What Is a Retirement Income Certified Professional?

A retirement income certified professional (RICP) is a financial professional who specializes in retirement income planning. Financial professionals earn the RICP designation after following the program for retirement income professionals.

Once qualified, RICPs advise retirees and near-retirees as to the best way to use the assets they have accumulated for retirement to live comfortably within a realistic budget and not run out of money prematurely.

Key Takeaways

  • A retirement income certified professional (RICP) specializes in retirement income planning.
  • The RICP is a designation given to professionals who have completed the RICP training program.
  • RICPs help retirees and near-retirees to use the assets they have accumulated for retirement sustainably.

Understanding RICP

The RICP program consists of three courses: retirement income process, strategies, and solutions; sources of retirement income; and managing a retirement income plan. The program 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. Applicants are also required to 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.

To take the RICP program, applicants must already be financial professionals such as a chartered financial consultant, a certified financial planner, or a chartered life underwriter.

The American College

The American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, 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 the following:

  • 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

RICPs receive specific training to help clients maintain their customary standard of living throughout retirement, address income gaps, create an estate plan, and limit risk.

Fast Fact

The growing number of retirees is creating demand for financial professionals who can guide people in the optimal use of their assets during retirement not just how to save for retirement as they age.

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." It adds that "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."