What is required to be a Certified Financial Planner™ professional (CFP®)?

CFP® professionals are licensed by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. They must pass a 10-hour comprehensive examination covering insurance, tax strategies, retirement planning, estate planning, and investments. They must also have at least three years of full-time financial planning-related experience. To maintain the designation, CFP® professionals must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years.

Most people think all financial planners are "certified," but this isn't true. Anyone can call himself a "financial planner." Only those who have fulfilled the above requirements of the CFP Board can display the CFP® certification marks, which represent a high level of competency, ethics and professionalism. CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct require CFP® professionals to prioritize your interests above their own.