What is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?

February 21st, 2011 by

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Dan Woodruff

Dan Woodruff

Certified Financial Planner & Chartered Wealth Manager at Woodruff Financial Planning
Financial Planning helps you to navigate and anticipate significant life changes. I want to help you to ensure your money is managed wisely to give you the financial security that will fund the future and lifestyle that is important to you.
Dan Woodruff

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This article examines what is a Certified Financial Planner. A Certified Financial Planner is a professional financial planner who has attained one of the highest levels of qualification in the financial services industry.  This is a technical qualification which focuses on the skills needed to prepare a comprehensive financial plan, and assesses these skills against a case study.

A Certified Financial Planner will look at all aspects of your finances, and prepare a plan for you to help you realise your lifestyle ambitions and your goals.  This is not about selling you financial products, but instead focuses on your life and goals, and how to implement a strategy to achieve them.

The skills used are appropriate to anyone and any financial situation.  Certified Financial Planners follow a code of ethics set by their national professional body designed to ensure that they maintain the highest professional standards.

These standards ensure that you should always see the following 6 steps of financial planning:

  1. Defining the client/financial planner relationship
    Your adviser will clearly define what services will be delivered, and what their responsibilities will be, as well as your own;
  2. Establish your goals
    This is probably the most important aspect of the process for your future since the certified financial planner will aim to help you achieve your goals.  This can only be done after you have established your goals;
  3. Clarify your current financial status
    Your planner will define where you are now financially, and identify any problem areas in your current situation;
  4. Develop a financial plan
    Your planner will work with you to create a plan so that you can clearly see which steps are needed to achieve or maintain your goals;
  5. Implement your financial plan
    Once you know what needs to be done, your financial planner will help you to put in motion action to plug gaps in your financial situation, and then work towards achieving your longer term goals;
  6. Review
    Your personal life will not remain static, so you will need to repeat the financial planning process at regular intervals, to take account of changes in your plans and situation.

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