Financial Planning: 101
Financial Planning introduces students to the financial planning process and
to the technical skills a competent financial planner must possess in order to
serve his or her clients successfully. Students will learn the fundamental elements
of financial planning (insurance, investments, taxation, retirement planning
and employee benefits, and estate planning) and their corresponding interrelationship
in providing comprehensive personal financial planning. This course explores
the financial planning industry and how to develop a financial planning practice:
including the current economic environment, regulation and licensing, reporting
and compliance, and compensation methods. The course defines and reviews the
CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional
Insurance & Risk
Insurance and Risk
Management explores the financial risks that individuals and businesses face
and how they can manage these risks, including the utilization of insurance
solutions. Students will be exposed to the purpose, structure and coverage
options of the following types of insurance: health, disability, long-term care,
life, property and casualty, and more. This course also reviews the taxation
of insurance benefits and how taxation should affect a financial planner’s decision
to recommend insurance solutions under certain circumstances. After completing
the course, students will be able to determine a client’s risk exposure and
develop a comprehensive insurance and risk management plan for his client based
on the client’s goals and objectives.
students to the concepts of risk and return, the differences between equity and
fixed income investments, the mathematics of investing, the evaluation of investment
theories and strategies, and the regulation of the investment industry. The course
explores the difference between fundamental and technical analysis, and students
will perform basic bond and equity valuations. The course introduces modern portfolio
theory (asset allocation, diversification, market timing, and security selection).
The course also introduces the capital asset pricing model, arbitrage pricing
theory, and the efficient market hypothesis. Students calculate investment fees
and expenses, time weighted vs. dollar weighted returns, arithmetic vs. geometric
returns, risk adjusted returns, and after-tax returns. Students will develop
a suitable investment portfolio established to meet a client’s goals and objectives
and prepare an appropriate plan of implementation based on this information.
Planning & Employee Benefits: 104
and Employee Benefits explores the nature and function of retirement plans and
surveys the more common employee benefits companies offer today. The course outlines
the various retirement plans available including government and private plans,
pension plans, individual retirement accounts, and other qualified and non-qualified
retirement plans. Students learn to determine a client’s
eligibility to participate in a retirement plan, calculate a client’s tax
deductible contribution limits, and calculate the taxation of retirement plan
benefits upon distribution. The course includes a complete needs analysis to
determine a client’s expected monetary needs and the associated cash flow
required in a client’s retirement years. Students will recommend an appropriate
plan of action including retirement plan options that achieve the client’s goals
and objectives and compliment the client’s comprehensive financial plan.
Tax Planning delves
into current tax code concepts, issues, and regulations and the resulting
consequences and liabilities to a financial planner’s clients. The course
explores the structure of the code as it pertains to the taxation of
individuals, their businesses, partnerships, trusts, and other legal entities.
The course walks students through personal income tax calculations and the
ramifications of taxable transactions. Students work through practical scenarios
including calculating taxable income, exclusions and deductions, depreciation
and amortization schedules, the alternative minimum tax, and real estate and
business sales and exchanges. The course explores tax management techniques such
as excluding income, deferring income, shifting income, and managing or timing
income. Students will develop tax planning strategies to manage tax liability
and to accumulate assets while minimizing tax consequences. Taxation is studied
as it relates to each of the key areas of financial planning: insurance,
investments, retirement planning, employee benefits, and estate planning.
Students will integrate a client’s financial goals and objectives into a well
developed tax strategy within the context of a comprehensive financial plan.
examines the taxation of gifts, estates, and generation skipping transfers. The
course includes the calculation of the gift tax, estate tax, and generation skipping
transfer tax in consideration of applicable exclusions and deductions. Students
are exposed to estate planning techniques such as lifetime transfers and gifting,
charitable gifting, the utilization of trusts and partnerships, and postmortem
planning. The course emphasizes solving a client’s estate planning
problems by providing students with the tools to develop practical strategies
that focus on a client's goals and objectives and apply current tax law in order
to develop an effective estate plan.
Planning Strategies & Case Studies (Capstone): 107
Financial Planning Strategies and Case Studies serves as the capstone
course for the SMU Program. The case-study format differs from the traditional
lecture format in that students take a more active role in the learning process.
Students complete a number of segmented financial planning cases related to
insurance, investing, taxation, retirement planning and employee benefits, and
estate planning. Students develop both basic and complex comprehensive financial
plans by following the six step financial planning process. Students complete
individual and group work and participate in the presentation of a comprehensive
financial plan to the class. This experience serves as a
model for application as a professional.
- Choose a starting date. Students may join the SMU Program in April or September on the main campus in Dallas, or in January at SMU-in-Plano.
- Choose a track. Students may elect to take one course per quarter, on the Traditional Path, or take 2 courses per quarter on the Pacesetter Path (at a discounted rate). Students in the SMU CPFP in Plano program move through the program one course at at time, at an accelerated pace; each of the seven courses in the program are taught in 6-week modules. For an overview of the course paths, click here.
- Enroll in an Information Session. Offered throughout the year, these 1-hour sessions are packed with information about the SMU Program and the CFP® certification process. Register now.
- Meet program instructors, view prerequisites and course fees.
- Complete the program application. Click here to complete the SMU program application process.
- Register for class. After the application has been approved, students may enroll online, by phone, or by fax. Traditional Path and Plano students begin the program with course 101; Pacesetter Path students begin with courses 101 and 103.