Financial Planner Certifications

Its been a while. When looking for a financial planner, what certifications are most meaningful?

Do CPAs with financial planning/retirement planning expertise have certifications?


(I’m amazed to discover new topics are no longer permitted on Retirement or Financial Planning discussion boards.)

It depends on what type of services you are looking for. Here’s an article that can give you some insight into what expertise that holders of some of the different certifications may have 10 Best Financial Certifications | Financial Advisors | U.S. News ( I will note that this is not an exhaustive list. If you are looking for someone to manage your money, you probably want to find someone with a ‘fiduciary’ designation.

Well, CPA is a certification, so yes. Might they have other certifcations? Maybe, maybe not.

That’s because “Retirement” and “Financial Planning” are overall categories, and you need to designate a more specific subject category in order to create a new post.



I would not consider anybody without a CFP. That includes a fudiciary responsibility. That said there are good, marginal and crap individuals and firms with any credential.

If you can find a firm whose rate of employee retention is above 80% probably anybody there will be OK. In Atlanta I am told the annual retention rate is between 15% and 20%.

Firms who treat their folks well may not earn as much this year, but over the long haul I expect they will do better. (And I also like a financial plan that takes a long term view instead of only the next quarterly report.)


I am biased (because I have these) but I would look for CFP and ChFC. CFP is the harder of the two to obtain (six hour test) but you need the exact same classes to obtain the ChFC and ChFC requires two additional classes beyond what is required for the CFP (but no captstone test).

A CPA does not necessarily have any financial planning knowledge - just like a CFP does not have the knowledge sufficient to give expert tax advice.