Planners Are Lone Rangers

The average CFP is an independent serving a client who earns between $50,000 and $99,000 a year and has a net worth of less than $500,000. Most times, that client was referred to the CFP, who offers a general menu of planning services.This snapshot of the CFP world was taken by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards in September. The Denver-based board surveyed 472 CFPs about financial

The average CFP is an independent serving a client who earns between $50,000 and $99,000 a year and has a net worth of less than $500,000. Most times, that client was referred to the CFP, who offers a general menu of planning services.

This snapshot of the CFP world was taken by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards in September. The Denver-based board surveyed 472 CFPs about financial planning practices.

Nine out of 10 CFPs work for themselves. Only 10% describe themselves as employees. About 42% are independent contractors and another 46% are owners/principals. The other 2% didn't answer the question. And nearly three-quarters of all respondents work in small businesses with five or fewer employees.

Prospecting Methods, Client Base Varies Nearly all CFPs (93%) get new clients via referrals. As well, 41% offer seminars, 32% provide newsletters, 26% advertise in the Yellow Pages, 25% do direct mail campaigns while 11% run ads in the newspaper. Internet sites are a more popular way to reach clients at 8% than are either radio or television advertising.

And who are the clients CFPs serve? They are mostly people with annual incomes between $50,000 and $99,000. More than half of the CFPs (54%) say their average client is in that range. Another 33% of those surveyed say their clients' average gross income is between $100,000 and $199,000. And 9% say their average clients earn more than $200,000 a year, while 3% say their clients earn less than $49,000 a year.

Average net worth of clients is typically between $100,000 and $499,000, according to 48% of the CFPs. About 34% say their clients' average net worth is between $500,000 and $999,000. Just 16% of the CFPs say their average clients are worth about $1 million or more. Another 2% report average net worths of less than $49,000.

More than 32,000 people in the United States are licensed to use the CFP designation, according to the CFP board.

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