I’ve obtained my CFP® certification! Now what?!

I’ve obtained my CFP® certification! Now what?!

Ryan Ovenden, CFP®, Wealth Advisor

If I could describe the journey Nik and I have been on over the last 15 months to earn our CFP® designations in one word, it would be “stretch.”

My gracious family was stretched as story time yielded to study time; nights and weekends were consumed by our additional full-time job…passing this test! Our practices were stretched as we tried to balance all of the daily needs of our clients and running a business while squeezing in a few hours of reading to catch up.

I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but a comparison I’d make would be to the Super Bowl.  We watch the main event and enjoy these amazing athletes competing at the highest level, but don’t often stop to consider the price each of those players has paid to be competing at that level.

This six-hour, 170 question test was our Super Bowl.

In the end, I would estimate we both invested around 1,200 hours into getting to and winning that game.  Looking back, I think we both recognize more than ever the sacrifice that our co-workers, clients and especially our families made over the last 15 months.  THANK YOU!

Was it worth it?

All that for three letters?

I’ve never put a lot of stock in titles or certifications, but would consider myself to be a lifelong learner.  My stubborn devaluation of “letters after my name” had kept me from pursuing designations like this in the past.  Honestly, I still don’t value the letters as much as I value the time and effort that I now understand is what it takes to earn them.

I value the journey, and what it’s taught me.

I remember learning about cells for the first time in 6th grade science. It was mind-blowing and humbling.  In one way, I was smarter because I had a better understanding of how living creatures are actually put together.  On the other hand, this newfound knowledge was humbling because it opened up an entire world of things that I had little understanding about; an understanding that was both scary and humbling.

The CFP® process was a similar experience.

I can now diagram the tax and penalty consequences of a distribution from a Roth IRA in any situation.  I can calculate everything from amortization details on any type of loan, to the profitability of an equipment purchase for your business, to the price you should pay for a piece of investment real estate.

This journey has made me smarter, but in a much greater way, has humbled me.

After our course in tax planning, I have an entirely new respect for the complexity of the tax code and the CPA’s who navigate it alongside us.  After our estate planning course, I admire anyone who would go through the journey, and take on the liability, to be an expert in writing up legal documents.  One move by an attorney, good or bad, can have a financial impact on a family for generations.  More than ever, I’m more convinced that everyone needs a trustworthy and competent attorney and accountant, along with an advisor who can quarterback their financial plan, not just sell them investment products.

I’ve had many people ask me why we did the certification in the first place.

Do you get paid more?  No.

Do you charge more now?  No.

Ultimately, we both did this so that we could better serve you.

So how do these certifications impact you as a current or future client?

You can continue to expect financial advice from us that is in your best interest, every time.  CFP® professionals are held to a fiduciary standard in all interactions.   You can expect us to broaden the areas of your financial life that we want to give advice on, such as home and auto insurance, wills and trusts and tax returns.  You can expect to experience a deeper level of financial planning that better incorporates your values.  You can expect us to ask more pointed and relevant questions in our meetings.  You can expect us to spend more of our time together on cashflow planning and developing resources that make it easier for you to have a plan and track it.  We want to meet your accountant and attorney if we don’t know them already, and want to get you in touch with a good one if you don’t have one.

In short, we think this journey toward the CFP® designation wasn’t about letters at all.

It was about delivering a better experience and product to you, your friends and loved ones who want competent, trustworthy financial advice.

We are excited to continue this journey with you, with more tools in our toolbox.

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