CFP Exam

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Jan 14, 2006 12:37 pm
Dirk Diggler:
bankrep1:

Dirk,


If accounting is so great why are you not an accountant?  I will tell you I was originally an accounting major when I was in school and quickly learned being a bean counter was not for me.  I still have nightmares about cost accounting, who in the world finds that interesting?


I hated being an accountant. Accountants don't make as much money as most people think and the actual work is extremely boring to me. When I was working on my Master's in Accounting, I taught Cost to undergrads. I actually kind of liked it. Much more tolerable than audit.


Your still an accountant or at least that is what you want people to believe by using CPA after your name.   


I am not knocking the CPA.  It is a huge accomplishment.  What I am knocking is your arrogance in writing off the CFP as a little quiz.  Sure the public may know the CPA better than the CFP today, but that is no different than being a lawyer who does financial planning.  The CPA is an accounting credential not a financial planning credential.  If you are so big on taxes you would know VA's and EIA's are probably not the best investment choices and I have found my knowledge of estate planning is what opens up doors to high net worth customers.


VA's and EIA's can be very poor choices for a lot of people. Why do you think that I think otherwise?


Gee I wondewr what gave me the impression that is all you sell


" I get paid 7.5% on evry dollar I place"


10% commission etc, etc, etc.


Dirk A guy like you isn't going to work for 1% a year.  Your all about right now.  It's arrogant and will bite you in the ash one day



Jan 14, 2006 12:47 pm
bankrep1:
Dirk Diggler:
bankrep1:

Dirk,


If accounting is so great why are you not an accountant?  I will tell you I was originally an accounting major when I was in school and quickly learned being a bean counter was not for me.  I still have nightmares about cost accounting, who in the world finds that interesting?


I hated being an accountant. Accountants don't make as much money as most people think and the actual work is extremely boring to me. When I was working on my Master's in Accounting, I taught Cost to undergrads. I actually kind of liked it. Much more tolerable than audit.


Your still an accountant or at least that is what you want people to believe by using CPA after your name.   


I am not knocking the CPA.  It is a huge accomplishment.  What I am knocking is your arrogance in writing off the CFP as a little quiz.  Sure the public may know the CPA better than the CFP today, but that is no different than being a lawyer who does financial planning.  The CPA is an accounting credential not a financial planning credential.  If you are so big on taxes you would know VA's and EIA's are probably not the best investment choices and I have found my knowledge of estate planning is what opens up doors to high net worth customers.


VA's and EIA's can be very poor choices for a lot of people. Why do you think that I think otherwise?


Gee I wondewr what gave me the impression that is all you sell


" I get paid 7.5% on evry dollar I place"


10% commission etc, etc, etc.


Dirk A guy like you isn't going to work for 1% a year.  Your all about right now.  It's arrogant and will bite you in the ash one day





1% a year sucks. All I have is right now. What if I die today? I'd rather that my wife have the money that I earned, not some other broker. I'm not a money manager. I'm an asset raiser. If I'm doing my job, I will always make money.

Jan 14, 2006 1:57 pm

Al E Gator....is good to have you back.

Jan 14, 2006 2:02 pm

Having obtained both designations, I can tell you that from my perspective, The CPA is measurably more difficult than the CFP was, although I would hardly consider the CFP a "quiz".  I also had a CPA/attorney also tell me that the CPA was much harder than the bar exam in his estimation.  When I sat for the exam (I didn't pass on my first attempt), the national first-time pass rate for the CPA exam was less than 20%...just based on that, along with the fact that it was a 19.5-hour test would leave me to believe that there aren't many professional designation exams that are as rigorous. 


On the CFP, I can tell you that I studied consideraly less than I did on the CPA, yet I felt much better leaving the test and I passed on my first attempt (I'm guessing by a safe margin, although they don't disclose scores).


Neither test is particulaly easy, and certainly not as easy as the series 7, but with some effort and sacrifice, they are all passable.  The CPA, while good to gain the confidence of prospects and new clients, really doesn't have much additional benefit for advisors.  If I didn't already have it, I wouldn't have bothered with it.  You can be very successful with a series seven and an insurance license in this business.  A CFP is nice, but not critical, and the CPA is a waste of time...


...just the opinion of a guy who has all of 'em...you're welcome to disagree...

Jan 14, 2006 2:24 pm
Indyone:

Having obtained both designations, I can tell you that from my perspective, The CPA is measurably more difficult than the CFP was, although I would hardly consider the CFP a "quiz".  I also had a CPA/attorney also tell me that the CPA was much harder than the bar exam in his estimation.  When I sat for the exam (I didn't pass on my first attempt), the national first-time pass rate for the CPA exam was less than 20%...just based on that, along with the fact that it was a 19.5-hour test would leave me to believe that there aren't many professional designation exams that are as rigorous. 


On the CFP, I can tell you that I studied consideraly less than I did on the CPA, yet I felt much better leaving the test and I passed on my first attempt (I'm guessing by a safe margin, although they don't disclose scores).


Neither test is particulaly easy, and certainly not as easy as the series 7, but with some effort and sacrifice, they are all passable.  The CPA, while good to gain the confidence of prospects and new clients, really doesn't have much additional benefit for advisors.  If I didn't already have it, I wouldn't have bothered with it.  You can be very successful with a series seven and an insurance license in this business.  A CFP is nice, but not critical, and the CPA is a waste of time...


...just the opinion of a guy who has all of 'em...you're welcome to disagree...



I totally agree. Especially the part about gaining trust and confidence.

Jan 14, 2006 5:07 pm

Indy,


With all due respect the CFP exam was probably easier for you than most considering your tax knowledge as a CPA.  I do believe the CPA is tougher.

Jan 14, 2006 5:44 pm
bankrep1:

Indy,

With all due respect the CFP exam was probably easier for you than most considering your tax knowledge as a CPA.  I do believe the CPA is tougher.


You could have a point, although I can tell you that I struggled with the tax module more than any of the other modules...not so much because of the difficulty of the materials, but rather because they were so dull and in many cases, irrelevant (lots of corporate taxes, etc.).  My guess is that most people going through CFP training will struggle far more with the tax section than any other.  I found insurance pretty dull and irrelevant also (i.e., boiler and marine inland coverage).


...I suppose that "dull and irrelevant" could also explain why the CPA exam is so difficult...

Jan 15, 2006 9:00 pm

Indyone- From my perspective, I found the tax portion to be the most difficult. I thought the value of the designation lies in the exposure to the material rather than the CFP on the door and business card.

Jan 16, 2006 10:44 am

I'm surprised that no one has brought up the cfa designation...I've been looking at both programs (CFA & CFP) and feel as though the CFA may be a more sophisticated program (more suited to higher net worth clients).  Could any CFA's comment on this?

Jan 16, 2006 9:20 pm

My understanding of the CFA is that it is a tough designation...taken in three stages, but that it is a more narrowly focused designation.  While the CFP covers financial planning, insurance, investments, tax, retirement, and estate planning, the CFA focuses on investments, albeit in much greater detail.  The way someone explained it to me,  the CFA is more suitable for research analysts and fund managers.  I chose the CFP because my client base needs a broader range of services and expertise, even if that expertise is not as deep on each subject.

Jan 16, 2006 10:07 pm

The CFA is taken in 3 levels, each building upon the previous.  It
is very "formula" heavy and geared more towards the analytics of
portfolio management, security analysis, and market efficiencies. 
Heavy in evaluating the financials of companies and portfolio
contruction.  It is considerably more difficult than the
CFP.  

Jan 17, 2006 9:37 am
rightway:

The CFA is taken in 3 levels, each building upon the previous.  It is very "formula" heavy and geared more towards the analytics of portfolio management, security analysis, and market efficiencies.  Heavy in evaluating the financials of companies and portfolio contruction.  It is considerably more difficult than the CFP.  


I have no doubt that it's tougher than the CFP...I didn't find the CFP  all that difficult...and that was on a challenge basis.  The CFA, aside from a more difficult test, is probably overkill unless you're an analyst or fund manager.

Jan 17, 2006 9:55 am

Agreed.  However, if you are a retail rep wanting to get into
managing larger portfolios ala pension funds, endowments, etc... the
boards that make decisions on such portfolios are often very smart
and/or high level execs types.  They seek the credential and get a
kick out of quizzing the presenters.  In fact, a question often is
"is there a CFA on the team?"...really.  Otherwise, an advisor
servicing rich families need not have it unless they want the knowledge
and designation for personal reasons.

Jan 17, 2006 8:40 pm

For those of you who have passed the CFP what exam prep material did you use?  I have heard of the Zahn course but also see that Bisys and Keir have a series of books, flashcards and CD-Roms that are supposed to be good.  Has anyone ever used those?

Jan 18, 2006 10:44 am

A CFA designation is a sign to your clients that you take this business seriously as a vocation. It demonstrates capability and diligence.


I wouldn't trust my portfolio to anyone else.

Jan 18, 2006 10:54 am
Sailor25:

A CFA designation is a sign to your clients that you take this business seriously as a vocation. It demonstrates capability and diligence.


I wouldn't trust my portfolio to anyone else.



That's interesting. I've NEVER been asked if I was a CFA. Or a cfp, for that matter.

Jan 18, 2006 11:16 am

I think it would be funny if there was a user on this site named Roller Girl.

Jan 18, 2006 12:01 pm

I think the CFA is more respectable than the CFP.

Jan 18, 2006 12:03 pm

I hope someday investors will rebel against cold-calling hucksters and glad-handed salesmen and turn to knowledgeable investment practitioners who understand the many intricate issues involved with portfolio construction and investment management for individuals.


There would be less reliance on commissioned masters of the universe who spout their self-serving advice to the unwary. There would be less "product" created by monolithic wirehouses to stuff down the throats of retail investors.


As an investor, I would hire people who have professional designations, who are members of local finance societies, who view this profession as a vocation, not a get-rich-quick scheme.


Jan 18, 2006 1:41 pm

Sailor,


investment management is the job of a money manager, a mutual fund manager, portfolio mgr. etc.  If you want a career in investment management so be it, but it is very different from a financial planner.


Most people cannot afford to hire a personal investment manager they do not have the assets and most investment professionals who tend to play that role do more harm than good.  I am not saying your wrong just that they are two very different things, I have no problem saying I have no interest in researching individual companies and reading SEC reports all day.


Why