CFP Earnings Up 21 Percent

An industry survey conducted by The College for Financial Planning reports that certified financial planner earnings have increased more than 20 percent since 2006.

Respondents to the 2007 Survey of Trends in the Financial Planning Industry reported mean gross earnings of $283,079 in 2006, compared to the $232,995 reported in last year's survey. Longevity in the profession proved to be a factor in reported earnings, as those professionals with five to nine years of experience reported earning an average of $111,730, while those with 30-plus years of experience averaged $476,464 in earnings.

Professional designations also moved income levels upward, and rapidly. For example, those holding the College for Financial Planning asset management designation, Accredited Asset Management Specialist, reported increases in earnings from 18 percent to 29 percent, with an annual income of $109,000-188,000. Those holding the retirement counseling designation, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, reported earnings increases of 12 to 15 percent, and annual incomes greater than $140,000.

Financial planners surveyed were likely to hold more than one license or designation, in addition to the CFP certification. Life and Health licenses, NASD, RIA, and CPA were among the most widely held designations reported on the Survey. Financial planners are also well educated, with 89 percent holding bachelor's degrees, and 42 percent with graduate degrees.

The survey reported that the typical client of financial planners is a two-income couple, 50 to 59 years old, with gross income of $100,000 to 149,999, discretionary income of $10,000 to 20,000, and a net worth of $1 million to 1.5 million. Clients were considered most knowledgeable about basic budgeting and financial goal setting, and least knowledgeable about estate planning. Clients were most concerned about health care costs, and least concerned about losing their jobs.

The survey found a cause of concern for planners and their clients in questions about retirement expectations. Fully 88 percent of clients expect to be able to maintain their current standard of living in retirement, while only 70 percent of financial planners expect clients to be able to maintain current living standards.

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