What Do Certified Financial Planners Earn?

Individuals with the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation enjoy an above-average salary range as well as promising current and future job availability. The salary range for a certified financial planner should be viewed in a broad context including experience, length of time in the field, and geographic location.

As with many professional designations, the average income of those who have earned the CFP will vary. This overview article offers current national and regional average salaries for a certified financial planner.

Key Takeaways

  • The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a financial industry credential earned after passing a series of rigorous exams.
  • Those with a CFP credential can be expected to be knowledgeable in topics such as retirement planning, portfolio construction, investments, and insurance.
  • CFP professionals can expect to see a boost in their income compared to those without such a designation.

Requirements for CFP Designation

To put the salary data into context, it's helpful to explore the minimum credentials for this profession. The CFP designation is achieved through an individual's education, work experience, and examination scores. This designation is governed by the CFP Board. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree, specialized financial planning coursework, and three years of experience are prerequisites to becoming a CFP.

After meeting the minimum criteria, the CFP candidate must take the CFP certification examination, which measures the applicant’s proficiency in financial planning scenarios and professional ethics.

Experience Affects CFP Salary

The national salaries of CFPs are largely impacted by an individual's level of experience. According to payscale.com, a crowd-sourced salary information provider, an entry-level CFP with one to four years of experience averages approximately $67,560 per year. At the other end of the spectrum, the late-career CFP with more than 20 years of experience garners an average income of $102,000.

The CFP is one of the fastest-growing and highly compensated fields, with employment opportunities expected to grow by 5% annually from 2020 to 2030. The primary driver of growth for CFP employment is the aging population. Large numbers of baby boomers are expected to approach retirement in the next decade, which will likely create a need for additional planning advice from financial advisors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that during the 2020 to 2030 time period, the field can expect to see 12,600 new workers.

How Long Does It Take to Earn the CFP Designation?

According to the CFP Board, successful candidates can expect to earn certification, on average, between 18-24 months.

What Is the Pass Rate on the CFP Exam?

The most recent statistics from the CFP Board show the pass rate on the CFP Exam to be 65% of test-takers.

What Career Paths Do CFP Professionals Take?

With the CFP credential, financial professionals can go into the fields of financial planning, financial advising, brokerage, insurance, estate planning, and money management, among others.

The Bottom Line

When combining above-average salaries with high levels of job satisfaction and growing job availability, the certified financial planner is a standout career path for the financially-minded individual. The CFP Board website provides in-depth coverage of the certified financial planner designation and instructions regarding entry into the profession.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. CFP Board. "The Certification Process."

  2. Payscale. "Average Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Salary."

  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Personal Financial Advisors."

  4. CFP Board. "Exam Statistics."

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