***The following was originally posted on PWA’s main website in 2008.  It is reposted here in its original form.***

Did you know that today anyone can claim to be a “financial planner”? It’s true. But not just anyone can call himself or herself a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. As a consumer, it’s important to understand the difference. Allow me to take this opportunity to explain why.

I have earned the right to call myself a CFP® professional because I have voluntarily agreed to meet rigorous education, examination and experience standards. I participate in ongoing professional education. And, I follow a strict code of professional ethics and standards of practice. The standards I adhere to are promulgated and enforced by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. The CFP Board refers to these standards as “the 4Es.”

· Education. I completed an education requirement to demonstrate to CFP Board that I have the theoretical and practical financial planning knowledge to practice personal financial planning. In addition, every two years, I complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education to stay current with developments in the field.

· Examination. I passed an exam administered by CFP Board to test my understanding of the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits, retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance.

· Experience. Before earning the CFP® certification, I fulfilled a minimum of three years’ experience in the financial planning process.

· Ethics. I agree to abide by CFP Board’s “Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.” The “Code of Ethics” requires CFP® certificants to act fairly and diligently, with integrity and objectivity, when providing financial planning services to clients. I also have agreed to submit to background checks by CFP Board and have promised to disclose any investigation or legal proceedings related to my professional or business conduct.

If you are looking for a measure of a financial planner’s commitment to ethical behavior and adherence to high professional standards … if you are looking for a financial planner who will put you and your needs at the center of every financial planning engagement … I suggest that you look for a CFP® professional.

It’s never too early and never too late to take charge of your financial future. To learn more, I encourage you to contact me. I would be pleased to meet with you to answer your questions.

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