7 Reasons to Choose a Certified Financial Planner for Your Long Term and Retirement Financial Planning
Pretty much anyone can file a business license and call themselves a financial advisor, but only with a certified financial planner (CFP) professional can you have the assurance that you’re working with a trained professional you can trust. The “trust” refers to their ability to deliver the performance and financial security you need with full credibility. If you are an ultra-high net worth individual looking for a qualified financial advisor, click here to read our guide on how to find a financial advisor for families with $5 million and more in liquid assets.
Table of Contents
There are a lot of terms in the financial services business, and many of them overlap. So while you will hear terms like a financial advisor, wealth manager, wealth advisor, investment manager, and financial planning consultant, it is the ‘certified’ element that gives you at least single external criteria with which to verify that you are dealing with a professional. Pillar Wealth Management is owned by two elite financial planning advisors, Hutch Ashoo and Christopher Snyder, and we serve high net worth and ultra-high net worth families and investors who have at least $5 million in liquid investable assets. Click here to arrange a free consultation with us if you fall into this category.
If you have less than that, use this free resource anyway, because it will answer a lot of your questions about your personal financial planning. You will also find a treasure trove of insight in our free guide, The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Financial Advisor, for Investors With $5 Million to $500 Million in Liquid Assets
This article is going to talk about the 7 important reasons why you should choose the best CFP for your retirement financial planning in the long-term run. Plus, you are also given the 11 questions that are frequently asked related to CFP professional. Let’s talk about it.
7 Reasons to Choose a Certified Financial Planner
1. Poor Investment Performance
Poor performance can go in two directions. On a hand, your financial planner can cause you to miss out on rewarding investment gains by recommending too conservative an approach.
When the market is crashing, conservative investing seems smart. But a CFP professional should be working to help you full time achieve your long term financial goals – even if they are decades away. Even if they won’t be achieved until after you die.
On the other hand, and far more common, investors get stuck with a financial planning advisor who is too aggressive and reckless.
We have seen some high net worth friends working with other advisors lose 70%, even 80% of their wealth in a short time because of horribly misguided investment planning that didn’t fare well in a recession.
Ted Turner the one that famously lost over 80% of his wealth in one year when AOL-Time Warner fell apart. He lost over $8 billion. Many would blame the merger, but we would blame his financial planning team.
How important is it to get a fiduciary planner, and how seriously does Pillar take this commitment? See how a non-fiduciary can leave you stressed, frustrated, and financially constrained.
2.Unwise and Risky Asset Allocations
Asset allocation is the most important factor in investment planning. By far. But it changes over time. What works for you when you’re 45 might not be appropriate when you’re 55.
The best financial advisor should take a proactive guidance to keep you informed and involved in any important changes and decisions.
To learn more about this, click here to read our guide on the 5 critical shifts that contribute to portfolio performance.
3.No Reliable Process in Long Term Financial Security
You need to find a CFP professional who has developed their own process – with data to back up its efficacy – for achieving what you care about most financially.
Demand a detailed explanation from any financial planner or wealth manager – CFP or not – for how they will deliver the assurance of performance and security that you seek.
What is Pillar’s process? You have two ways to see it in enough detail to really get your mind around how different it is from every other wealth manager or fiduciary planner.
First – get our free guide, Improving Portfolio Performance, The Shifts Multi-Millionaires Must Make to Achieve Financial Security and Serenity.
Second, give us a call if you have a minimum of $5 million in investable assets.
Talk to an Ultra-High Net Worth Certified Financial Planner
4.Scaled Down Lifestyle with No Time to Make Up Losses
Imagine losing 70% of your wealth when you’re 70 years old because your financial professional had you in a 60% stock 40% bond asset allocation and the market collapsed. See why a 60/40 split failed in the Covid Recession. At age 70, you will likely never make up those losses in time. You, and your heirs after you, will be forever hurt by them. Don’t make the mistake of choosing the wrong financial advisor. See why a 60/40 split failed in the Covid Recession.
How to choose the best certified financial professional planner for you? We offer again the best resource we have ever seen for this purpose: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Financial Advisor, for Investors With $10 Million to $500 Million in Liquid Assets.
5.Pay More Taxes than You Should Have
The wrong financial professional planner will fail to consider the enormous amounts of money you can save simply by minimizing or avoiding certain taxes.
Suppose an irresponsible advisor earns you 12% growth one year, but you have to pay 40% of that in taxes. Then, suppose a CFP professional earns you 10%, but you only pay 20% in taxes.
For the first advisor, your net growth will only be 7.2%, because you lost the rest in taxes. The CFP, even with lower overall growth, earned you a net increase of 8%.
6.Your Heirs Can’t Access Your Records
If your financial planner doesn’t set things up properly for your insurance, your heirs can be locked out of your financial records and have to waste massive and frustrating amounts of time trying to navigate the system and pick up the pieces.
The best certified financial planners will not assume you are taking care of estate planning issues. And the very best ones won’t charge extra for doing it for you.
Pillar includes that service and all others as part of our base fee because for high net worth families, this is not an optional service.
7.The Wrong Beneficiaries Receive Part of Your Estate
Even if your CFP helped create an estate plan for you, or if you did it yourself, you have to keep it current.
Things change. Divorce, early death, a child falling into trouble and deemed not responsible enough to handle receiving a large sum from you without conditions – these things happen all the time.
If you don’t keep your current personal estate plan, large portions of it may end up in the wrong hands, with disastrous consequences. The best certified financial planners don’t let this happen.
What’s Required to Become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)?
CFP Board – Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.
The certified financial planner board of standards is known for its distribution in harnessing professional financial planners that set a high standard in serving the public. In doing so, the CFP Board designation to embrace the necessity for certification of Certified Financial Planning. This certification will prove that CFP professionals offer the best service and put their client’s best interests as a top priority.
CFP Board sets a certification standard based on the “4 E” requirements in order to know that a certified financial planner is able to serve its customers with personalized advice so they can achieve their financial dreams. Take a look at these “four E “standards that a CFP professional must complete:
For the education requirement, CFP candidates are divided into two :
- Completion of financial planning coursework from CFP Board’s Program
- Has a Bachelor’s degree or higher from any major, and from an accredited university or college as its bachelor’s degree requirement.
This CFP exam consists of 170 questions in a form of a multiple-choice test and divided into two sessions (3 hours per session) in one day. If CFP candidates pass the CFP exam, it shows that he has the competency and knowledge needed in providing personalized advice for financial planning to achieve CFP certification.
As for the experience requirement standard, it requires either 4,000 hours experience of apprenticeship (need to meets additional program requirements) or 6,000 hours of professional financial planning experience. By providing these long hours of experience, it shows that a CFP candidate is able to offer financial planning advice independently.
All certified financial planners must agree and commit to following the fiduciary ethics requirement when giving any advice to a client. They must also adhere to a set of professional and ethical standards as the financial industry regulatory from FINRA in the United States. These include ‘fitness standards’, a Code of Ethics, and Standards of Conduct. You can access it on the FINRA website, just go ahead on the CFP board search toggle submit.
Some of the fitness standards say you can lose your certification if you are convicted of perjury within the last five years, or if you experienced two or more bankruptcies, whether business or personal.
Some of the codes and standards include avoiding or disclosing all conflicts of interest, conducting all your financial planning professional experience services with integrity and honesty, and “not be subordinated to personal gain or advantage.”There are many more of these. You can view the complete list of codes and standards here.
Once you become a CFP professional, you as the CFP Professionals must renew their certification from the CFP Board of Standards Inc. All Rights Reserved for, every two years.
11 Questions to Ask Your Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
1. What is your minimum asset requirement?
In other words, what types of clients do you work with? Some financial planners have ranges of investible interests they work with, such as from $250,000 to $1 million.
Pillar Wealth Management works with high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals who have between $5 million and $500 million.
For a deeper understanding of how high net worth financial planning looks and what it entails, read our signature written work, The Art of Protecting Ultra-High Net Worth Portfolios and Estates, Strategies for Families worth $25 Million to $500 Million.
Other financial planners might specialize in another area, such as businesses, or foundations, or a particular age group.
While others might specialize in a branch of financial planning, like tax planning or retirement planning.
2.What are your qualifications and credentials?
If they’re a certified financial planner, this question is how you can check them out. If you want to verify their claim, the best place to go is the Securities and Exchange Commission website.
Just type in their account name or the name of their investment companies, and see what comes up. You can see complaints that have been filed against these CFP professionals if any.
You can also verify a planner’s CFP status here.
3.How long have you been a financial planner?
Get a sense of their experience level and background check. But remember that while years of experience matter – particularly for high net worth financial planners like Pillar Wealth Management – being certified tells you quite a lot about this person and gives you the assurance they are competent and trustworthy.
4.How long do your clients stay with you on average?
This question reveals client loyalty. While it’s hard to verify their answer, it nevertheless provides another element of confidence in their abilities.
However, this question will reveal more if you ask it a year or two after a recession than it would eight years into a bull market. Remember – every financial planner is a genius when the market is doing well.
5.What do you do to minimize my costs, besides your fees?
You want to know what you’ll be paying, and how, for your certified financial planner’s services. But beyond that, realize that the fee is just a part of many costs you could be paying.
For instance, investing three million in a mutual fund with a 0.9% cost is very different from investing it in one with a 0.2% cost. That more expensive fund will need to outperform the other fund by 0.7% just to break even with it.
That’s a cost that has nothing to do with your financial planner’s fees.
There are many other costs like this, including additional ones that some planners charge. For instance, #6 on this list.
6.Will anyone else gain from how you advise me?
If your financial planner’s recommendations also benefit others with whom they have a business relationship, you need to know that.
This is another personal cost you could be paying. For instance, maybe your financial planner doesn’t charge commissions.
A fiduciary must disclose this, and must also be able to explain how it is still in your best interests, free from conflict of interest on their part.
Many, many other costs, that add up to far more than the base fee, can cost a high net worth of individuals tens of millions of dollars over their lifetime.
If you ask questions 5 and 6 and don’t feel like the CFP professional gives you a very full picture of these other costs, you should mark them with skepticism.
7.Will you be the only certified financial planner I’ll be working with?
When you call with a question, who will you speak to? Some financial advisors practice alone or with a partner or two, and they directly manage the relationships with their clients.
Others have teams of people working with a firm. You want to know who you’ll be dealing with, and when the key people on that team change.
You especially want to know who is developing your financial planning areas and making recommendations for your portfolio.
Pillar Wealth Management features two wealth professionals who directly manage all their client relationships, and each individual investor’s 100% customized financial plan.
8.How often do you update my financial plan?
What you don’t want is a ‘set it and forget it’ financial planner. You need someone who continually pays attention to your portfolio, and how it is being affected by world events, market forces, changes in your life, and its investment management performance.
Pillar Wealth Management updates every client’s financial plan four times per year.
9.Do you believe you can outperform the market?
This is a self-awareness question for your financial planner. They should tell you something about how few active traders or fund managers are able to outperform the market.
Over any period of three or more years, fewer than 10% of money managers are able to beat the market. Over longer periods, like for how long you’ll probably be working with your advisor, it is even lower.
If your financial planner tries to convince you they have figured out a system that consistently outperforms the market, you should regard them with extreme skepticism.
They were either very lucky for a year or two, or ignorant of history, or are over-promising.
You would hope that no certified financial planners would behave in this path or designations. But that’s why you ask the question.
10.How can you help me feel secure that my money won’t run out?
In other words – what is your approach to personal financial planning? For that, we’ll move to the next section.
But first – if you are a high net-worth investor, you might want to use these 4 additional questions about tax and estate planning links.
If a high net worth financial planner can’t satisfy you with good answers to those four questions, search elsewhere.
How to Start Planning with a CFP Professional
Once you find a certified financial planner (CFP), hopefully using the questions above and the guide we’ve referred to several times, you’ll be ready to get started.
The initial process of financial planning begins with what you’re trying to achieve in your life. Almost every major goal, dream, or desire you have eventually related to money.
The best certified financial planners start here and build out your plan from there.
However, not every CFP practice has a truly 100% customized plan for their clients. Many offer a variety of menu options you can choose from, and they look at which CFP seems to fit you best.
They may then tweak it a little to help you. So you could call that a semi-customized planning approach. But it’s not truly customized to your specific life goals and desired lifestyle outcomes.
How to Find a CFP
You might want the best financial advisor near you. Or, you might feel that location doesn’t matter, which in most cases, it does not.
Talk to your final list of CFP professionals. Ask the questions given earlier. Learn their legal processes. See if you get along, and then make your decision!
Pillar Wealth Management’s co-founder has over 60 years of delivering tailored financial planning services to high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals. For a free, no-obligation consultation just drop us a quick note here.