales. Something to think about if your expectation is to work for someone else.

Knowing what I know now, I would not have pursued a CFP certificate. My expectation was to work for someone else, to start. But I did not want to do sales. A better path would have been to start a one man shop and join the Garrett Planning Network and NAPFA (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors). The first three would be very rough, I suspect.
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Re: Best way to obtain a CFP?

Postby bnwest » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:37 am

grok87 wrote:Why not do the CFA instead. With your science background you should have no problem...

Isn't the training required for the CFA the antithesis of what most Bogleheads believe in?

A person with a CFA could get a very high salaried job working for a mutual fund company doing stock picking. One does not need a CFA to build a "lazy" portfolio.
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Best Way to obtain a CFP(R)

Postby Croberts » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:06 pm

Crobets, Would you include secretary in a financial planning firm as experience ???

First, CFP Board evaluates the experience for each individual, so my opinion is really not important.

But, if a secretary is client facing and engaged in information gathering, some of that would definitely count. The way the resume works is that you fill out what you have done, the percentage of time you spent on it and then a formula is applied to grant experience.
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Re: clarification

Postby tarnation » Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:35 pm

Rocket, CFP wrote:
tarnation wrote:
Rocket, CFP wrote:
YOU CANNOT PRACTICE as a financial planner just by having a CFP(R). You must get registered with the SEC and pass series 65 exam to practice as a financial planner.


This is incorrect. Are you a CFP? :shock:


In my state, you must be registered to give investment advice. 99% of financial planners give investment advice. I think there a are a few states (maybe 1-4) that do not reqiure registration.

My state requires registration with State securities commission, and a series 65 OR for certain certifications (e.g. CFP) they give waivers to the series 65 requirement.

edit: Unless of course you work for one the big broker/dealer orgs. Then it seems you can just do as you please with a series 7.
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Postby conundrum » Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:00 pm

LH

Lots of good suggestions so far. Just out of curiosity, why are you interested in obtaining a CFP certification? As I recall, you are a physician and I know these are frustrating and unsure times in medicine, but it seems it might make sense to utilize some of the training and experience that you have already accumulated. Many physicians I know have gone back to school for their JDs, their MBAs etc. After a few months of not being around most of them reappear in the doctors lounge. Most commonly the new job was not what they expected. Many jobs expect alot of "selling", building a business and skills which many physicians do not have. After trying these new jobs most of the docs I know have realized that there are no perfect jobs and all jobs have issues and problems. Many of them appreciate their medical practices more and are happy to be back. In their shared experiences I have learned there is no easy great job out there. Spend some time considering how you can tweak your practice before taking a leap. Things aren't always better on the other side.

Good luck

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Re: clarification

Postby Rocket, CFP » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:08 pm

Zook13 wrote:
Rocket, CFP wrote:
tarnation wrote:
Rocket, CFP wrote:
YOU CANNOT PRACTICE as a financial planner just by having a CFP(R). You must get registered with the SEC and pass series 65 exam to practice as a financial planner.


This is incorrect. Are you a CFP? :shock:


In my state, you must be registered to give investment advice. 99% of financial planners give investment advice. I think there a are a few states (maybe 1-4) that do not reqiure registration.


Registered, yes. Pass the Series 65 with a CFP, no.


Splan this logic of yours.
You must have series 65 to practice as a FP.
You must have 3 years experience to get CFP(R).
How do you get 3 years of experience at FP without a Series 65, prior to getting CFP(R) ???
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Re: clarification

Postby Zook13 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:53 pm

Rocket, CFP wrote:
Zook13 wrote:
Rocket, CFP wrote:
tarnation wrote:
Rocket, CFP wrote:
YOU CANNOT PRACTICE as a financial planner just by having a CFP(R). You must get registered with the SEC and pass series 65 exam to practice as a financial planner.


This is incorrect. Are you a CFP? :shock:


In my state, you must be registered to give investment advice. 99% of financial planners give investment advice. I think there a are a few states (maybe 1-4) that do not reqiure registration.


Registered, yes. Pass the Series 65 with a CFP, no.


Splan this logic of yours.
You must have series 65 to practice as a FP.
You must have 3 years experience to get CFP(R).
How do you get 3 years of experience at FP without a Series 65, prior to getting CFP(R) ???


From the CFP Board's website...

"CFP Board's work experience requirement is defined as "the supervision, direct support, teaching or personal delivery of all or part of the personal financial planning process to a client."

What can I say, just read the requirements.

Personally, I had a unique work experience that touched on numerous spots of the financial planning process. It touched on direct support that didn't require a securities license.

So, in short, you could work as an assistant in direct support, as a teacher or even intern at the CFP Board and gain your work experience.
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Re: Best way to obtain a CFP?

Postby grok87 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:44 pm

bnwest wrote:
grok87 wrote:Why not do the CFA instead. With your science background you should have no problem...

Isn't the training required for the CFA the antithesis of what most Bogleheads believe in?

Well there probably is a bit of a skew on the CFA syllabus toward active management. But there is a lot of good stuff as well about indexing, and the efficient market hypothesis, and also some good behavioral finance stuff.
There is also a good chunk of financial planning stuff, although I'm sure not as much as on the CFP syllabus.

I think both syllabuses are available online. I would think the thing to do would be to look over both syllabuses in advance and see which topics you are more interested in.
cheers,
grok, CFA | Danon delenda est
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Re: Best way to obtain a CFP?

Postby grok87 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:04 pm

grok87 wrote:
bnwest wrote:
grok87 wrote:Why not do the CFA instead. With your science background you should have no problem...

Isn't the training required for the CFA the antithesis of what most Bogleheads believe in?

Well there probably is a bit of a skew on the CFA syllabus toward active management. But there is a lot of good stuff as well about indexing, and the efficient market hypothesis, and also some good behavioral finance stuff.
There is also a good chunk of financial planning stuff, although I'm sure not as much as on the CFP syllabus.

I think both syllabuses are available online. I would think the thing to do would be to look over both syllabuses in advance and see which topics you are more interested in.
cheers,


Also here's a link to an article Jack Bogle wrote for the CFA's Financial Analyst Journal:
viewtopic.php?t=16026&highlight=black+monday+black+swans
cheers,
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Postby yobria » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:22 pm

Zook13 wrote:Man, the hits don't stop coming. I didn't gamble life savings for my work experience? Name me a CFP that did such a thing. Please.

I earned my experience working in a unique situation with a highly skilled attorney and didn't have to "gamble life savings". Don't tell me you are one of the select few who think a BA in Financial Planning from an online school is better. Again, post a link please to the CFP's that have done this.


As you admit, your pre-CFP situation was "unique". The typical situation would be working at a brokerage or selling life insurance, managing the money of others without a CFP.

I have no opinion about online financial planning courses. I do have one about the many designations assigned to those who sell financial products.

Nick
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Re: Best way to obtain a CFP?

Postby stratton » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:13 am

bnwest wrote:
grok87 wrote:Why not do the CFA instead. With your science background you should have no problem...

Isn't the training required for the CFA the antithesis of what most Bogleheads believe in?

A person with a CFA could get a very high salaried job working for a mutual fund company doing stock picking. One does not need a CFA to build a "lazy" portfolio.

CFP is very wide and covers a little about a lot of subjects. A CFA is much deeper and covers a comparatively narrow area than a CFP.

See one of the threads we've had about being a CFA.

viewtopic.php?t=29065&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=

viewtopic.php?t=37135&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=

viewtopic.php?t=21297&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=

viewtopic.php?t=39273&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=

I'm not a CFA or any other kind of financial professional.

Paul
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Postby Zook13 » Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:26 am

yobria wrote:
Zook13 wrote:Man, the hits don't stop coming. I didn't gamble life savings for my work experience? Name me a CFP that did such a thing. Please.

I earned my experience working in a unique situation with a highly skilled attorney and didn't have to "gamble life savings". Don't tell me you are one of the select few who think a BA in Financial Planning from an online school is better. Again, post a link please to the CFP's that have done this.


As you admit, your pre-CFP situation was "unique". The typical situation would be working at a brokerage or selling life insurance, managing the money of others without a CFP.

I have no opinion about online financial planning courses. I do have one about the many designations assigned to those who sell financial products.

Nick


And there are 100's of other unique scenarios that CFP's can do for experience other than "destroy financial futures" or sell life insurance.
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Postby LH » Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:38 pm

bnwest wrote:
LH wrote:For me, passing the CFP test, would give me a feel for whats required/standards, versus just starting to hand out financial advice? Plus, without a certification of some sorts, who would want to buy financial advice from you?

Excellent question.

Most people who get paid to deliver financial advice are not CFP certified.

Most CFP certificants had industry experience and then got the CFP.

The vast majority of financial service jobs are sales. Something to think about if your expectation is to work for someone else.

Knowing what I know now, I would not have pursued a CFP certificate. My expectation was to work for someone else, to start. But I did not want to do sales. A better path would have been to start a one man shop and join the Garrett Planning Network and NAPFA (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors). The first three would be very rough, I suspect.


this would be roughly my path.

I am not planning on quiting my job, I am planning on developing an alternative that perhaps I would enjoy more, and may transition into full time later. I would start out on my own, one man deal if possible, or maybe, at first, work as an independant agent/broker or whatever for someone, not needing to push the sales though, since I would not have to feed my kids off it, still having my other job and such, instead, being more a financial advisor, and then transitioning into experience/ certfication needed to become a fee for service/AUM advisor.....

I do not know what that napfa is though. I would in theory like to go with the highest recommended one I would get, I do not want to become an accountant though heheheh. I do not know where napfa falls in with the rest and such.

I kinda like reading and studying, especially finance and such.

Thanks for help,

LH
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Postby LH » Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:05 pm

conundrum wrote:LH

Lots of good suggestions so far. Just out of curiosity, why are you interested in obtaining a CFP certification? As I recall, you are a physician and I know these are frustrating and unsure times in medicine, but it seems it might make sense to utilize some of the training and experience that you have already accumulated. Many physicians I know have gone back to school for their JDs, their MBAs etc. After a few months of not being around most of them reappear in the doctors lounge. Most commonly the new job was not what they expected. Many jobs expect alot of "selling", building a business and skills which many physicians do not have. After trying these new jobs most of the docs I know have realized that there are no perfect jobs and all jobs have issues and problems. Many of them appreciate their medical practices more and are happy to be back. In their shared experiences I have learned there is no easy great job out there. Spend some time considering how you can tweak your practice before taking a leap. Things aren't always better on the other side.

Good luck

Drum


Very true, that kind of thing cannot be said enough. The grass is always greener, and sometimes its puke green.....

My plan would be to just do it part time, continue on with my job as a doctor, and see what happens. I was not destined to be a Doctor, it was just one of many paths. So trying a new path, can make the old one seem better, and BE better in fact, it can make it more enjoyable in reality. You have tried alternative, and its not better for you, thats good, stay the current path.

Life is about options (hopefully), if you do not like something, look around, think, and take thoughtful action. This is not a leap off a cliff, though reading biographies, sometimes leaps off cliffs/pushed off cliff jobwise, circumstancewise are the best.

Heck, look at US, historically, people have left thier entire worlds/families/countries behind to come here for better chance. Change is part of life. Diversification in career can be a smart move. ER doctor burnout is historically high, and although it was not a specialty(ie it got burnouts from other field, who were thought high chance to burnout) originally, I still think it may be a higher burnout field, but who knows.

Yeah, JD and such, I dunno, not interested. Likewise MBA, not really interested per se. It is what it is. Finance = Interested. So looking into it some.

Have a nice day,

LH
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