What Is Retirement Income Certified Professional?

Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) is a professional designation for experienced financial professionals who wish to become experts in retirement income planning. These professionals helps retirees and near-retirees develop a plan for managing and using the assets they have accumulated for retirement to live within a realistic budget and not run out of money prematurely.

Understanding RICP

The RICP program consists of three courses: Retirement Income Process, Strategies and Solutions; Sources of Retirement Income; and Managing the Retirement Income Plan. It is designed for financial professionals who already have a broad-based financial planning credential such as Chartered Financial Consultant, Certified Financial Planner or Chartered Life Underwriter or whose businesses already emphasize retirement income planning. Applicants must have three-plus years of relevant work experience, complete the three online courses, and pass a 100-question exam. RICPs must adhere to a code of ethics and meet continuing education and reporting requirements.

The American College

The American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pa., a non-profit organization offering financial services education, created the RICP designation to serve the financial planning needs of America’s increasing population of retirees and near-retirees. The knowledge required to accumulate retirement savings and to use that savings to generate a comfortable and lasting income in retirement are two separate entities. While many financial professionals are experienced in advising and helping individuals to accumulate retirement assets, the increasing number of retirees means there is a large demand for expertise in how to manage and use those assets.

At the same time, fewer advisers have expertise in subjects such as how to determine when a client is financially prepared to retire, the rate at which retirement savings should be withdrawn, how an individual’s asset allocation should change during retirement, the best age for an individual to start claiming Social Security benefits, how to pay for health care, and nursing home care, late-in-life tax planning, retirement housing and more. RICPs receive specific training to help clients to maintain their customary standard of living throughout retirement, to address income gaps, to create an estate plan and to limit risk. 

The American College of Financial Services notes on its website that it "has helped professionals realize their career goals through rigorous and practical education in financial services. Our mission is clear – we are committed to benefiting society by delivering the highest quality education to the professionals entrusted with the public’s financial well-being. That commitment drives us to a focus on student success, relevant course material, and discovering new solutions for financial security.

"From the creation of our first financial designation in 1927 — the prestigious Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU) insurance specialty — to the recent launch of our groundbreaking Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) designation, The College’s faculty continue to develop and deliver innovative programs that meet the needs of the changing financial landscape."