CFP Exam

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downtown's picture
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Joined: 2006-01-13

Does anyone on the board have the CFP designation? I am registered to take it in March and would like input from those of you who have taken the exam.

mrad's picture
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Joined: 2005-01-07

I am a CFP.  Probably the hardest test I have ever taken.  Did not think that I passed it when I left the room after the second day.  The key to the exam was going to the College for Financial Planning's 1 week course a month before the test.  The course cost $1k, and hotel was another $500 plus plane ticket and on and on, but the value of passing the first try was what made it worth it.  Good luck that 57% pass rate is a killer.

downtown's picture
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Thanks Mrad, I am scheduled to take the Zahn review. I have been in the business for seven years. Does experience help at all?
 
 
 

troll's picture
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mrad wrote:I am a CFP.  Probably the hardest test I have ever taken.  Did not think that I passed it when I left the room after the second day.  The key to the exam was going to the College for Financial Planning's 1 week course a month before the test.  The course cost $1k, and hotel was another $500 plus plane ticket and on and on, but the value of passing the first try was what made it worth it.  Good luck that 57% pass rate is a killer.
I did the same. I took the prereqs via the American College self-study program and a prep course to freshen things up two weeks in advance. I felt good when I left the exam, but I didn't sleep really well until the results were posted.

rightway's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-02

I studied about 2 hours each weeknight and 6 hours on Sat and 5 hours
on Sun for about 3 months leading up to the test and passed just
fine.  I also took the full Ken Zahn program, all module classes
and the live review. I finished the entire program, classes and all in
9 months.  Not much of a life but it is very do-able.

One bit of advice: study far more than you think you need to, its a ton of information.

Dirk Diggler's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-30

The CPA exam is the hardest exam I've ever taken. It's harder than the bar exam and is way harder than the little cfp quiz.

rightway's picture
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We had a CPA in our CFP program, and he said the CPA was probably more
difficult, but not by a large margin.  He had taken the CPA 3
years ago.  I think it depends on the person and the type of
things they are good at retaining.

bankrep1's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-02

little quiz, dirk your obviously not a CFP.  The CPA is very difficult, the CFP is no joke.  I know several people who have passed the bar cpa cfp and cfa.  They say they are all different but all respectfully difficult.
By the way Dirk your an asf.  If I met you in real life I would probably punch you just for fun.

Dirk Diggler's picture
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bankrep1 wrote:
little quiz, dirk your obviously not a CFP.  The CPA is very difficult, the CFP is no joke.  I know several people who have passed the bar cpa cfp and cfa.  They say they are all different but all respectfully difficult.
By the way Dirk your an asf.  If I met you in real life I would probably punch you just for fun.

Nope. I'm overqualified to become a cfp. There are barriers to becoming a CPA and any idiot can be a cfp.
If I were you, I'd punch me for the things that I've been doing to your mom, just for fun.

Jonzed's picture
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Dirk Diggler = Al E Gator ?    
 

bankrep1's picture
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Dirk,
Please.  Anyone who says there overqualified for a designation that has earned the respect to have education programs implemented at universities around the country is just hiding in self doubt.
Maybe you know about taxes, but I doubt you fully understand insurance, estate planning, retirement plans, employee benefits and countless other items the CFP trains you for.  The CPA is about accounting and auditing, if you want instant credibility as a planner the CFP is a neccesity, I do believe it is a minimum requirement and not the holy grail.
If your goal is just to place people into VA's I highly doubt the CFP would benefit you in any way. 

JonesIR's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-31

How many years do you have to be licensed/esperiended before you can take the CFP exam?

bankrep1's picture
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You cannot call yourself a CFP even if you've passed the exam unless you have a 3 years experience.  You could technically take the exam with no experience. A bachelors degree is required starting next year.

Dirk Diggler's picture
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bankrep1 wrote:
Dirk,
Please.  Anyone who says there overqualified for a designation that has earned the respect to have education programs implemented at universities around the country is just hiding in self doubt.
I've heard of some universities that have accounting programs.
Maybe you know about taxes, but I doubt you fully understand insurance, estate planning, retirement plans, employee benefits and countless other items the CFP trains you for. 
You're right, bank employee. These areas have nothing to do with tax compliance.
The CPA is about accounting and auditing, if you want instant credibility as a planner the CFP is a neccesity, I do believe it is a minimum requirement and not the holy grail.
I know this might sound crazy, but is there a chance that the CPA (which people are familiar with) could trump the cfp (which most people don't know about)?
If your goal is just to place people into VA's I highly doubt the CFP would benefit you in any way. 
I'm really good at what I do. People like that much better than my credentials. I'm not a whore who will take anyone and will do anything for them. Been there, done that. If people want what I do, I'm their best bet. You attract more business when you specialize than when you generalize. You wouldn't understand, bank EE.

Dirk Diggler's picture
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bankrep1 wrote:You cannot call yourself a CFP even if you've passed the exam unless you have a 3 years experience.  You could technically take the exam with no experience. A bachelors degree is required starting next year.
Wow! Is a bachelor's degree more prestigious than the GED, which is currently required?

rightway's picture
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Well, despite whether one thinks it is worth it or not, the test is 10
hours and only about 60% of the people pass.  I have found that
the only people that criticize credential (including me before I
completede it) are those that never went through the pain of completing
it.  It does not take Nobel Prize winning smarts to complete it,
but it is not a quiz either.  If you do not have it and are doing
fine, then why throw punches at it? 

The post was by someone who chooses to complete it, so it would seem
that the respondants should be from those that have valuable input. It
is alot of material so you really cannot under study.

Dirk Diggler's picture
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rightway wrote:Well, despite whether one thinks it is worth it or not, the test is 10 hours and only about 60% of the people pass.  I have found that the only people that criticize credential (including me before I completede it) are those that never went through the pain of completing it.  It does not take Nobel Prize winning smarts to complete it, but it is not a quiz either.  If you do not have it and are doing fine, then why throw punches at it?  The post was by someone who chooses to complete it, so it would seem that the respondants should be from those that have valuable input. It is alot of material so you really cannot under study.
Buddy, I'm here to have fun on the internet. It's working.

JonesIR's picture
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I have a certain level of respect to anyone who takes time out of the schedule to study, take, and pass that thing. Whether it has an impact on your business or not or how skilled you are with your clients is unclear. Cudos for getting the darn thing.

bankrep1's picture
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Dirk,
If accounting is so great why are you not an accountant?  I will tell you I was originally an accounting major when I was in school and quickly learned being a bean counter was not for me.  I still have nightmares about cost accounting, who in the world finds that interesting?
I am not knocking the CPA.  It is a huge accomplishment.  What I am knocking is your arrogance in writing off the CFP as a little quiz.  Sure the public may know the CPA better than the CFP today, but that is no different than being a lawyer who does financial planning.  The CPA is an accounting credential not a financial planning credential.  If you are so big on taxes you would know VA's and EIA's are probably not the best investment choices and I have found my knowledge of estate planning is what opens up doors to high net worth customers.
 
 

Dirk Diggler's picture
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bankrep1 wrote:
Dirk,
If accounting is so great why are you not an accountant?  I will tell you I was originally an accounting major when I was in school and quickly learned being a bean counter was not for me.  I still have nightmares about cost accounting, who in the world finds that interesting?
I hated being an accountant. Accountants don't make as much money as most people think and the actual work is extremely boring to me. When I was working on my Master's in Accounting, I taught Cost to undergrads. I actually kind of liked it. Much more tolerable than audit.
I am not knocking the CPA.  It is a huge accomplishment.  What I am knocking is your arrogance in writing off the CFP as a little quiz.  Sure the public may know the CPA better than the CFP today, but that is no different than being a lawyer who does financial planning.  The CPA is an accounting credential not a financial planning credential.  If you are so big on taxes you would know VA's and EIA's are probably not the best investment choices and I have found my knowledge of estate planning is what opens up doors to high net worth customers.
VA's and EIA's can be very poor choices for a lot of people. Why do you think that I think otherwise?
 
 

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Dirk Diggler wrote:bankrep1 wrote:
Dirk,
If accounting is so great why are you not an accountant?  I will tell you I was originally an accounting major when I was in school and quickly learned being a bean counter was not for me.  I still have nightmares about cost accounting, who in the world finds that interesting?
I hated being an accountant. Accountants don't make as much money as most people think and the actual work is extremely boring to me. When I was working on my Master's in Accounting, I taught Cost to undergrads. I actually kind of liked it. Much more tolerable than audit.
Your still an accountant or at least that is what you want people to believe by using CPA after your name.   
I am not knocking the CPA.  It is a huge accomplishment.  What I am knocking is your arrogance in writing off the CFP as a little quiz.  Sure the public may know the CPA better than the CFP today, but that is no different than being a lawyer who does financial planning.  The CPA is an accounting credential not a financial planning credential.  If you are so big on taxes you would know VA's and EIA's are probably not the best investment choices and I have found my knowledge of estate planning is what opens up doors to high net worth customers.
VA's and EIA's can be very poor choices for a lot of people. Why do you think that I think otherwise?
Gee I wondewr what gave me the impression that is all you sell
" I get paid 7.5% on evry dollar I place"
10% commission etc, etc, etc.
Dirk A guy like you isn't going to work for 1% a year.  Your all about right now.  It's arrogant and will bite you in the ash one day
 
 

Dirk Diggler's picture
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bankrep1 wrote:Dirk Diggler wrote:bankrep1 wrote:
Dirk,
If accounting is so great why are you not an accountant?  I will tell you I was originally an accounting major when I was in school and quickly learned being a bean counter was not for me.  I still have nightmares about cost accounting, who in the world finds that interesting?
I hated being an accountant. Accountants don't make as much money as most people think and the actual work is extremely boring to me. When I was working on my Master's in Accounting, I taught Cost to undergrads. I actually kind of liked it. Much more tolerable than audit.
Your still an accountant or at least that is what you want people to believe by using CPA after your name.   
I am not knocking the CPA.  It is a huge accomplishment.  What I am knocking is your arrogance in writing off the CFP as a little quiz.  Sure the public may know the CPA better than the CFP today, but that is no different than being a lawyer who does financial planning.  The CPA is an accounting credential not a financial planning credential.  If you are so big on taxes you would know VA's and EIA's are probably not the best investment choices and I have found my knowledge of estate planning is what opens up doors to high net worth customers.
VA's and EIA's can be very poor choices for a lot of people. Why do you think that I think otherwise?
Gee I wondewr what gave me the impression that is all you sell
" I get paid 7.5% on evry dollar I place"
10% commission etc, etc, etc.
Dirk A guy like you isn't going to work for 1% a year.  Your all about right now.  It's arrogant and will bite you in the ash one day
 
 

1% a year sucks. All I have is right now. What if I die today? I'd rather that my wife have the money that I earned, not some other broker. I'm not a money manager. I'm an asset raiser. If I'm doing my job, I will always make money.

Jonzed's picture
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Al E Gator....is good to have you back.

Indyone's picture
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Having obtained both designations, I can tell you that from my perspective, The CPA is measurably more difficult than the CFP was, although I would hardly consider the CFP a "quiz".  I also had a CPA/attorney also tell me that the CPA was much harder than the bar exam in his estimation.  When I sat for the exam (I didn't pass on my first attempt), the national first-time pass rate for the CPA exam was less than 20%...just based on that, along with the fact that it was a 19.5-hour test would leave me to believe that there aren't many professional designation exams that are as rigorous. 
On the CFP, I can tell you that I studied consideraly less than I did on the CPA, yet I felt much better leaving the test and I passed on my first attempt (I'm guessing by a safe margin, although they don't disclose scores).
Neither test is particulaly easy, and certainly not as easy as the series 7, but with some effort and sacrifice, they are all passable.  The CPA, while good to gain the confidence of prospects and new clients, really doesn't have much additional benefit for advisors.  If I didn't already have it, I wouldn't have bothered with it.  You can be very successful with a series seven and an insurance license in this business.  A CFP is nice, but not critical, and the CPA is a waste of time...
...just the opinion of a guy who has all of 'em...you're welcome to disagree...

Dirk Diggler's picture
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Indyone wrote:
Having obtained both designations, I can tell you that from my perspective, The CPA is measurably more difficult than the CFP was, although I would hardly consider the CFP a "quiz".  I also had a CPA/attorney also tell me that the CPA was much harder than the bar exam in his estimation.  When I sat for the exam (I didn't pass on my first attempt), the national first-time pass rate for the CPA exam was less than 20%...just based on that, along with the fact that it was a 19.5-hour test would leave me to believe that there aren't many professional designation exams that are as rigorous. 
On the CFP, I can tell you that I studied consideraly less than I did on the CPA, yet I felt much better leaving the test and I passed on my first attempt (I'm guessing by a safe margin, although they don't disclose scores).
Neither test is particulaly easy, and certainly not as easy as the series 7, but with some effort and sacrifice, they are all passable.  The CPA, while good to gain the confidence of prospects and new clients, really doesn't have much additional benefit for advisors.  If I didn't already have it, I wouldn't have bothered with it.  You can be very successful with a series seven and an insurance license in this business.  A CFP is nice, but not critical, and the CPA is a waste of time...
...just the opinion of a guy who has all of 'em...you're welcome to disagree...

I totally agree. Especially the part about gaining trust and confidence.

bankrep1's picture
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Indy,
With all due respect the CFP exam was probably easier for you than most considering your tax knowledge as a CPA.  I do believe the CPA is tougher.

Indyone's picture
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bankrep1 wrote:Indy,
With all due respect the CFP exam was probably easier for you than most considering your tax knowledge as a CPA.  I do believe the CPA is tougher.
You could have a point, although I can tell you that I struggled with the tax module more than any of the other modules...not so much because of the difficulty of the materials, but rather because they were so dull and in many cases, irrelevant (lots of corporate taxes, etc.).  My guess is that most people going through CFP training will struggle far more with the tax section than any other.  I found insurance pretty dull and irrelevant also (i.e., boiler and marine inland coverage).
...I suppose that "dull and irrelevant" could also explain why the CPA exam is so difficult...

noggin's picture
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Indyone- From my perspective, I found the tax portion to be the most difficult. I thought the value of the designation lies in the exposure to the material rather than the CFP on the door and business card.

bluehorseshoe's picture
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I'm surprised that no one has brought up the cfa designation...I've been looking at both programs (CFA & CFP) and feel as though the CFA may be a more sophisticated program (more suited to higher net worth clients).  Could any CFA's comment on this?

Indyone's picture
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My understanding of the CFA is that it is a tough designation...taken in three stages, but that it is a more narrowly focused designation.  While the CFP covers financial planning, insurance, investments, tax, retirement, and estate planning, the CFA focuses on investments, albeit in much greater detail.  The way someone explained it to me,  the CFA is more suitable for research analysts and fund managers.  I chose the CFP because my client base needs a broader range of services and expertise, even if that expertise is not as deep on each subject.

rightway's picture
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The CFA is taken in 3 levels, each building upon the previous.  It
is very "formula" heavy and geared more towards the analytics of
portfolio management, security analysis, and market efficiencies. 
Heavy in evaluating the financials of companies and portfolio
contruction.  It is considerably more difficult than the
CFP.  

Indyone's picture
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rightway wrote:The CFA is taken in 3 levels, each building upon the previous.  It is very "formula" heavy and geared more towards the analytics of portfolio management, security analysis, and market efficiencies.  Heavy in evaluating the financials of companies and portfolio contruction.  It is considerably more difficult than the CFP.  
I have no doubt that it's tougher than the CFP...I didn't find the CFP  all that difficult...and that was on a challenge basis.  The CFA, aside from a more difficult test, is probably overkill unless you're an analyst or fund manager.

rightway's picture
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Agreed.  However, if you are a retail rep wanting to get into
managing larger portfolios ala pension funds, endowments, etc... the
boards that make decisions on such portfolios are often very smart
and/or high level execs types.  They seek the credential and get a
kick out of quizzing the presenters.  In fact, a question often is
"is there a CFA on the team?"...really.  Otherwise, an advisor
servicing rich families need not have it unless they want the knowledge
and designation for personal reasons.

dividends's picture
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For those of you who have passed the CFP what exam prep material did you use?  I have heard of the Zahn course but also see that Bisys and Keir have a series of books, flashcards and CD-Roms that are supposed to be good.  Has anyone ever used those?

Sailor25's picture
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A CFA designation is a sign to your clients that you take this business seriously as a vocation. It demonstrates capability and diligence.
I wouldn't trust my portfolio to anyone else.

Dirk Diggler's picture
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Sailor25 wrote:
A CFA designation is a sign to your clients that you take this business seriously as a vocation. It demonstrates capability and diligence.
I wouldn't trust my portfolio to anyone else.

That's interesting. I've NEVER been asked if I was a CFA. Or a cfp, for that matter.

BrokerRecruit's picture
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I think it would be funny if there was a user on this site named Roller Girl.

BankFC's picture
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I think the CFA is more respectable than the CFP.

Sailor25's picture
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I hope someday investors will rebel against cold-calling hucksters and glad-handed salesmen and turn to knowledgeable investment practitioners who understand the many intricate issues involved with portfolio construction and investment management for individuals.
There would be less reliance on commissioned masters of the universe who spout their self-serving advice to the unwary. There would be less "product" created by monolithic wirehouses to stuff down the throats of retail investors.
As an investor, I would hire people who have professional designations, who are members of local finance societies, who view this profession as a vocation, not a get-rich-quick scheme.
 

bankrep1's picture
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Sailor,
investment management is the job of a money manager, a mutual fund manager, portfolio mgr. etc.  If you want a career in investment management so be it, but it is very different from a financial planner.
Most people cannot afford to hire a personal investment manager they do not have the assets and most investment professionals who tend to play that role do more harm than good.  I am not saying your wrong just that they are two very different things, I have no problem saying I have no interest in researching individual companies and reading SEC reports all day.
Why

troll's picture
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BankFC wrote:I think the CFA is more respectable than the CFP.
Sort'a like saying a Formula 1 driver is more respectable than an F16 pilot.... tow very different areas, even though both deal with the element of speed.

troll's picture
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Sailor25 wrote:
I hope someday investors will rebel against cold-calling hucksters and glad-handed salesmen and turn to knowledgeable investment practitioners who understand the many intricate issues involved with portfolio construction and investment management for individuals.
There would be less reliance on commissioned masters of the universe who spout their self-serving advice to the unwary. There would be less "product" created by monolithic wirehouses to stuff down the throats of retail investors.
As an investor, I would hire people who have professional designations, who are members of local finance societies, who view this profession as a vocation, not a get-rich-quick scheme.
 

So tell me, are you as arrogant in person as you are when you post?

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troll's picture
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skeedaddy2 wrote:
 
::takes bow::

Dirk Diggler's picture
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Sailor25 wrote:
I hope someday investors will rebel against cold-calling hucksters and glad-handed salesmen and turn to knowledgeable investment practitioners who understand the many intricate issues involved with portfolio construction and investment management for individuals.
There would be less reliance on commissioned masters of the universe who spout their self-serving advice to the unwary. There would be less "product" created by monolithic wirehouses to stuff down the throats of retail investors.
As an investor, I would hire people who have professional designations, who are members of local finance societies, who view this profession as a vocation, not a get-rich-quick scheme.
 

It's hard to compete from atop a high horse, ain't it?

troll's picture
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Dirk Diggler wrote:Sailor25 wrote:
I hope someday investors will rebel against cold-calling hucksters and glad-handed salesmen and turn to knowledgeable investment practitioners who understand the many intricate issues involved with portfolio construction and investment management for individuals.
There would be less reliance on commissioned masters of the universe who spout their self-serving advice to the unwary. There would be less "product" created by monolithic wirehouses to stuff down the throats of retail investors.
As an investor, I would hire people who have professional designations, who are members of local finance societies, who view this profession as a vocation, not a get-rich-quick scheme.
 

It's hard to compete from atop a high horse, ain't it?

JO?

Dirk Diggler's picture
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joedabrkr wrote:Dirk Diggler wrote:Sailor25 wrote:
I hope someday investors will rebel against cold-calling hucksters and glad-handed salesmen and turn to knowledgeable investment practitioners who understand the many intricate issues involved with portfolio construction and investment management for individuals.
There would be less reliance on commissioned masters of the universe who spout their self-serving advice to the unwary. There would be less "product" created by monolithic wirehouses to stuff down the throats of retail investors.
As an investor, I would hire people who have professional designations, who are members of local finance societies, who view this profession as a vocation, not a get-rich-quick scheme.
 

It's hard to compete from atop a high horse, ain't it?

JO?

Joe,
What you do in the privacy of your own home, infront of your computer, while your wife is out is none of our business. Please don't feel like you have to share it with the group.

Indyone's picture
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BankFC wrote:I think the CFA is more respectable than the CFP.
You're well entitled to that opinion.  I don't necessarily agree with it and I don't think that very many folks in my target market have any idea what a CFA is.  At least some are aware of the CFP designation, although many more understand (and respect) what a CPA is, even though it is not as relevant to our chosen profession.

troll's picture
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Dirk Diggler wrote:joedabrkr wrote:Dirk Diggler wrote:Sailor25 wrote:
I hope someday investors will rebel against cold-calling hucksters and glad-handed salesmen and turn to knowledgeable investment practitioners who understand the many intricate issues involved with portfolio construction and investment management for individuals.
There would be less reliance on commissioned masters of the universe who spout their self-serving advice to the unwary. There would be less "product" created by monolithic wirehouses to stuff down the throats of retail investors.
As an investor, I would hire people who have professional designations, who are members of local finance societies, who view this profession as a vocation, not a get-rich-quick scheme.
 

It's hard to compete from atop a high horse, ain't it?

JO?

Joe,
What you do in the privacy of your own home, infront of your computer, while your wife is out is none of our business. Please don't feel like you have to share it with the group.

Funny man!
I think you know to whom I was referring.....

ezmoney's picture
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The CFP is a joke. Noone ever asks about it, meaning at this point no cares about it. It's a designation, and that's all it is. If you want a real degree go get a masters in financial planning. Up until now (2006), one could have 3 years experience, be a high school dropout and still sit for the CFP. It's only in 2006 that you have to now have a undergraduate degree and 3 years experience.

Mike Damone's picture
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ezmoney wrote:The CFP is a joke. Noone ever asks about it, meaning at this point no cares about it. It's a designation, and that's all it is. If you want a real degree go get a masters in financial planning. Up until now (2006), one could have 3 years experience, be a high school dropout and still sit for the CFP. It's only in 2006 that you have to now have a undergraduate degree and 3 years experience.
You're right.  People don't care about it, but I wouldn't call it a joke. 
 

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