09 Jan How Can I Find a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in Sacramento?
No matter where you live, the financial advice industry can be confusing to navigate. Here in the Sacramento area, you may find many types of professionals using terms such as financial advisor or financial planner. You may also find them marketing themselves with an almost-dizzying array of credentials such as “CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Sacramento.”
As you shop for a potential financial advisor, you should be aware that the various titles and designations do not always tell the full story related to experience, regulations, fees, and more. For example, there can be significant differences between advisors who call themselves financial planners and those who are CERTIFIRED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professionals.
Not only does the CFP® designation indicate that a professional has received a third-party certification to offer financial planning, but CFP® professionals must adhere to stringent and ongoing requirements that offer a comprehensive financial-planning perspective.
CFP® Certification Requirements
To become a CFP® certificant, a financial advisor must meet certain requirements in the following areas:
- Education: Specific financial planning education as set by the CFP Board, as well as a bachelor’s degree.
- Examination: Passage of the Certification Examination, which assesses test takers’ ability to apply their knowledge to financial planning situations.
- Experience: A minimum of 4,000 or 6,000 hours depending on the path the professional takes.
- Ethics: Adherence to specific ethical standards, including the requirement that they serve as fiduciaries acting in clients’ best interests.
Differences Between CFP® Professionals and Other Advisors
As the CFP® requirements indicate, these professionals have a background designed to provide comprehensive financial planning to clients in an ethical manner.
Some professionals such as a broker-dealer may call themselves a financial planner, yet they may be focused on investment management and lack the training to sufficiently cover areas such as retirement planning, tax planning, and estate planning. CFP® certificants, however, have training in 72 areas of finance.
Moreover, an advisor without CFP® certification does not necessarily follow the same ethical standards, which may mean they might not be as transparent, for example, in disclosing their fees.
The financial services industry has other certifications that are also highly regarded, but be aware that they may be focused on a specific area of finance and not geared for holistic financial planning. Also keep in mind that just because a financial planner has the CFP® mark doesn’t mean they will require you to work with them on an ongoing basis. You can seek one out for a limited, one-time engagement while still gaining the advantage of their fiduciary obligation to you.
Regardless of your potential advisor’s experience and credentials, you should talk with them to determine the services that they offer. For example, do they offer investment management only? Do they provide a financial plan that you implement on your own, covering recommendations ranging from taxes to retirement? Do they offer ongoing financial planning and investment management with implementation on your behalf? You want to make sure your needs and their services are a match before you agree to work with them.
How to Find a CFP® Professional in Your Area
For those looking to take advantage of the benefits of working with a CFP® practitioner, you can simply go online to LetsMakeaPlan.org and enter your zip code to find one near you. You can also search an advisor’s name to see if they have the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification.
When you search the site, you’ll find details on specific advisors, such as their compensation method, their financial-planning focus areas, and the minimum amount of investable assets needed to work with them. For example, if you search for advisors in Sacramento, you will find the information for our advisors with CFP® certifications. As a fiduciary, fee-only financial planner in Roseville, CA, we hold this credential in high regard for its comprehensive requirements that put clients first.
If you want to discuss how we may be able to help you reach your financial-planning goals, please reach out to us to schedule a complimentary phone call.
Parkshore Wealth Management is a family-owned, independent, fee-only Registered Investment Advisor serving the greater Sacramento area with an office in Roseville, CA. We partner with financially responsible individuals and families who are eager to take positive steps that will allow them to use their money to build the life they desire. The firm is led by Harold Anderson, CFP®, and Daniel Andersen, CFP®, both members of NAPFA, the country’s leading professional association of fee-only financial advisors.