Shakespeare Blog: View from the Lake

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Tip of the Month | December 2023

Overview of Financial Certifications

Written By: Ryan Rink, CFP®, EA, ChFC®, CLTC®

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You may have noticed each Shakespeare advisor has at least one certification behind their name. But what do those acronyms stand for, and what do they mean? Here is a brief overview of the most common designations our advisors hold:

CFP® (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™): This is the gold standard in the financial planning industry. All Shakespeare advisors have their CFP® designation. CFP® professionals are required to meet rigorous education, training and ethical standards, and are fiduciaries that must act in their clients’ best interest. Financial advisors who earn the CFP® certification must demonstrate proficiency in risk management (insurance), investments, tax, retirement, income and estate planning. This means they are able to provide comprehensive services across a broad spectrum of financial planning areas.

CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst®): This is the premier designation in investment management. CFA® charterholders must demonstrate expertise in financial research, portfolio management, investment consulting, risk analysis and risk management. Candidates must pass three difficult exams, have a bachelor’s degree, and have at least four years of professional experience in order to obtain the designation.

EA (Enrolled Agent): Enrolled agents specialize in taxation. EAs must pass a rigorous three-part exam covering individual and business taxation, as well as ethical standards. By having an EA as your financial planner, you gain access to a wealth of tax-specific knowledge that can significantly impact your financial decisions.