Steps to Become Financially Fit:

  • Build a Budget
  • Create an Emergency Fund
  • Protect Your Credit
  • Plan for the Long Term
  • Remember To Review


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Building Your Financial Plan - Why Choose a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™?
elderly couple meeting with a consultant

Financial planning is a dynamic process with many steps. Oftentimes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to figure out your finances without the help of a professional. As your financial goals evolve over time, managing your financial future grows in importance. With the help of a Certified Financial Planner™, or CFP®, you can easily plan for your short and long-term goals.

What is a CFP®?
A certified financial planner is typically someone with years of experience related to financial planning, and has passed the comprehensive CFP® Certification Exam. Anyone can call themselves a “financial planner,” so it’s best to make sure they have passed their exam, and are a qualified CFP®.

When should you contact a CFP®?
As your life changes, contacting a CFP® can help you stay on track with your financial goals. If you’ve had a change in marital status, a new baby, a new job, or maybe you’re just planning for future milestones, these are all reasons to talk to your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™.

Six steps to Financial Planning:
According to the CFP® Board’s Consumer Guide to Financial Planning, there are six steps to the financial planning process.

  1. Set expectations with your CFP®.

    Your first meeting with your CFP® will be an introductory meeting to establish respective responsibilities, the nature of the services, and cost of the services.

  2. Goal setting.

    After the first meeting, you will follow up with them by discussing your current financial situation, goals, and amount of risk you’re willing to take. Remember to bring in any important financial statements to this meeting.

  3. Analysis and Strategy.

    Now, your CFP® will analyze your financial situation, and begin to create a plan to pursue your goals within the timeframe set. This can include analyzing your household’s cash flow, tax situation, insurance needs, assets, and liabilities.

  4. CFP® Provides Recommendations.

    The CFP® analysis of your financial situation will produce actionable recommendations to reach toward your financial goals. Your CFP® should explain why each recommendation will put you closer to your goals, ask for your feedback, and make any revisions necessary. You are not obligated to follow their advice if the plan does not suit your needs and goals, or you can offer suggestions or changes that better suit your goals.

  5. Carry out your plan.

    After you have a plan that works for you, and will help you pursue your goals, you can begin to put actionable steps into motion. Your CFP® will help you to implement any recommendations.

  6. Watch your progress.

    Keep in regular contact with your CFP® for as long as you wish to retain their counsel, and coordinate with your CFP® to determine who is in charge of implementing each of the recommendations. Remember that you are always able to end the relationship with your current CFP®, and contact a different planner.

When using a CFP® and implementing a financial plan, remember you can take full control of your financial situation at any time.

Lastly, consider these benefits of using a CFP® to manage your finances:

  • Provides confidence that you are working with professionals that are held to rigorous professional and ethical standards.
  • Able to help you handle sudden life changes.
  • Cares about protecting your finances, and wants to help you achieve your goals.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There are many factors to consider in addition to professional designations when choosing a financial professional for your specific situation.