CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Certificate

Take the next step to earn your CFP® credential.

Program Fast Facts

  • Start date: January 18, 2022
  • Two evenings a week for most courses
    Saturdays for capstone course
  • Live Online
  • 11-24 months
  • 4,745 Priority Tuition
    (expires 1/4/22)
    $4,995 Standard Tuition

Courses

Fundamentals of Financial Planning will introduce you to the CFP® financial planning process as well as the technical skills a competent financial planner must possess to serve his or her clients successfully.

You'll learn:

  • The fundamental elements of financial planning (insurance, investments, taxation, retirement planning and estate planning) and their role in providing a comprehensive personal financial plan.
  • An overview of the financial planning industry and how to develop a financial planning practice. This includes the current economic environment, regulation and licensing, reporting and compliance, and compensation methods.
  • The CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

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Insurance and Risk Management surveys the financial risks that individuals and businesses face and how they can be mitigated through effective risk transfer.

You'll learn:

  • the purpose, structure and coverage options of various types of insurance including health, disability, long-term care, life, property and casualty.
  • the taxation of insurance benefits and how taxation should affect a financial planner’s decision to recommend insurance solutions.
  • how to determine a client’s risk exposure and develop a comprehensive insurance and risk-management plan based on the client’s goals and objectives.

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Investments will familiarize you with the concepts of risk and return, equity and fixed income instruments, asset pricing models, the application of investment theories and strategies, and the regulation of the investment industry.

You'll learn:

  • how to develop a suitable investment portfolio based on a client’s tolerance for risk balanced against their plan’s required rate of return.
  • modern portfolio theory which includes the capital asset pricing model, arbitrage pricing theory and the efficient market hypothesis.
  • the appropriate uses of fundamental and technical analysis.
  • how to calculate investment fees and expenses, time-weighted vs. dollar-weighted returns, arithmetic vs. geometric returns, risk-adjusted returns and other performance measures.  

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Retirement Planning and Employee Benefits explores the nature and function of retirement plans and surveys the more common employee benefits. The course outlines retirement plans including government and private plans, pension plans, individual retirement accounts, and other qualified and non-qualified retirement plans.

You'll learn:

  • How 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.

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Tax Planning delves into current tax code concepts, issues, and regulations and the resulting consequences and liabilities for 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.

You’ll learn:

  • the structure of the code as it pertains to the taxation of individuals, their businesses, partnerships, trusts and other legal entities. You’ll 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.
  • tax-management techniques such as excluding income, deferring income, shifting income and managing or timing income.
  • how to 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.
  • how to integrate a client’s financial goals and objectives into a well-developed tax strategy within the context of a comprehensive financial plan.

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Estate Planning examines the taxation of gifts, estates and generation-skipping transfers, including the calculation of the gift tax, estate tax and generation-skipping transfer tax in consideration of applicable exclusions and deductions.

You’ll learn:

  • estate planning techniques such as lifetime transfers and gifting, charitable gifting, the utilization of trusts and partnerships and postmortem planning.
  • how to solve a client’s estate-planning problems with practical strategies that focus on a client's goals and objectives and apply current tax law in order to develop an effective estate plan.

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Financial Planning Strategies and Case Studies serves as the capstone course for the SMU PRO CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Certificate program. Students will follow the CFP® Planning process as they explore various financial planning case studies. The goal is to develop their ability to recognize areas of vulnerability, and recommend appropriate corrective actions. This course is designed to bring all of the aforementioned planning disciplines together to create a cohesive, and effective financial plan.

In this class, you’ll:

  • develop both basic and complex, comprehensive financial plans by following the seven-step financial-planning process.
  • 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 CFP® professional.
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