What Is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC)?
Chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC) is a professional designation awarded by the College for Financial Planning to candidates who successfully complete its study program and pass a final examination.
A CRPC designation is seen as a boost for a financial planner's job opportunities, professional reputation, and pay prospects.
Successful applicants earn the right to use the CRPC designation with their names for two years. Every two years, CRPC professionals must complete 16 hours of continuing education and pay a small fee to continue using the designation.
- A chartered retirement planning counselor has earned a professional designation awarded by the College for Financial Planning.
- The study program includes training in making a comprehensive assessment of an individual's financial needs before or after retirement, including sources of retirement income, personal savings, income taxes, estate planning, and more.
- Individuals who have earned the CRPC designation report a 9% increase in earnings, according to the college.
The Role of a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC)
CRPCs are not the same as certified financial planners (CFP). The CFP provides advisory services across all aspects of an individual's personal financial affairs while CRPCs are focused on retirement planning.
The CRPC program is developed with a focus on client-centered problem-solving. Applicants learn how to gain an in-depth knowledge of their clients' needs both before and after retirement.
The College for Financial Planning describes the program as helping financial planners and advisers define and create a "road map for retirement" for their clients. The study program to become a CRPC covers the entire retirement planning process, including meeting multiple financial objectives, sources of retirement income, personal savings, employer-sponsored retirement plans, income taxes, retirement cash flow, asset management, estate planning, and more.
Salary Expectations of CRPC-Certified Planners
Individuals who have earned the CRPC designation report a 9% increase in earnings, according to the college.
Graduates also can test out of two out of the six courses in the college's CFP Certified Professional Education Program. Completing the course can provide up to 45 hours of continuing education credits.
Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor Program Details
As of 2023, the cost of the CRPC training course is $1,350. Applicants who are currently employed in the financial services industry may be eligible for a discount.
Training is on an open enrollment basis, meaning individuals may enroll and start at any time. Live online and on-demand classes are offered.
Candidates must pass the program's final examination within one year of enrolling and take the exam within six months of enrolling. If unsuccessful, additional test attempts will cost $100 each.
For more information, see the College for Financial Planning's CRPC informational page. To enroll, follow this link.
Which Exam Is Toughest?
Of the 200 or so certification that individuals may earn in financial services, the toughest is said to be the chartered financial analyst designation from the CFA Institute. Most of those who sit for the exam already have a degree and a background in finance, accounting, economics, or business. The three-part exam tests knowledge of the fundamentals of investment tools, asset valuation, portfolio management, and wealth planning.
CRPC Program Topics
CRPC program course topics include:
- Maximizing the Client Experience During the Retirement Planning Process
- Principles and Strategies When Investing for Retirement
- Making the Most of Social Security Retirement Benefits
- Bridging the Income Gap: Identifying Other Sources of Retirement Income
- Navigating Health Care Options in Retirement
- Making the Emotional and Financial Transition to Retirement
- Designing Optimal Retirement Income Streams
- Achieving Tax and Estate Planning Objectives in Retirement
- Fiduciary, Ethical, and Regulatory Issues for Advisers
Once enrolled, CRPC candidates have access to the college's online student portal. This contains written study materials, streaming video lectures, interactive quizzes, and access to live classes when they are in session.
How Long Does It Take to Obtain a CRPC?
Most applicants can expect to spend between 90 and 135 hours on course-related activities before sitting for the exam, according to Kaplan Financial Education. Classes can be taken online, either live or on demand.
What Are the Average income and Job Prospects for a CRPC?
The average base salary for a person with CRPC certification is $72,000, according to Payscale. Note that many people are already working in the field when they decide to go for CRPC certification. The College for Financial Planning says those professionals report a 9% increase in their earnings after acquiring certification.
What Are the Various Professional Designations for Financial Professionals?
There are more than 200 designations available to financial professionals, but a few of the most common acronyms are enough for most of us:
- Certified financial planner (CEP) is a formal designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards to professionals who pass its initial exams and participate in its annual ongoing educational programs. Professionals who have this credential can advise individuals on a broad range of financial issues from budgeting to long-term savings and investing.
- Certified public accountant (CPA) is a license awarded by a state's Board of Accountancy after the applicant passes a rigorous examination. Not all accountants are CPAs, and CPAs often wind up in executive positions.
- Chartered financial analyst (CFA) is a professional designation given by the CFA Institute, which certifies the competence and integrity of financial analysts. CFAs are candidates for positions as portfolio managers or investment analysts.
- Chartered financial consultant (ChFC) has completed a study program offered by the American College of Financial Services. The designation indicates the person's ability to offer advice on the full range of financial issues. It is similar to the CFP designation, and opinions vary on which credential is better.
Is a CFA Better Than a CFP?
If you're headed for a career in the financial services industry, which is better depends on where you want to go.
A chartered financial analyst (CFA) is skilled in investment analysis and portfolio management. They often work at big investment firms, mutual funds, or hedge funds, as they are qualified to research potential investments, recommend them, buy and sell them, and manage them.
CFA certification is awarded by the CFA Institute to those who pass three six-hour exams renowned for their difficulty.
A certified financial planner (CFP) has an in-depth knowledge of personal and family financial matters such as budgeting, investing, retirement planning, and insurance. The CFP is most often found working with individuals, helping them create a long-term financial plan and manage their money.
CFP certification is awarded by the CFP Board based on a test that is taken in two sessions lasting three hours each. It has 170 questions on a wide range of personal financial planning topics.
The Bottom Line
The CRPC program was initially designed with the needs of baby boomers in mind. That is, the College of Financial Planning recognized the need for this generation to prepare for an increasingly complex set of concerns about retirement savings, estate planning, and taxes.
Now, it's Gen X's turn to worry about retirement. Or, if they're wise, the generations represented by letters at the end of the alphabet might be wise to look down the road.
Americans of whatever age may need some sound advice about retirement planning. A financial advisor with a CRPC designation has the right skill set.