Alphabet Soup -- My Designations

If you are confused by the ‘Alphabet Soup’ of financial designations, you're definitely not alone.  Here I will give you a brief explanation of the education and expertise that each of my designations requires, both initially and ongoing.  All of this information can be verified from the websites listed at the bottom of the page. 

I strongly believe that once you understand the commitment I have made to my practice in order to serve you to the best of my ability, you will be able to make a more educated decision.


The CFP® certification is the hallmark planning credential, granted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, and represents proven expertise within the financial planning profession. 

Most people think that all financial planners are "certified," but this isn’t true.  Anyone can call himself or herself a "financial planner."  However, only individuals who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of the CFP® Board have the right to use the CFP® certification marks.  These individuals have taken the extra step to demonstrate their professionalism by voluntarily submitting to the rigorous CFP® certification process that includes demanding education, examination, experience and ethical requirements (also known as “the four Es”):


Education — CFP® professionals must develop their theoretical and practical financial planning knowledge by completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering a financial planning curriculum approved by CFP Board.  The candidate must first have three years of financial planning experience and a bachelor’s degree, or five years of financial planning experience.

Examination — CFP® practitioners must pass a comprehensive two-day, 10-hour CFP® Certification Examination that tests their ability to apply financial planning knowledge in an integrated format. Based on regular research of what planners do, the exam covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance.

Experience CFP® professionals must have three years minimum experience in the financial planning process prior to earning the right to use the CFP® certification marks. As a result, CFP® practitioners possess financial counseling skills in addition to financial planning knowledge.

Ethics As a final step to certification, CFP® practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct, known as CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, that sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients and employers. CFP Board also performs a background check.

Compliance with these four areas informs you that an individual who holds the CFP® certification mark is well prepared and qualified to give sound, professional advice.  In addition, once certified, CFP® practitioners are required to maintain technical competence and fulfill ethical obligations. Every two years, they must complete a minimum 30 hours of continuing education to stay current with developments in the financial planning profession and better serve clients.

CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM and federally registered CFP (with flame logo) are certification marks owned by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. These marks are awarded to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Certified in Long-Term Care (CLTC)

The "Certified in Long-Term Care" (CLTC) program is the long-term care insurance industry's only independent professional designation. Created in 1999, the course is focused on the field of long-term care planning and provides legal, accounting, insurance and financial service professionals the critical tools necessary to address the subject matter with their middle-age clients.

The goal of the designation is to teach Advisors how to create a plan that preserves the emotional, physical, and financial well-being of a client's family should care be necessary. Once established, options to fund that plan, including Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, self-funding and long-term care insurance, are reviewed and recommended where appropriate.

The CLTC designation which is owned by the CLTC Board of Standards, Inc. is not affiliated with or funded by any insurance sales or marketing organization. The quality of the program is evidenced by the granting of continuing education credits by all states as well as established programs such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) designations. It has also been approved in those states that have set strict criteria for professional designations.

Successful passing of a proctored exam is required in order to qualify for certification. Graduates are also required to take continuing education to maintain their certification.  Unlike any other designation, CLTC offers graduates continuing support through benefits that include:

Updates on trends in the long-term care industry

Personal assistance in helping graduates craft the right plan for their clients

Educational material that helps reinforce the message that clients must establish a plan for long-term care

Article – Why Choose A CLTC Professional?

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Since it was first introduced in 1963, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation has become the most respected and recognized investment credential in the world.  This designation which is held mostly by institutional money managers and stock analysts carries quite a bit of prestige.

The CFA designation is given to investment professionals who have successfully completed the requirements set by the globally recognized CFA Institute (formerly the Association for Investment Management and Research, or AIMR). 

A Designation of Distinction

A Rigorous Course of Study — The CFA Program curriculum focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the Investment Management industry and is based on an extensive and ongoing global practice analysis process.

The Highest Professional Standards — To earn a CFA charter, a candidate must have four years of qualified work experience, successfully complete three difficult six-hour exams, and adhere to the CFA Institute's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.  In passing these exams, candidates demonstrate their competence, integrity and extensive knowledge in accounting, ethical and professional standards, economics, portfolio management and security analysis.

The Global Gold Standard — More than 95,000 CFA charterholders work in more than 135 countries around the world. Regulatory bodies in 19 countries recognize the CFA designation as a proxy for meeting certain licensing requirements.

The CFA designation does distinguish the charterholder from other practitioners in the eyes of professionals and investors. The successful CFA charterholder has proved his or her ability to withstand rigorous testing, shown a capacity for learning and made a serious commitment to conduct his or her professional life according to high ethical standards. It’s not magic, but it may be the next best thing.

Certified Kingdom Advisor (CKA®)

This is a designation which recognizes the holder as a committed Christian financial professional who has met high standards in training, integrity, character and competence as an Advisor, Leader and Counselor. 

A Certified Kingdom Advisor® has been trained and has committed to be a person of character who, from a biblical worldview, serves you with biblical financial advice on how to best meet the goals God has given you in being a steward of the finances that He has entrusted to you.

Article – Certified Kingdom Advisor Designation

Brochure – Certified Kingdom Advisor Designation

Website Link – Why Choose a Certified Kingdom Advisor


Retirement Income Specialist (RIS)

Retirement income is the driving force in today’s marketplace, and consumers are demanding more expertise from financial planners. That’s why Janney, in conjunction with The Wharton School, has created this new professional curriculum that focuses on unique strategies needed to effectively plan for retirement income, and equips financial advisors with the tools necessary to create retirement income plans and help clients face the complex issues facing retirees today. Topics covered during this intensive course include: understanding retirement income planning, the effects of market uncertainty on retirement planning, annuities, estate planning, planning considerations for non-traditional households, high impact client reviews, and the Retirement Income Evaluator (RIE) tool. 

>> Read RIS Press Release 


For More Information:

WSJ Article – Is Your Advisor Pumping Up His Credentials? 

Investopedia – Financial Designations Definitions 

FINRA – Approved Designations 

CFP® Board of Standards 

The Corporation for Long-Term Care Certification

CFA Institute 

Kingdom Advisors