Take the next step to earn your CFP® credential.

Program Fast Facts

  • Start date: September 23, 2024
  • Mondays and/or Wednesdays
    6 — 9:30 p.m.
  • On Campus
  • 11-24 months
  • 675-875 per course


All courses are taught by instructors with extensive professional experience. All instructors are CFP® practitioners and most also hold an advanced academic degree (M.B.A., J.D., and so on), or other appropriate professional licenses or designations (such as CPA, CFA, etc.). SMU CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Certificate instructors use the financial planning topics as outlined by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. as a framework for teaching each course.

The SMU CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Certificate  program curriculum was developed by integrating the CFP Board’s required topic list, traditional textbook curriculum and well-known CFP® Certification Examination review material. The result is a CFP Board-registered program that combines sound financial planning principles, theory and strategy with practical skills in development and implementation.


Instructor Melissa Brennan

Melissa Brennan, CFP®
Financial Planning Capstone

Melissa Brennan began her career as a high school social studies teacher. A desire to learn personal financial management led her to take CFP® classes through UNT. She earned her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM designation in 2001. She still loves teaching and volunteered with TEA to re-write the Texas TEKS for high school Economics and Personal Finance classes. Melissa is an active member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA). She currently serves on the FPA of Dallas/ Fort Worth chapter’s Board of Directors. She has been recognized by her peers in the financial planning community as one of D Magazine’s Best Financial Planners since 2012. She does pro bono work through the her church, the FPA, and Wings for Widows, a 501(c)3 charity that she helped bring to North Texas. Melissa lives in Plano with her husband Bob and their daughter, Abby. Abby is a high school senior studying biochemistry in the fall. Her brother Aidan is a senior Anthropology student at University of Arkansas.

Financial Planning Capstone

Instructor Erick Carlos

Erick Carlos, CFP®
Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits

Erick Carlos is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional and the cofounder of Texas Private Wealth Advisors and Texas Private Wealth Insurance Group in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex.  With over 20 years of extensive knowledge in the financial and insurance arenas, Erick knows the significance in crafting a uniquely tailored financial plan to help his clients better understand and navigate the financial markets with confidence and determination.  Erick believes in the old saying "those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”

Erick earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Management from Park University and received his Master of Business Administration degree from Webster University.  He completed his financial planning program through Southern Methodist University and earned his CFP® designation.  In addition to his FINRA Series 7 & 66 securities licenses (held though LPL), he has attained his General Lines insurance licenses through the State Of Texas.  Erick also serves as a board member for the Finance Committee of his local church, The Good Shepard Catholic Church.  In his off time, he loves to spend time traveling with his wife Sara and son Nick whether it be for fun and adventure or for Nick's soccer games. 

Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits

Eric Dyson

Eric C. Dyson, CFP®
Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
AIF® (Accredited Investment Fiduciary)
B.S., U.S. Naval Academy

Eric Dyson is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. After graduation, he served for ten years as a highly decorated nuclear trained submarine officer.
Eric is currently the Executive Director of his own company, RFP 401k Advisor. His provides consulting services in conducting ERISA advisor searches and RFPs for plan sponsors, expert witness services and will serve as an ERISA Plan committee member.

He has 28 years of experience in financial services; the majority of which has been as an ERISA advisor. He has served as an ERISA 3(21) advisor and an ERISA 3(38) advisor serving clients on defined contribution plans and defined benefit plans, including ERISA and non-ERISA plans.

He has served as a board member for Southwest Benefits Association. He serves as a volunteer to the Director of Enforcements and Investigations for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. As needed and when available, he assists in investigations regarding ERISA Plans. He has also worked with the United States Department of Labor assisting with plan investigations.

Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits

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R. Bradley Fletcher
Estate Planning

Brad Fletcher is a partner at Strasburger & Price, LLP. His practice focuses primarily on advising clients on estate planning, probate and trust law, representing nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, and representing clients in controversies with the IRS and state taxing authorities.

His estate and trust planning practice involves preparing wills and trusts, probate, marital deduction trusts, life insurance trusts, minor’s trusts, gift planning, marital property agreements and family-limited partnerships. Brad also practices in the area of estate and trust administration, including probate and trust litigation and the preparation of gift and estate tax returns and handling tax controversies and audits.

Brad’s representation of nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations involves creating such entities (trusts and nonprofit corporations as both private foundations and public charities), preparing applications for tax-exempt status (Forms 1023 and 1024), representing nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations before the IRS and state taxing authorities, and advising nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations on issues unique to such organizations.

Estate Planning

Sergio Garcia

Sergio G. Garcia, CFP®
Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
EA (Enrolled Agent)
M.S., Personal Financial Planning, Texas Tech University
B.S., Personal Financial Planning, Texas Tech University

Sergio is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional working with individuals and families in his position as Financial Planner at his firm, Brennan Financial Services. Sergio’s work with clients covers all areas of financial planning and is delivered thoughtfully with an eye toward helping clients truly understand their plan.

Sergio’s passion for financial planning comes through not only in his work with clients, but in his dedication to serving in roles to further advance the profession. Sergio is a member of the Financial Planning Association serving on the board of the Dallas / Fort Worth chapter and is a board member with the Dallas Estate Planning Council. Sergio has been nominated by his peers to D Magazines list of “Best Financial Planners in Dallas.” Sergio maintains FINRA Series 7, 63, and 66 licenses.

Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits

Roy Gray

Roy E. Gray, CFP®
Insurance & Risk Management

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
Kaplan University
Spartan University of Aeronautics
U.S. Navy

Roy Gray is the Vice President of Munn & Morris Financial Advisors, Inc., an independent branch of Raymond James. Roy has been assisting clients in the development of financial plans and strategies to help individuals and families achieve their goals since 2001. Roy's practice involves all areas of financial planning, including the development of spending plans, family protection plans, risk tolerance assessment, development and implementation of investment and income plans, tax reduction education and wealth transfer strategies. In addition to the CFP® designation, Roy maintains a Series 7, 63 and 65 registration as well as holding Property & Casualty, Life, Health and Long-term Care insurance licenses in many states.

Insurance & Risk Management

Instructor Bryan Jackson

Bryan Jackson, CFP®, Program Director

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
B.B.A, James Madison University

Bryan C. Jackson, CFP®, is an investment advisor with Vision Point Advisory Group. Since 2004, Bryan has focused his practice on the complex planning needs of the business community. Bryan specializes in institutional qualified and non-qualified retirement plan design. He works closely with C-Suite executives, business owners and human resource professionals to create retirement plans that will help achieve a dignified and meaningful retirement. Bryan also provides comprehensive financial planning and specialized consulting tailored to the unique needs of the business community, including succession planning and executive retention.

Bryan holds a Texas Department of Insurance Group 1 License, and a Series 65 Securities License. He is also a member of the Financial Planning Association.


Instructor Bill Larson

Bill Larson, CFP®
Tax Planning

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
B.B.A., University of Notre Dame

Bill’s financial planning practice targets the underserved markets of those just beginning their careers, middle income workers and retirees to educate his clients to take ownership of their financial position. He charges strictly a per-hour fee.

In two previous careers, he was an audit partner at Touche Ross (now Deloitte) where practice areas included steel manufacturing, fabrication, metals recycling, machine tooling, plastic resin manufacturing, real estate leasing and development, property and casualty insurance, cafeterias, pension and welfare benefit plans. Teaching experience includes numerous national training programs and local technical subject areas.

Bill was also the SVP and CFO of Commercial Metals Company (NYSE – CMC, a Fortune 400 company) where he had oversight for corporate accounting, treasury, tax, information technology, investor relations, SOX compliance and control monitoring, human resources and payroll, shared services, business risk management assessment and office administration.

Tax Planning

Eric Michaud

Eric Michaud, CFP®
Financial Planning Capstone

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
M.B.A., University of Dallas
B.B.A., Management, Baylor University

Eric Michaud started in the industry in the brokerage business with a national brand in 2005, working in Margin and Credit Risk Management. He is currently working in an advisor role for a retirement planning firm in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Along with his current work and helping his clients with their financial planning needs and preparing for retirement, he is passionate about mentoring new advisors within his firm as well as providing ongoing assistance within his team. His interest in coaching new advisors with his current role and past roles as a manager has led him to continue his efforts by reaching outside of his organization to a teaching position in SMU's CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Certificate program.

Financial Planning Capstone

Phil Nguyen

Phil H. Nguyen, CFP®

Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)
Certified Portfolio Manager (CPM®)
Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®)

Phil H. Nguyen is a branch director and a wealth management advisor[AK1], and he has been in the financial services industry since 1998. Phil helps clients develop strategies to manage their personal and business finances. He specializes in investment strategies and portfolio and risk management. Phil previously worked at HP for 16 years as an Engineer, Project Manager, District Manager, Corporate Finance Manager and a Venture Capitalist. He holds an E.E. degree and an M.B.A.


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Kyle Post
Estate Planning

LL.M., New York University School of Law
J.D., Arizona State University College of Law
B.S., Arizona State University

Kyle Post has practiced law with a large international law firm, boutique firm, and as a sole practitioner. Kyle practices in the areas of federal income tax planning, estate planning, estate and trust administration, and wealth preservation and asset protection planning. Kyle counsels U.S. and international clients regarding the U.S. taxation of their domestic and international business operations and advises them on tax efficient structures for these activities. He also helps nonprofit organizations qualify for and maintain tax-exempt status. In addition to the practice of law, Kyle has taught a variety of tax and legal courses for several universities.

Estate Planning

Instructor Clark Randall

Clark D. Randall, CFP®
Fundamentals of Financial Planning

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
CRPC® (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor)
CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter)
AEP (Accredited Estate Planner)
AIF (Accredited Investment Fiduciary)
RSSA® (Registered Social Security Analyst)
B.B.A., Finance, Texas A&M University
M.Jur.,Texas A&M University School of Law

Clark is the Director of Financial Planning at Creekmur Wealth Advisors. He spent the first 36 years of his career managing his own financial planning practice.

Clark is involved with many professional activities, having served on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Financial Planning and the Dallas Fort Worth Financial Planning Association Board of Directors. He also teaches financial planning at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Clark and his wife, Vanessa, have four adult children and two grandchildren. They love to spend time visiting with friends and to travel both domestically and abroad.

Fundamentals of Financial Planning

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Lisa Rapfogel, CFP®
Insurance & Risk Management

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
B.S., Finance, University of Texas at Austin
CLTC, (Certified in Long Term Care)
Southern Methodist University Certificate in Financial Planning Program

Lisa has 16 years of experience in the financial services industry. She is an advisor with Allegiant Wealth Management/MassMutual. She has tailored her practice to the needs of business owners, attorneys, physicians, executives and professional athletes.

Lisa was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. She moved to Dallas 11 years ago to expand her practice and holds a Texas Insurance Group 1 License and Series 6, 7 and 63 Securities Licenses. She is also a member of the Financial Planning Association.

Insurance & Risk Management

Instructor Brandon Ratzlaff

Brandon Ratzlaff, CFP®
Financial Planning Capstone

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
B.B.A., Marketing, Texas Tech University
M.Sc., Personal Financial Planning, Texas Tech University
M.B.A., The University of Texas at Dallas

Brandon Ratzlaff, CFP®, is Partner and Director of Wealth Planning at Cypress Point Wealth Management, a fee-only RIA with offices in Dallas and Austin, offering financial planning, investment management, and family office services.

Brandon serves as President of the Texas Tech PFP Alumni Advisory Board, the advisory boards for Communities Foundation of Texas and KEY Outreach and sits on the investment committee of Partners for Sacred Places. Previously, Brandon was President of the Dallas/Fort Worth Financial Planning Association Board of Directors and has served on the board of numerous local nonprofits. He is currently working on his Ph.D. in Personal Financial Planning at Kansas State University and teaches financial planning at Southern Methodist University.

Financial Planning Capstone

Instructor John Round

John Round
Estate Planning

B.B.A., Texas Tech University
J.D., St. Mary’s University
LL.M., Taxation, University of Florida

John K. Round has 40 years of experience advising clients on all phases of estate planning probate and trust law. His practice involves the preparation of wills and trusts, marital deduction trusts, life insurance trusts, minor's trusts, charitable trusts, private foundations, tax exempt entities, gift planning, marital property agreements, and estate and business planning for closely held businesses including Family Limited Partnerships. He is also active in estate, trust and fiduciary administration practices including probate and trust litigation, litigation practice involving fiduciary duties and preparation, and gift and estate tax audit and litigation.
Mr. Round currently serves as co-chair of the Tax and Estate Business Unit of Clark Hill Strasburger.

Estate Planning

Trudy Turner

Trudy Turner, CFP®
Financial Planning Capstone

CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
PFS (Personal Financial Specialist)
CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
B.S., University of Virginia
M.S., Accountancy with Tax Specialization, University of North Texas

Trudy Turner is a senior wealth manager with United Capital Financial Advisors.

She served as the 2007 Chair of the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the Financial Planning Association and has worked on committees for the Financial Planning Association, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and the American Institute of CPAs.

For several years, she co-moderated the "You Are a Financial Planner: Now What?" education and career development series for the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the Financial Planning Association. This series, along with active mentoring, demonstrate her passion to assist and encourage the next generation of competent, ethical and compassionate financial planning professionals.

She serves as the Chair of the Parkland Foundation Planned Giving Council and as a Board of Director for the Parkland Foundation. Previous leadership assignments have included the Greater Dallas Business Ethics Awards Steering Committee and Board of Directors for Denton County Collaborative Professionals.

She has been named by D Magazine as one of "The Best Financial Planners in Dallas" every year awarded since 2002, the inaugural year. Honorees are voted upon by certified members of the DFW Chapter of the Financial Planning Association.

Financial Planning Capstone

CFP Instructor Christian Yoss

Christian Yoss, CFP®
Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits

MBA, University of Texas at Dallas
BS - Business Administration, University of Denver
Christian Yoss, CFP®, is a financial services professional with 35 years of extensive experience leading, managing, coaching and mentoring wealth management advisors in all aspects of their practice; working directly with advisors in every market segment: mass market to ultra high net worth. He has worked with several leading financial services firms such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bank of America, TIAA and Fidelity.

Christian holds a Texas Department of Insurance Group 1 License, and FINRA Series 7, 24, 63 securities Licenses. 

Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits