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					Advertorial for Minneapolis Star Tribune Special “How-To-Guide”
March, 2006

How to Become a Certified Financial Planner
Whether you already are a financial planner or have recently made the decision to enter
the profession, getting your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, or CFP®
certification will no doubt set you apart and identify you as a true professional in this
fast-growing and prestigious field.

Dr. Chan H. Lee, director of Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Financial Planning
Certificate Program says this is one of the most exciting times to begin or expand your
financial planning career.

 “Unprecedented wealth and bright economic prospects have dramatically increased the
demand for quality advice on tax and estate planning, retirement, and investments of all
types,” Lee said. “This is certainly the right time for anyone considering this respected
profession.”

Why Become a CFP®?
According to Lee, achieving the sought-after CFP® certification not only boosts your
career and earning potential, but also gives you instant credibility with clients by assuring
them that you have met rigorous professional standards.

Lee also said that today’s financial planning field is wide open and isn’t just limited to
traditional employment in large brokerage firms. Banks, insurance agencies, and
professional practices such as accounting and law firms that offer financial services all
provide endless opportunities for those with the CFP® certification.

Steps to Certification: “The Four E’s”
Like attorneys, physicians and other professionals, there are several steps that potential
certificants must take to achieve the distinguished CFP® mark. CFP® Board’s
certification requirements are grouped in four areas, commonly called “The Four E’s.”

      Education – Before applying for the CFP® Certification Examination, you must
       complete a CFP® Board-Registered Education Program from a program like
       Minnesota State University Mankato’s. A four-year degree is required.
      Examination – After completing the necessary education requirements, you then
       must pass the CFP® Certification Examination, a comprehensive two-day exam
       that tests your financial planning knowledge.
      Experience -- Those with the CFP® status must also have a minimum of three
       years experience working in the financial planning process prior to earning the
       CFP®.
      Ethics – And, as a final step to certification, CFP® practitioners must pass an
       ethics review and agree to abide by CFP® Board’s Financial Planning Practice
       Standards and a strict code of professional conduct.


First Things First: Choosing an Education Program
The first, and perhaps most important step, is to fulfill the education requirement through
a CFP® Board-Registered Education Program similar to that offered by Minnesota State
University, Mankato.

Genell Hollahan, a CFP® at Prior Lake State Bank in Prior Lake, decided to pursue the
CFP® to increase her knowledge and credibility. She chose Minnesota State University,
Mankato’s program without question. The convenient Twin Cities locations, the flexible
class times that allowed her to continue working, and the in-person, interactive classroom
setting all made Minnesota State Mankato right for her.

“The faculty had both great real-life experience and textbook knowledge. I wanted to
have those people there so I could ask questions,” Hollahan said. “I also wanted to
benefit from the different learning styles being in a classroom offers.”

Hollahan, who graduated from St. Thomas with a degree in finance, has moved up in her
career since receiving her CFP® certification, and says all the work of “The Four E’s”
was well worth it. “Becoming a CFP® has made a difference for me professionally and
has also helped my clients realize I went through great effort to better myself to help
them reach their goals.”

Finding the Right Fit
Before choosing a program, Lee recommends asking others in the field how they earned
their certification, what qualities they would suggest looking for in a program, and how
becoming a CFP® has improved their career. He also recommends thinking about the
career path you ultimately want to pursue so you can make sure the education program
you choose is the best possible fit.

“One of the most important things you can do is simply talk to other professionals,” Lee
said. “Interview others, do your research, get practical experience, and remember that by
becoming a CFP®, it will provide years of prosperity to both clients and yourself.”

For more information about becoming a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER or
Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Program visit www.mnsu.edu/cfp or contact Jean
Clarke, Program Coordinator at 800-311-3142, 507-389-2572 or fpcp@mnsu.edu.




SIDEBAR
Financial Planning: A Promising Profession

     The 2001 Jobs Rated Almanac rates financial planning as the "best job in the
      whole country" because of its high pay, increased autonomy and relatively low
      stress.
     The most recent Survey of Trends in the Financial Planning Industry lists the
      median gross salary earnings after receiving CFP® Certification increased to
      $72,000 per year, with many incomes significantly higher.
     Employment opportunities for CFP®s are expected to grow faster than average.
      According to the 2006-2007 U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook
      Handbook, the demand for CFPs® is expected grow between 21-35 percent
      through 2014.
     Those enrolled in Minnesota State University Mankato’s respected CFP®
      program passed at a significantly higher rate than the national average. On the
      November 2005 exam, an amazing 83 percent of Minnesota State Mankato
      students passed compared to only 63 percent on a national average.

				
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