Our mission is to educate and inspire clients where a predictable lifetime of financial security is possible. We take tremendous pride in our independent and unbiased advisement, backed by world class people and resources.
What is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®)?
The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ is a professional certification mark for Financial Planning Professionals. It is conferred by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards in The United States, and by 25 other organizations affiliated with the FPSB (Financial Planning Standards Board. CFP® Professionals are required to have a bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited college or university. As a first step to the present CFP® certification criteria, “students” must master a curriculum of approximately 100 topics on financial planning. Examples of some of the topics are: General principles of finance, insurance planning, employee benefits, State and federal income tax planning, estate tax, gift tax, transfer tax, asset protection planning, retirement planning, estate planning, financial planning, financial consulting. The original CFP® exam was a 2-day, 10 hour of total testing time exam. It is estimated that at the time of the original CFP® exam that there was an approximate pass rate of less than 30% according the proctors administering the exam. The CFP® Professionals follow a standard process of helping clients by following a process referred to as “EGADIM”.
Establishing and Defining the Client Relationship
Gathering Client Data and Goals
Analyzing and Evaluating the Client's Financial Status
Developing and Presenting Financial Planning Recommendations and Alternatives
Implementing the Financial Planning Recommendations
Monitoring the Financial Planning Recommendations
What does the CLTC (Certified in Long Term Care Insurance) designation mean?
The CLTC designation focuses on educating financial and insurance professionals about the importance of a long-term care plan for their clients and their loved ones. The in-depth coursework required to earn the designation is perfect both for new and seasoned industry professionals. Regardless of their level of prior experience, everyone can learn valuable information from this course that will help further their professional knowledge and sales practices. The CLTC is specific to long-term care insurance and planning techniques. It is much more in-depth and concentrated on in this course work versus standard state licensing. Thus, if you want someone that is knowledgeable about long-term care planning, (not just the insurance product) working with a CLTC might be beneficial.
What is an AIF® (Accredited Investment Fiduciary)?
Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) training empowers investment professionals with the fiduciary knowledge and tools they need to serve their clients’ best interests while successfully growing their business. Advisors who earn the AIF® designation are immediately able to demonstrate the added value they bring to prospective and existing clients. Although recent DOL (Department of Labor) rules are raising the bar for all agents/advisors/professionals across the board, (which we feel is a great) the broader and historical industry standard still remains low in our opinion. Our firm believes that all clients should work with a fiduciary. In simple terms, fiduciaries are looking out for your interests, not their own. The AIF® designation program provides specific training on this topic. Is your current professional a “fiduciary”? If so, it is likely they will have AIF® designation behind their name. While it is possible to be a fiduciary without having the AIF® designation, holding this designation requires the designee to operate in a fiduciary capacity 100% of the time. It is also important to know if your advisor is only sometimes a fiduciary. Is it possible to wear this hat and take it off??! By obtaining the AIF® designation, the designee signs a code of ehtics attestation that he/she will always do what is in the best interests of clients. Thus, we feel that when looking for a financial planning professional, an AIF® is an important designation.
What is a CLU® (Chartered Life Underwriter®)?
Chartered Life Underwriter® - The Oldest Designation
The CLU® is widely considered to be the most respected insurance designation in the industry. This designation was created in 1927. The CLU®; has traditionally been pursued by advisors/planners who specialize in life insurance for business or estate-planning purposes. In short, professionals with this designation are often viewed as “experts” in the area of life insurance. They can review your current program life insurance program and determine if it is a proper fit for you and what you are looking to accomplish. If the product you own is not suitable for your goals and objectives, the professional can offer recommendations and advice on this topic. If you have purchased life insurance from someone not having this designation, it is not a bad idea to have it reviewed by a CLU.
The current course curriculum for the CLU® includes five required courses plus three elective courses.
The required courses include the following:
Fundamentals of Insurance Planning
Life Insurance Law
Individual Life Insurance
Fundamentals of Estate Planning
Planning for Business Owners and Professionals
The three elective courses can be chosen from such subjects as the following:
Financial Planning: Process and Environment
Individual Health Insurance
Planning for Retirement Needs
Estate Planning Applications
What is a ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant)?
ChFC stands for Chartered Financial Consultant, a designation that has been in existence since 1982. The ChFC is lesser known than the CFP®, but still stands as a distinguished certification in financial planning. The education portion for a ChFC is robust, comprising of nine college-level courses. Courses focus on insurance planning, insurance planning for business owners, estate planning, income tax planning, retirement planning techniques, investments (risk analysis, tax issues with investing), personal financial planning, etc. There are also courses that focus on planning with different types clients, such as divorcees or special needs families. The American College is more insurance focused than the CFP®. There are 9 courses that must be successfully completed versus the CFP® having generally 7, the 9 courses are easier than the CFP® by a significant margin. Like the CFP®, you must continue to earn CE credits to maintain your designation. This involves taking courses and participating in programs to keep current on financial planning practices. Meeting all of these requirements leads to a ChFC designation. These high standards ensure that you give knowledgeable and helpful advice that suits your clients’ needs.
What is the APMA® (Accredited Portfolio Management Advisor℠) designation?
The Accredited Portfolio Management Advisor℠ APMA® designation is an advanced professional designation geared towards investment professionals looking to enhance their knowledge in the finer points of portfolio creation, augmentation and maintenance. APMA® designees have completed a course of study encompassing client assessment and suitability, risk/return, investment objectives, bond and equity portfolios, modern portfolio theory and investor psychology. The course covers hands-on learning in analyzing investment policy statements, building portfolios, and making asset allocation decisions including sell, hold, and buy decisions within a client’s portfolio. Having a professional with this designation ensures that you have someone that is capable and competent in portfolio management, but also understands the unique intricacies of clients’ tax situations, time horizons, liquidity needs, and risk appetites.
What does the FPQP™ (Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™) designation signify?
The Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™ FPQP™ designation, formerly the Registered Paraplanner RP®, is a professional designation specifically designed for the financial planning industry. Its coursework combines multiple financial planning topics and the applicability of those in every day client situations. Individuals who hold the FPQP™ designation have completed studies encompassing the financial planning process, the five disciplines of financial planning and comprehensive financial planning concepts, terminology and product categories. To complete this designation, candidates must pass a rigorous end-of-course examination that tests their ability to synthesize complex concepts and apply theoretical concepts to real-life situations. For clients seeking all-encompassing financial planning guidance, having access to someone will the FPQP® skillset is highly advantageous.