Archive for July, 2011

Black Belt of Personal Finance


For the past couple of years I have been working towards achieving a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and during the same period I have also been working through the process of achieving my CFP® designation. Last year as I was gearing up to sit for the CFP exam I had an epiphany. The process to obtain a black belt in Tae Kwon Do (and many other martial arts forms) and the process to receive a CFP designation are strikingly similar. Below is a high level look at the requirements for each program.

The black belt curriculum requires each student to accomplish the following:

  • Semi-Monthly testing to advance to the next rank
  • 2-3 years of practice
  • A 16 week testing cycle to demonstrate mastery of all program material
  • A community service project
  • On going practice for life

The CFP certification process requires each applicant to accomplish the following:

  • An undergraduate degree
  • 7 to 8 courses in financial planning each with exams
  • 3 years of industry experience
  • A 10 hour Comprehensive exam to demonstrate mastery of all course material
  • A criminal background check
  • On going continuing education for life

In the martial arts community obtaining your black belt means you are now ready to begin your real training. Likewise in the financial planning industry, receiving your CFP designation means you are now prepared to begin the real journey in financial planning. This is why I feel that the CFP designation is the Black Belt of Financial Planning. An individual who achieves either of these accomplishments has demonstrated their focus and dedication to mastering the skills necessary to become an expert and their commitment to ongoing improvement. A black belt in martial arts provides you with the strength to help others, while a black belt in financial planning provides you with the knowledge to help others.