Our Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Work with a CFP Professional For Your Retirement Plan
CFP® Professionals offer the "gold" standard of comprehensive financial planning. But what does that mean for your retirement plan? Here's how a CFP® Professional can help you create a tailored, ongoing financial strategy for your golden years.
The CFP® Board has laid out a Professional Difference 7-step process for holistic, comprehensive planning that meets your needs and is flexible enough to change when necessary. Why are these professionals so well-equipped to help you live your dream retirement?
1. They Are A Fiduciary, Always
What is a fiduciary? A fiduciary is "a person or company with a legal and ethical relationship of trust with another person ." In other words, they are not merely representing a third-party product or institution, but rather, someone whose job is to have your best interests at heart regarding your finances. This distinction is crucial and will help you to feel more at ease in your financial planning relationship.
The fiduciary connection between advisor and client differs mainly from other professionals due to requirements set in place by the CFP Board. These requirements include fifteen standards that fiduciary advisors must abide by when working with clients.
These standards cover a range of values, from loyalty to care to precisely following client instructions. Fiduciary advisors also have rules regarding conflicts of interest and "take a proactive approach to conflicts of interest and always uphold the client's wishes." For more of these rules, check out our extensive dive into fiduciary standards.
Fiduciary advisors must be transparent in their actions and clearly and openly communicate with their clients. A trustworthy fiduciary advisor will be upfront about the process, how it works, what fees and payments will be, and beyond. These high standards elevate the level of care and stewardship you receive from a CFP®.
One way your advisor can demonstrate that they are worthy of your trust is to sign a fiduciary oath. If they are an honest and credible advisor, they will be willing to sign this. This oath will involve multiple promises, such as providing you with all documentation and facts, acting with prudence and good judgment, never misleading you, and always acting with your best interests in mind.
If it's unclear by now, a fiduciary relationship is highly beneficial to you as a client and will help you feel at ease in the financial planning process.
2. Your CFP® Professional Has The Knowledge And Experience To Serve You Well
Certified financial planners have earned their credentials through rigorous study, practical experience, and ongoing training/education.
Their education is two-fold; completing coursework on financial planning through a CFP Board Registered Program, and (2) holding a bachelor's degree or higher (in any discipline) from an accredited college or university.
After completing their coursework, they must take an extensive exam. Before or after taking the exam, those pursuing their CFP® are also required to gain either "6,000 hours of professional experience related to the financial planning process or 4,000 hours of apprenticeship experience that meets additional requirements." This is excellent news for you as a client, as you know that their hours in the field will have given them the tools necessary to help you.
Last but certainly not least, CFP® certification requires an ethical component consisting of a background check, a moral declaration, meeting certain fitness standards, and following a specific code of ethics and standards of conduct.
All these elements make a CFP® Professional great at what they do and someone you can trust. You can be sure your advisor holds themselves to the highest standard, and that ethic will translate into their relationship with you.
3. They Look At Your Plan From A Holistic Lens
CFP® Professionals see your entire financial picture. That means they're looking at your investments, insurance, charitable giving, tax strategy, cash flow, and more. They can also help you calculate risk management, set and achieve financial goals, and help you extensively with tax planning.
Regarding tax planning, we are passionate about the value that proactive tax planning can bring to your life and money. Tax planning and financial planning go hand in hand, and that's because tax planning, perhaps surprisingly, is part of many elements of your financial present and future.
As we included in a previous article about tax planning, these overlaps come into play when it comes to:
- Contributing to retirement accounts
- Charitable giving strategies
- Tax bracket considerations
- Diversification in asset management
- Using various savings channels
Since CFP® Professionals have extensive knowledge of tax planning and many other elements when it comes to your financial future, they can better approach each subject with a well-rounded idea of how to approach it.
Keeping more money working for you expands your opportunities and ensures you aren't overpaying. You can feel confident that your money is in context with your life with the holistic approach that a CFP® uses.
4. A CFP® Professional Can Help You Navigate Change
In life and money, hardly anything stands still. When you work with a CFP® Professional, they can help you account for those changes and guide you through them. This includes life events such as retiring, the death of a spouse, a down market, moving out of state, and many more.
A CFP® has seen many financial and life situations and helped many others navigate these things. They are a great person to have in your corner when you experience inevitable changes and can help you understand how to better maintain financial stability in these cases.
5. You'll Find A True Financial Partner
When you're looking for someone to help you navigate something as important and sensitive as finances, it's critical to have an advisor and a partner. A CFP® relationship is one built on trust and mutual respect. They are interested in your goals and life and how your money can help you live the life you love.
Step by Step Financial is committed to serving you and being your financial partner. We offer services that allow you to achieve your financial goals by working with our CFP® Professionals, who are committed to using a holistic approach and approaching everything in the process with the utmost integrity.
Schedule here to talk with one of our CFP® Professionals and start working towards the financial future of your dreams!