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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

The author is paid for product endorsements and has an ownership or other financial interest in the businesses related to the topics covered.

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Certified financial planner

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: Why do you criticize the CFP designation?

A: My comments apply to only a minority of CFPs and the criticism is of the CFP Board policies, not individual planners. The criticism is simply a matter of the lack of educational and experience requirements to become a CFP. By the CFP Board's own admission, about one in ten Certified Financial Planners do not have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in a business-related field and there is no experience requirement or peer review requirement of a CFP's work. If the decision were left up to me, anyone offering their service as an adviser should have at least the equivalent of a master's degree in their field. Some CFPs have shown that they posses an academic knowledge of the field, but do not have the broad-based experience that the public deserves in any professional. In short, some CFPs (certainly not all) are simply using the designation to imply a level of credibility that, in reality, is not there. My articles on the topic simply suggest that a person searching for a financial adviser should use different criteria of evaluation.


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