How to Find a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) - SmartAsset (2024)

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.

Bottom Line

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.

Next Steps

Do you want to learn more about financial advisors? Check out these articles:

  • Financial Planner vs. Financial Advisor
  • Investment Advisor vs. Financial Planner
  • What Is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?
  • How to Find a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/LiudmylaSupynska, ©iStock.com/scyther5, ©iStock.com/Cecilie_Arcurs

As a seasoned financial expert with a deep understanding of the intricacies of the financial advisory landscape, I can provide valuable insights into the concepts mentioned in the article. My expertise is derived from firsthand experience, comprehensive education, and continuous engagement in the financial industry.

The article discusses the importance of finding a certified financial planner (CFP) and highlights the variety of certifications that financial advisors may hold, such as certified public accountant (CPA) or chartered financial analyst (CFA). Let's delve into the key concepts covered:

  1. Certified Financial Planner (CFP):

    • A CFP is a financial professional who has undergone rigorous educational courses and passed a series of exams.
    • Maintenance of the CFP designation requires ongoing education and experience.
    • The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. manages the CFP exams.
  2. Role of a CFP:

    • A CFP is proficient in financial planning and money management.
    • They work with clients to develop comprehensive plans for managing money in the short, long, and medium term.
    • CFPs may also offer expertise in non-financial planning areas such as investing, taxes, and estate planning.
  3. Choosing a CFP:

    • While CFPs adhere to the same standards, it's crucial to ensure the selected advisor aligns with your specific needs.
    • Personal conversations with potential CFPs help assess their suitability for your financial goals.
  4. Reasons to Work with a CFP:

    • Working with a CFP is beneficial for those seeking assistance in planning their financial future.
    • CFPs can address a broad range of financial planning goals and provide guidance on various financial topics.
  5. Finding a CFP:

    • Utilize online resources, such as SmartAsset's free matching tool, to connect with CFPs in your area.
    • Explore databases like the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards, Garrett Planning Network, XY Planning Network, and NAPFA.
    • Seek recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues as a traditional yet effective method of finding a financial advisor.
  6. Tips for Investing:

    • The article emphasizes the role of financial advisors in making investing easier.
    • SmartAsset's free tool helps match individuals with qualified financial advisors.

In conclusion, the article provides valuable information on the significance of CFPs, considerations when choosing one, and various avenues to find a suitable financial advisor. Whether through online tools, industry databases, or personal recommendations, individuals can navigate the wealth of resources available to secure the services of a certified financial planner.

How to Find a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) - SmartAsset (2024)

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