Author Topic: CFP Certification Questions? Backup Career.  (Read 1953 times)

apricity22

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CFP Certification Questions? Backup Career.
« on: June 20, 2017, 04:58:17 PM »
Does anybody have any experience with becoming a Certified Financial Planner and the examination?

I currently work in Engineering and plan to stay in the field for the foreseeable future; however, I'm very specialized and if I lose my job or decide I want to do something new I would like to be proactive in having something to fall back on. This is a long term plan which I would work on in my free time over the next 1 to 3 years. Is this a worthwhile certification to pursue in my free time? Does it make sense to pursue it now or only if I were actively working in the field gaining the required experience? To me it would be worthwhile if I learned things I could apply to my own situation even if I never used it in a professional capacity.

If you work as a CFP please provide a brief synopsis of what the day to day job is like.

How about any other fields that I could study and pursue in my free time that would serve as a good backup career in the future? I'm not looking to start at the top but strongly position myself to enter a new career if I needed or wanted to. I have a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Engineering. I am not interested in pursuing another degree, so the ones I have would have to do for whatever career I went in to.

Thanks.

daymare

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Re: CFP Certification Questions? Backup Career.
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2017, 05:15:44 PM »
Hi - I work as a fee-only planner at an RIA and I sat for the CFP exam last year, just working on the experience portion in order to officially be a CFP.  [In order to use the title, you need 3 years of experience in the field, or 2 years working under /being vouched for by someone who is a CFP, in addition to passing the exam and a few other things.]

In almost all cases, you need to complete a financial planning education component in order to eligible to sit for the CFP.  I did the cheapest online self-paced option I could find (Bryant University online) and that was $2,490.  So, it's pretty expensive if it's just something you want to do for fun.  The test itself is not that hard if you're a smart, technically-inclined person who is good with academics.  (I can't call a test hard since it's straightforward exactly what you need to study, such that if you put in the time, you will pass assuming you're a reasonably intelligent person.)

I would recommend looking into the Enrolled Agent designation (which I recently completed) - 3 parts of the test, which you could take all in one go if you want, much cheaper to buy the materials.  Part 1 is all about individual tax returns - super interesting to know and apply to yourself.

Ultimately, I don't think it makes sense to go through the CFP education/certification unless you're also working in the field.  It's costly and you'll have to go through material that isn't at all useful or interesting to your specific situation.

I absolutely love my job now. (Previously, I studied econ/math in undergrad, worked in consulting, and got a master's in finance from an Ivy by dropping out of a PhD program.)  The fee-only planning world is quite small.  You might try looking up advisors in your area (via NAPFA or Garrett Planning Network or XYPN) and seeing if anyone's willing to be taken out for coffee, to tell their story.  That would probably provide you with good insight into the field.

Rimu05

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Re: CFP Certification Questions? Backup Career.
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2017, 07:42:32 AM »
Why not the CFA? Admittedly more grueling, but also probably the most recognized financial designation. Of course this depends on what you want to do but it's put on the same level as an MBA though admittedly an MBA will benefit you in a different way.

Nonetheless, if you have time, want the challenge, why not?

apricity22

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Re: CFP Certification Questions? Backup Career.
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2017, 06:13:56 PM »
Thank you for the replies, these are very helpful. I looked at the Enrolled Agent designation and it does sound interesting. I always think of CPA's when I think of taxes, so how does the Enrolled Agent designation differ from a CPA that is focused on taxes and what are the employment prospects of an Enrolled Agent vs. a CPA?

While I mentioned that I would like to do something that I could benefit from even if I don't go down that career path, I would really like to strongly position myself to have a backup career. My current job is good but if I were to get laid off or if the situation here changed and I needed to leave I am not really interested in finding another Engineering position, I would use that as an opportunity to get into a new field. I am in a financial position (and will be even more so as time goes on) to accept a lower level position in another field so I don't need to match my current salary. The other poster mentioned the CFA designation and just poking around the web there are a dizzying number of financial certifications. As a person that doesn't have a financial background but whose natural talents would likely be very well suited for the field, what certifications can I get and what other things can I do now that would position me to enter to this field if and when that day ever came?

CareCPA

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Re: CFP Certification Questions? Backup Career.
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2017, 06:19:49 PM »
Thank you for the replies, these are very helpful. I looked at the Enrolled Agent designation and it does sound interesting. I always think of CPA's when I think of taxes, so how does the Enrolled Agent designation differ from a CPA that is focused on taxes and what are the employment prospects of an Enrolled Agent vs. a CPA?
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EA, from my experience, is seen as the cheaper younger brother to the CPA. Even if not true, people assume a CPA knows more.
Take this with a grain of salt given my credentials.