The Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning is registered and approved by the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards. The program is designed for someone who already has an undergraduate degree and is interested in the body of knowledge specified by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards in a formal educational setting. The financial planning courses are delivered online. Students may elect to take the six-course financial planning sequence for credit as part of a MBA degree program (graduate tuition rates apply) or to take the courses on a non-credit basis (certificate tuition applies).
Personal financial planners or financial consultants use their knowledge of investments, estate planning, funding for college, and tax laws to recommend financial options to individuals and help them achieve their short-term and long-term goals. A personal financial advisor meets with the client and obtains information on the client's current financial situation and future financial goals. The financial planner then makes recommendations on saving and investing for retirement, funding for college, estate planning, insurance, and other investment options. The financial planner must take into consideration the client's risk and return preferences in making these recommendations. The financial plan of the client is reviewed and updated periodically. Some financial planners trade securities on behalf of their clients. Many financial advisors manage their client's financial portfolio.
Personal financial advisors could be self-employed, operating small investment advisory firms usually located in urban areas. Financial planners can also be employed by securities and commodity brokers, exchanges, and investment services firms. Banks, savings institutions, credit unions, and insurance firms also employ financial planners.
Although not required to practice, certification can enhance one's professional standing and is strongly recommended by many financial companies, since certification helps to communicate expertise to clients.