By Jesse Arman, Ph.D.
It probably doesn't come as a surprise that, generally, the more you know in a specific field, the more you can earn.
The financial planning field proves that point. A few years ago, I conducted a survey of more than 2,000 financial planner practitioners and asked, among many other things, what designations they had and how much they earned. Among my findings were that practitioners with the CFP® certification or the ChFC or PFS designations earned between 10 percent and 20 percent more than practitioners without these credentials, after controlling for numerous variables. Most of these practitioners cited that, as a result of pursuing their designations, they were able to provide broader and deeper financial planning knowledge and services to client situations.
The association of earnings and learning was also illustrated in the College for Financial Planning's 2008 Survey of Trends in the Financial Planning Industry. Table 1 shows the earnings in the years directly before and after earning the CFP® certification.
|Gross in year prior to earning CFP® Certification||$73,326||$80,533||$103,709|
|Gross in year after earning CFP® Certification||$90,827||$97,753||$143,831|
|Current Annual Gross||$232,995||$283,079||$195,394|
Did you know that the same association of earnings and learning holds true for several other financial planning designations? The 2008 Survey of Trends polled 703 individuals who hold any of the College for Financial Planning's six designations. Table 2 shows that practitioners earned between 12 percent and 37 percent more during the year immediately after earning one of the College's designations.
|Current annual gross earnings||Change in
gross earnings after earning designation
|Accredited Asset Management Specialist SM or AAMS®||$151,000||17%|
|Accredited Wealth Management Advisor SM or AWMA®||$117,000||12%|
|Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor SM or CMFC®||$175,000||29%|
|Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor SM or CRPC®||$143,000||18%|
|Chartered Retirement Plans SpecialistSM or CRPS®||$229,000||37%|
|Registered Paraplanner SM or RP®||$57,000||13%|
Education for Every Phase of Your Career
Regardless of where you are in your financial planning career, it makes good financial sense to continue your education. The College for Financial Planning offers education and designation programs for every phase of your career.
- For individuals new to the industry, and who plan to serve in a support role, practitioners should consider the Foundations in Financial Planning program leading to the Registered ParaplannerSM (RP®) designation. This program has more than 10,000 graduates, and designees report a 13 percent earnings increase during the year after attaining the designation.
- For individuals still in the early years of their career, or experienced practitioners who want to earn investment-related designations, the college offers the Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS®), the Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM (AWMA®), and the Chartered Mutual Fund CounselorSM (CMFC®) designations. The college also offers the Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM (CRPC®) designation, which allows individuals to develop a "road map" for their clients' retirement years. The Chartered Retirement Plans SpecialistSM (CRPS®) program is for individuals who want to design and implement employer retirement plans.
- Individuals with several years of experience should consider earning the CFP® certification, awarded by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. The College for Financial Planning created the CFP® designation in 1972 and offers one of the most successful education programs (with one of the highest pass rates) leading toward certification.
- For individuals wanting to provide the highest level of expertise in financial planning, the college offers three accredited Master of Science degree programs, with majors in personal financial planning, finance and financial analysis. These degrees offer among the most comprehensive financial education available and, depending upon which major you choose, will enable you to sit for the CFP® certification or the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) examinations.
If you are serious about your financial planning career, you need to be serious about obtaining the education required to be successful. By pursuing one or more of the College for Financial Planning's designations or degrees, you will learn more, earn more and provide your clients with the superior service that they expect and deserve.
Jesse Arman, Ph.D., is vice president of academic affairs at the College for Financial Planning. He has been involved in higher education and financial planning for more than 30 years as a practitioner, educator and administrator, and is a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
Tools to Use
Access the College for Financial Planning's career guide at www.cffpinfo.com/pdfs/CareerPathFlyer_Web.pdf.