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What is a Certified Financial Planner, or CFP?

Here in Hawaii at Island Wealth, we believe the key to successful financial planning lies in strong advisor-client relationships based on mutual trust. It often may feel like anyone can call themselves anything in the financial services industry. Even the terms “financial planner” and “financial advisor” are highly overused, often interchangeably. In reality, a financial planner is a type of advisor who looks at your complete financial picture and helps you come up with a plan to pursue your goals. When selecting a financial professional for you and your family, it’s important to understand his or her services, training and qualifications.

One of the most prestigious financial planning qualifications is the CFP® certification, or board CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, which denotes high ethical and professional standards. In fact, it’s a strong indication that you’re receiving quality guidance that prioritizes your interests. At Island Wealth, we aspire to grow our team of CFP® professionals for our clients and their children. I am currently studying for the CFP® exam and have gained an appreciation of just how difficult it is to achieve.

Education, Experience and Ethics

The CFP® certification requires a high level of education, professional experience and ethics. To qualify, there are a number of requirements. For example, an advisor must have received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. He or she must also have thousands of hours of apprenticeship or professional experience in financial planning. In addition, to become a CFP® professional, one must pass a rigorous exam that assesses critical thinking skills and applied knowledge on a broad range of personal financial scenarios.

Every CFP® practitioner must place their clients’ needs above their own. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the CFP® mark and monitors all professionals who have passed the exam. When a CFP® professional is alleged to have fallen short of his or her obligations, the board leads an investigation. It can permanently revoke the CFP® mark from anyone who breaches its Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct.

Finding The Right Financial Professional

As a multi-generational financial planning firm in Hawaii, we work hard to form meaningful, long-term relationships with our clients and their families. After all, we help them establish goals that extend beyond a single lifetime. As we strive to deliver highly personalized service, our goal is not to work with the greatest number of clients. We believe we can have the greatest impact by working with families who are the right fit.

Although we would love to discover that we’re the right team for you, we also know that the Island Wealth way is not the right path for everyone. There are about 150 CFP® practitioners in Honolulu and hundreds of financial advisors throughout Hawaii which fit various individuals’ needs. Get searching! There is a qualified team of professionals out there whose areas of expertise are a match for your unique story.

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