For over 12 months, I have been preparing to take the certified financial planner or CFP® examination.
Passing the CFP® exam, doesn’t expand the financial products I’m able to sell like passing a securities test. Rather, becoming a certified financial planner demonstrates to the public that I’m committed to establishing myself as an expert.
Why I Choose To Take the CFP®
Getting to use the CFP® marks next to my name would add a lot to my credibility, but there are plenty of other reasons why I choose to take the test.
First and foremost, I wanted the knowledge. One requirement to site for the exam was to complete 6 courses, 3 credit hours each, in estate planning, income taxation, insurance, investing, retirement planning, and principles of financial planning.
The only area where I had previous experience in was insurance. I’m embarrassed how little I knew about taxes and estate planning before the course. However, if I really wanted to help people with their finances, knowing this information is critical.
Second, professional designations create many networking opportunities. Doctors help out other doctors, physical trainers like to network with other physical trainers, and the same can be said for financial planners.
Last, and most important, I believe deep down that I can help hundreds, thousands, and even a million or more people build wealth. Not just teaching them how to set up an emergency fund or opening up a Roth IRA, which is really important , but to become a happier and wealthier individual.
The ROI of Professional Certifications or Designations
Enough about the CFP® specifically, I also wanted to discuss the importance or unimportance of professional designations. A lot of Gen Y’s are in the same situation I’m in, just in another field.
There is a lot of time and money investment to obtaining a degree, which begs the question what is the return on investment? Overall, taking the CFP has cost me about $5,000 over the past year.
This is cheap compared to other professions. For example, if someone wanted to become a doctor they have to devote a decade of their lives and $100,000 to education.
However, that same person could just as well improve the health of the U.S. by starting a website and advising people on making healthy choices. There is nothing wrong with making a living doing either as long as you’re providing solid information. The world we live in today makes it fairly simple to establish yourself as an expert and make a profitable living in many fields.
For example, Robert Kiyosaki the author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series is making a living telling people what to do with their money, without any certification. Most of the information he provides is actually pretty good. Although, I find some of his theories can lead you into bankruptcy.
If my goal was to make the most money, I could have taken the self-proclaimed expert field like Robert Kiyosaki. There is just something about writing 40 books in about 10 years telling people how to get rich.
In contrast, take a look at what Dr. Andrew Weil is doing. He is a licensed doctor who is challenging conventional thinking towards health. His primary purpose is to improve the health of the U.S. The reason people listen to him is because he actually is a doctor.
Dr. Weil is trying to change the system in which our country practices medicine. Changing the system allows him to achieve his primary purpose of improving the health of the U.S. Being “inside” allows him to leverage his knowledge for his primary purpose.
On a much smaller scale, the reason \ it was necessary to attempt to the CFP® examination goes back towards my primary purpose. I want to help as many people as I can build wealth and improve their relationship with money.
To create happy and wealthy people, I know I need to work inside the system instead of out of it. The financial knowledge of the U.S. is low, very low. It’s my goal to change that.
Is obtaining a certification necessary to make money? My answer would be no in most cases.
The decision to obtain a certification should be based off of your primary purpose.
Do you agree?
BTW…I have to wait 8 weeks until I find out the results.