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Anyone who has taken the CFP exam . . .

I ‘d appreciate any info about how difficult it is and how you prepared. I got Rattiner’s study guide and am considering going through it and giving the exam a shot this fall. Thanks in advance.

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I got my Concealed Firearm Permit (CFP) WITHOUT reading anything. Too easy.

Dude that is sick. Sick

In a good way I mean.

Why CFP?

I’m considering starting an investment advisory practice as sort of a hobby and presumably will be dealing with individuals (to the extent I have any clients at all). The CFP seems like it might be somewhat useful in that context and it also seems somewhat interesting. I’ve met the education requirement so it would cost only $595 and whatever time I spend studying. I expect I already know quite a bit of the material and whatever I learned would be useful to me personally in any case. Financial planning is not my main interest and I haven’t made up my mind about the exam. Should I not bother?

CFP to cover the tax-related topics not covered in CFA… i guess that’s the only reason why anybody would do it.

If you are dealing with individuals it also seems to me they may have heard of the CFP or run into someone else who has it, whereas they probably won’t be familiar with the CFA. That is to the extent either means anything at all to them.

I wouldn’t say don’t bother because if your practice became something larger in the future, it would be good to have that credential. I’m not too familiar with CFP other than a friend said it’s much easier than the CFA program. I guess it all depends on opportunity costs because the price is pretty negligible. Mind you, I’m not so interested in learning how to manage estates and tax structures as compared to equity analysis, although that stuff is very important. Why the hell not? The economy sucks, it’s the best time to get educated.

Unfortunately the opportunity cost to me is pretty negligible right now as well. Good point about the timing. Also, I think the estate planning and tax stuff is interesting.

I thought you were a lawyer?

I guess you’re tired of screwing people with the law so now you’ll just take their money outright.

"Ask me how to clean the Shewee"

Unfortunately I don’t much like practicing law. What’s your beef with lawyers by the way? I agree with the folks who say things are over-lawyered in the US, but come on.

I second Ali’s response… why not? Do as much as you can to learn (and get the credentials/designations to prove it).

As long as you have the time and that the benefits of getting the CFP outweigh the opportunity costs. Or think of it this way: Is that the best option you have in utilizing your time? I.e., look into other designations/self-study that’s relevant to your career path.

Yeah, that’s always good advice I guess. Thanks.

Were you doing corporate law CW?

egregiously inefficient allocation of human capital AND in many cases the act of practicing law leads to escalating pain, fear, suffering and further egregious deeds.

It’s just a sick cycle of pain… Lawyers need to make money. They make things complicated. Then you need more lawyers to understand (and protect yourself) as the things have gotten so complicated. Rinse and repeat.

After law school & borrowing $zillions in insidius full-recourse stuck with it forever student debt, graduates have little choice but to work for some chop shop problem causing bill by nanosecond law firm that’s only goal is to make money. How do they make money? FEAR. How are they incentivized? Let’s sue this company. Let’s sue that company. Let’s make the contract longer. Then those companies need lawyers for protection. It’s a rapidly escalating cycle of violence and stupidy. PURE STUPIDITY. I ran a business for 14 years and whenever lawyers were involved EVERYBODY lost (except the lawyers who always tried to scare their clients into needing more legal services, and thus losing more money). How were problems ALWAYS solved? Both parties spent enough on stupidity (lawyers) and finally realized they need to sit down and figure it out.
FEAR is a lawyers friend. Stupidity feeds the machine. Keeping their client scared & stupid is the tactic. I can go on but I’m sure you already know this.

I once was talking to a big cheez head of a law firm about a company I worked at (not a law firm) that had to hire a family member. I grumbled to him that there wasn’t enough work for that family member. The lawyers response was “don’t worry, new positions always seem to find a place, they’ll find work.” I got pissed. It’s not a f’ing law firm where lawyers create work by going over client files?!!

Law schools should advertise, “Can’t do math? Hate blood? Still want to get rich?… come be a lawyer!” Losers! Anyway, I sold my biz in nyc and now live on the west coast. As I contemplate starting another biz I think carefully about lawyer exposure.

"Ask me how to clean the Shewee"

Haha, read Ten Roads to Riches by Ken Fisher KJH. Your post was like reading his words ;)

KJH, I think there is something to what you say but your last post seems way over the top to me. That said, my exposure to the legal world has been pretty limited and I’ve been fortunate to have clients that are sophisiticated enough to draw their own conclusions about risks and thus not amenable to being scared into racking up legal bils. I really have no exposure to speak of to about 99.9% of the legal world.

TheAliMan, yes, I was a Wall Street lawyer (in the sense that I represented “Wall Street” financial institutions doing financial transactions and worked in Manhattan, in the financial district and then in midtown). I really didn’t like it very well for a couple of reasons (although I think there’s a lot to be said for it objectively).

“Windjammer” may say it all…. > The looooooong hours required, on, perhaps, endless mind-numbing documents and nitpicking/negotiation/revision? I know some lawyers who hate their jobs for that reason. Dying to break out and live lives of real meaning.

While I sense in large strata of the profession KJH’s criticisms have merit, I also know that with many other strata the opposite is true and are necessary for a just and efficient society. When someone is truly wronged, it is excellent that ready legal recourse is available in the USA. In many societies, even Western, that is just not the case, meaning the little guy gets crushed and the system doesn’t change for the better, or if it does only glacially.

Of course the good vs. evil actor distinction goes as well within the business realm. Someone will always be out to screw you. Yet I’ve found it much easier to discern when that’s underway (and so avoid getting screwed) when something other than legal advice & consequences are in play.

whats the average you can make in personal finance with good credentials and 5 years of experience?

There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it - Oscar Wilde

Top guys make about $1 million after 10 plus years of experience usually they own their own shop. These guys are top 1%

Not sure about the average. My sense is that the average for people who actually work as in put in full time hours is about $100k.

Its either the easiest low paying job or the hardest high paying job.

There are lost of people who work out of their house, look after a few family and friends and there are also a lot working in abnks etc making small salaries plus bonus that bring down the averages.

(Damn since we’re not going to bash lawyers anymore…)

Aren’t there a few different business models that a CFP can follow:

(1) fee only, maybe they get $1500 to create a plan and $500/year to update the plan, The client may execute the plan,

(2) kickbacks from the mutual funds they buy on behalf of the client

(3) fee based on a % of assets being managed.

Is this right? Are there others? What model do most CFPs follow?

"Ask me how to clean the Shewee"

Im a CFP working in Wealth Management attempting to make the jump over to the analyst area, but pretty happy with where I am at currently.

Rattiner’s study guide is OK.I went to his three day live review course when I was taking it and ended up failing the exam the first time (completely underestimated it!) Second time around I took Ken Zahn and found his approach to be a better fit for me.

compared to the CFA exam, the CFP has the 5 module requirements (those are easy tests), but the comprehensive exam is not a walk in the park. First, it is subjective in some areas (what issues SHOULD the CFP address first? Wills or Umbrella Policy?). Second, it is a two day test. This messes with your head and is a tough exam to sit for. However, the comprehensive final is about as hard as Level 1 CFA.

In volume, the CFP comp exam covers about 6 text books worth of material. Each level of the CFA is about 5 text books, give or take.


People suggest that the fee only model is the most unbiased and professional. It works more like a billing for time spent like you suggest but the cost per plans can be quite a bit more depending on the complexity of the work required. While you can go anywhere to implement the plan they might have somebody to “refer” you to or they might offer in house services where they sell you the investment or insurance products. They will usually have a network of lawyers and accountants to complete other aspects of the plan. With large enough accounts they will refer you to a PM.

The mutual fund kick backs are commission on the sale of the prodcut and then an ongoing fee to work with the cleitn watch the account and the manager etc.

The % of AUM is said to be fee for service but it is really just like the ongoing fee of a mutual fund in many ways although there can be some tax benefits. It is just billed directly to the client or the cleint’s account

The first model gets a lot of attention but it is not that common. The last model is getting more traction but still lagging.

The middle model is for better or worse probably still the most common. The compensation is bundled with sale of an investment or an insurance product. It has many problems probably the biggest is that there is not a direct relationship between the demands of each individual client and the amount they are charged it is just assumed that a cleint with more money will demand more time and therefor the dollar amount they pay is larger.

KJH Wrote:
> (Damn since we’re not going to bash lawyers
> anymore…)
> Aren’t there a few different business models that
> a CFP can follow:
> (1) fee only, maybe they get $1500 to create a
> plan and $500/year to update the plan, The client
> may execute the plan,
> (2) kickbacks from the mutual funds they buy on
> behalf of the client
> (3) fee based on a % of assets being managed.
> Is this right? Are there others? What model do
> most CFPs follow?



Sorry for the multiple posts internet slow.



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"Ask me how to clean the Shewee"