Finishing Thoughts on My CFP® Journey

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In the fall of 2013, I decided to use my G.I. Bill entitlement to enroll in the College for Financial Planning’s CFP® (Certified Financial Planner) certificate course. I slowly made my way through the six courses: Financial Planning Process and Insurance, Investment Planning, Income Tax Planning, Retirement Planning and Employee Benefits, Estate Planning, and Financial Plan Development. Along the way, I picked up a lot of useful info and some not so useful – I hardly think I’ll ever be in a position to need to deal with the generation-skipping transfer tax, for example. But having made my way through the courses, I decided that I would feel incomplete if I didn’t continue on and take the CFP® certification exam at the end of it all.

So I took the exam in March of this year and, along with 65% of all others who took it, found out last week that I passed! I was pleasantly surprised, considering that every other person in my classes along the way was already working in the financial industry. There were definitely no other professional musicians doing it for fun!

I can’t call myself a CFP® – I need a good amount of professional experience in the field to do that – but I’m proud of myself for taking the classes and passing the exam anyway.

The exam itself was both harder and easier than my practice tests. There were a lot of concepts that I studied that never showed up at all, and others that I really second-guessed my answers on. But that makes sense, as the exam is in two sections of 85 questions each. There’s only so much material that can be covered in 170 questions. I walked away from it thinking I probably passed but not really confident one way or the other. I was definitely relieved to get my results! I do wish I could know how many questions I got right; the CFP® board only gives out Pass/Fail results, not any scores.

At any rate, I feel much more qualified to handle our own finances now, as well as those of friends and family members I help out, and I’ve always got this in my back pocket if I decide I want to pursue a job in the field.

I still have some G.I. Bill money left – what do I want to learn next?

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