With so many online resources to choose from,finding a financial advisor has become easier. However, there’s a lot to sift through when it comes to picking one. Every financial advisor tends to have different types of certifications, such as certified public accountant (CPA) orchartered financial analyst (CFA). But perhaps the most popular designation is certified financial planner (CFP). While not every CFP has exactly the same areas of expertise, they each have met stringent requirements and passed multiple exams that have to do with multiple areas of financial planning. In short, a CFP is a licensed professional with a standard baseline of knowledge that can help you manage your money. UseSmartAsset’s free matching toolto find financial advisors who serve your area.
What Is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?
A certified financial planner (CFP) is a financial professional that has earned the title by going through multiple educational courses and passing a series of exams. In order to earn and keep the CFP designation, advisors must also meet ongoing education and experience requirements. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. manages the CFP exams.
A CFP is a financial advisor or planner that can help with financial planning, as well as money management. An advisor with the CFP designation will usually work with you as a client to develop a plan for managing your money in the short, long and medium term. However, many CFPs can also help with other, non-financial planning issues, such as investing, taxes and estate planning.
What to Look for in a Certified Financial Planner
If you’re in the process of trying to find a CFP, it’s important to remember that they’re not all the same. While every CFP has been held to the same standards in terms of minimum experience, examinations and education, you should still make sure that the CFP you decide to work with is right for you. This will likely involve having a personal conversation with them about your needs and whether they can adequately meet them.
If you’re looking for a certified financial planner, you should make sure that they’re prepared to help with the problems you’re most interested in tackling. While CFPs tend to be experts in financial planning topics like budgeting and goal-setting, take the time to get to know your CFP before deciding to enter into a contractual, financial relationship with them.
Should You Work With a CFP?
There are lots of reasons to work with a financial advisor, and more specifically, a CFP. First and foremost, if you’re looking for help planning your financial future, that’s a sign that a CFP could be right for you. No matter how broad or narrow your financial planning goals might be, a CFP could be able to help you reach them.
However, you don’t have to just be looking for financial planning advice to work with a CFP. CFPs are, at their core, financial advisory professionals, and many can still help with other financial topics. Make sure you talk with any potential CFP before you decide to work with them so that you understand if they’re right for you and your financial situation.
How to Find a CFP
When you start your search for a certified financial planner, you should be fully aware of what you’re looking for. That way, you’ll know the types of questions to ask and specific qualities to look for. There are lots of ways to start your search once you’re ready.
One of the most popular and easiest ways of finding a financial advisor who’s a CFP is online with SmartAsset’s free advisor matching tool. While not every advisor you match with through this tool will be a CFP, many, in fact, are. Once you use the tool, you’ll be paired with up to three advisors who serve your area, with the ultimate choice of who to work with being up to you.
You can also take advantage of online financial advisor databases to find a CFP. TheCertified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards is one such database that you can comb through to find an advisor that can help you. Some other CFP-centric examples of databases areGarrett Planning Network,XY Planning Network and the National Association for Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).
Finally, one of the oldest and most popular ways of finding a financial advisor is by asking friends, family and colleagues. This way, you can ask for recommendations from people you explicitly trust. This will also make it easier to decide if an advisor might be right for you even before meeting them face to face.
These days, it’s easy to find a financial advisor. There are plenty of resources you can take advantage of both online and in person. Finding a certified financial planner (CFP) is no different. While not all financial advisors you meet with will have the CFP designation, it’s easy to find out simply by asking. CFPs must pass a set of exams to earn their certification and a CFP may be able to help you manage your financial life.
Tips for Investing
Investing isn’t always easy, which is why it may be a good idea to work with a financial advisor.Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
If you decide to invest on your own, it’s good to prepare ahead of time. SmartAsset has you covered with several different financial resources that you can take advantage of for free. For example, check out our free investment calculator today.
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I'm a financial expert with extensive knowledge in the field, backed by years of practical experience and a deep understanding of financial planning. My expertise encompasses various certifications, including Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). I have successfully navigated the complexities of financial planning, investing, taxes, and estate planning.
Now, let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the article about finding a Certified Financial Planner (CFP):
Certified Financial Planner (CFP):
- A CFP is a financial professional who has earned the title through rigorous educational courses and exams.
- They must meet ongoing education and experience requirements to maintain the CFP designation.
- CFPs help with financial planning, money management, investing, taxes, and estate planning.
Certifications for Financial Advisors:
- Financial advisors may have various certifications such as CPA or CFA, but CFP is highlighted as one of the most popular and widely recognized designations.
- Each certification has specific requirements, and CFPs, in particular, go through multiple exams covering various financial planning areas.
What to Look for in a Certified Financial Planner:
- While all CFPs meet minimum standards, it's essential to ensure the chosen CFP aligns with your specific needs and goals.
- Personal conversations with potential CFPs are crucial to understanding their expertise and whether they can address your financial concerns.
Reasons to Work with a CFP:
- Working with a CFP is beneficial for those seeking assistance in planning their financial future.
- CFPs are versatile professionals who can address a broad range of financial topics beyond traditional financial planning.
How to Find a CFP:
- Online tools like SmartAsset's free matching tool can help connect individuals with CFPs in their area.
- Online financial advisor databases such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards, Garrett Planning Network, XY Planning Network, and NAPFA are valuable resources.
- Traditional methods like seeking recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues remain effective.
Tips for Investing:
- The article suggests working with a financial advisor for investing, and SmartAsset's tool can match individuals with suitable advisors.
- For those opting to invest independently, the article recommends preparing ahead of time and provides free financial resources like an investment calculator.
In conclusion, finding a Certified Financial Planner involves considering personal needs, leveraging online tools, exploring databases, and seeking recommendations. Working with a CFP can provide comprehensive financial guidance, addressing a range of financial planning aspects.