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CFP Process
Old 11-01-2007, 08:11 AM   #1
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CFP Process

I'm interested in becoming a CFP, but I have a few questions. I'm hoping some CFPs out there can guide me. I'm growing weary of the corporate world and am ready for a change in the next 2-3 years. However, the process of becoming a CFP seems almost onerous.

1) Do I have to take the educational program? I'm a mid-career individual who thinks I can pass the exams with just taking a review course...but the way I read the website it says I must take a "board certified" educational program.

2) If the answer to #1 is "too bad, you must take a program", any guidance on where I can obtain a low-cost, effective self-study or online course?

3) I'm considering a transcript review, has anyone on here done this? I have an MBA in Finance, although most of it was related to corporate finance. I wonder the likelyhood of getting granted credit based on my past education.



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Old 11-01-2007, 02:52 PM   #2
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1.) you can challenge the program (meaning just take the exams) if you hold a CPA, CFA, and JD I believe.

2.) Google is your friend. Many colleges have them

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Old 11-01-2007, 03:06 PM   #3
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I've thought of going the same route, but talked myself out of it.

Financial Planners shoulder a huge responsibility - you're responsible for someone's financial future. Also, I figured I'd also have to be a coach, counselor, cheerleader, consoler etc.

But what finally made up my mind is that it isn't a short-term career. I felt that I'd need to be in it for the long haul. Something I wasn't ready to commit to.

I'm thinking tax-preparation as a semi-ER profession. I have a friend who does that 4 months of the year. He didn't have a finance background, but picked it up fast enough. He says that there is a lot of emotion in the job - ups & downs. After all - who doesn't get emotional about money -especially when someone wants to take it away!

All the best in your search. I hope you share your findings and thoughts with the rest of us.
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tax prep
Old 11-01-2007, 03:40 PM   #4
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tax prep


I have also thought as tax prep as a way to keep busy in the cold months and earn a few extra bucks post ER. I have always prepared our returns and keep up with all the regs. But then I read (I think here), that some of the chains pressure the preparers to generate extra fees off the clients (my guess is those high interest refund loans and the like or selling financial "plans"). I would have trouble with that. I am sure many of the clients come in with very poor financial situations (i.e. decent income but little savings--dividends/interest). I would have a hard time fleecing them.

If you have heard anything else I would be interested in hearing it. The above might be less likely working for a smaller practioner than a chain.
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Old 11-01-2007, 06:36 PM   #5
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Thanks to all. You are correct about being exempted from the educational portion if you have certain degrees, but I don't have them. I'm not interested in tax preparation, I like retirement and estate planning.

Another option for me would be to be a paraplanner, although the pay is SIGNIFICANTLY lower. However, I can work as few hours as I want, and have a low stress job for which I'm easily qualified. It will take me some time to sort all this's a big step to take.

Thanks again, Dave
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Old 11-01-2007, 08:58 PM   #6
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I signed up for the Kaplan online CFP course, took the first course a survey of financial planning and bailed. Unfortunately I'm out the tuition, although the cost was mostly tax deductible and I got to cash in my savings bonds tax free to pay for it.

I wouldn't delude myself into thinking that I could pass the exam, without taking the course work. The pass rate is only 57% lower than the bar but higher than a CPA test.
On this board Sarah from SC recently took the test and didn't pass. One of my favorite bosses, also failed on her first attempt. She needed intensive week long review course, before pasisng and a third acquaintance a Smith Barney broker also failed on his first attempt.

I find it both hard and boring, and have both a EE degree and MBA, neither of which is typically called either easy or exciting. I think learning about the actual financial planning might be interesting, but learning about all of the rules and regulations was painful.

I have greater respect for those people who have a CFP after their names. Unfortunately, in my limited experience the typical person looking for a financial advisor is simply confused about all the alphabet soup certification and so the financial value of a CFP is somewhat limited.
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Old 11-02-2007, 07:18 AM   #7
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Dave, PM me for all the boring details, but I used the College for Financial Planning in Denver for my educational component. Be warned the test is a monster. 51% pass rate on the July exam, me regrettably not included. I work for a wealth mgmt company now, you have to have a 3 yr apprenticeship under most circs. Very rigorous program, without a doubt, but it has been very satisfying to learn all this stuff!
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
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Old 11-05-2007, 05:18 PM   #8
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I am enrolled in the CFP program at UC, Berkeley extension. I have 1 course remaining, the practicum, and plan to complete the program next spring. An exam prep class appears to be a requirement for passing the exam and then there is the 3 years experience requirement. I am close to ER from a good paying job in high tech. I will then be ready to focus on exam prep and significant dip in salary. I am willing to work as paraplanner or back office person to get the experience requirement satisfied. My goal is a new challenge and part-time work to earn money to supplement retirement next egg. Benefits, specifically employer health insurance would be icing on the cake.

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