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CFP course versus "Fire Your Financial Advisor"

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  • CFP course versus "Fire Your Financial Advisor"

    Any CFP's taken the Fire Your Financial Advisor course, or any docs do a CFP certificate program and the WCI course? I'm not looking to be "Certified Financial Planner" and would just be doing it for my own education with a goal of just building a deeper understanding of personal finance in a structured way. I was considering just buying some or all the the CFP books (~$1k) and following a program's syllabus, but wondering how the content compares to the WCI course. I'd image the CFP programs add more depth?, but how much of is irrelevant to W2 physician? Or am I better off just going through the WCI/PoF/Bogleheads recommended book lists? Thanks for you insights.

  • #2
    I imagine few, if anyone beesides the CFP's here have taken a CFP education program or read all of the books to go along with it. Reading textbooks is generally an incredibly dry and boring way to learn for most people.

    Haven't taken the WCI course. Probably helpful if you are a novice and just starting out, and don't want to invest the time reading books on the book lists.

    Most people who read 4-5 good books applicable to their situation and search the WCI/bogleheads forums to fill in the gaps have a solid foundation and can build knowledge over time. That is what worked for me, but not everyone has the interest or motivation to be a DIYer.

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    • #3
      As both a physician and a CFP (for 17 years now), my input would be that doing the CFP curriculum is much more indepth than the WCI courses (I've read both of Jim's books)-but would take much more time and effort. If you have the interest and time, you might try the educational curriculum that is taught with videos or live in a classroom to avoid the tedium of textbooks.

      However, keeping up with changes is also important and a commitment. If not, it is like going to medical school and then never reading any medicine after.

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      • #4
        If you are really, really interested only in getting a very deep dive into the mechanics of CFP-world, you might consider auditing the CFP curriculum at your local community college and then taking Ken Zahn’s CFP review prep course (3 days). I recommend signing up for the course under the man himself (before he retires - he’s aging). We expect our team members to take the course before sitting for the exam. The best part is the review materials, including case studies, you get a couple of months beforehand. He used to have a guarantee that anyone going through everything (requires a time commitment) and then all the course will pass on first time. It has worked for us (I passed at age 50 and it was far more difficult than the CPA exam). Don’t know if he still does. But I learned more in the review course prep than in anything I had studied before that time.

        Doubt you’d want to sit for the course unless you also plan to work 3 yrs under a planner and eventually cut your pay >50% unless you’re starting a business (think Stephen Podnos) but it will be an eye-opening experience. And, if you’re a few years from semi-retiring and/or FI, it would be a gratifying 2nd act (I started to say “rewarding” but, unless you’re AUM, the rewards are more likely to be personal than financial for a few years, at least). One of our paraplanners is doing just that because he’s FI, retired engineer, and can afford to follow his dream.
        Financial planning, investment management and CPA services for medical and high-income professionals | 270-247-6087

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        • #5
          "Vaginologist"...?

          Do you refer out if there is a vulvar problem? Would you take a case involving the cervix or do you defer that to a uterologist?

          Can never have too much education, but your intro post would suggest you will learn multivariable calculus to do adding/subtraction.

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          • #6
            This topic has come up before.

            If I recall, the majority of a CFP course will cover a lot of regulatory stuff that isn't necessarily relevant to your own personal finance.

            I have not taken either of the courses.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by pierre View Post
              This topic has come up before.

              If I recall, the majority of a CFP course will cover a lot of regulatory stuff that isn't necessarily relevant to your own personal finance.

              I have not taken either of the courses.
              Actually, the regulatory part is relatively minor (iirc). There are 8 topic categories of study, one of which is Professional Conduct and Regulation (7%) and only 3 of the 7 subtopics involve regulation, or 3%. You might all find the categories and subtopics interesting (as listed on the CFP Board website) - they cover a wide variety of rich material.

              For anyone who is really interested in learning more about income taxes than you'll get in an online course or one of Mike Piper's books, you might consider studying for the Enrolled Agent (EA) designation. An EA is similar to a CPA, but with a focus on taxes only.
              Financial planning, investment management and CPA services for medical and high-income professionals | 270-247-6087

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jfoxcpacfp View Post

                Actually, the regulatory part is relatively minor (iirc). There are 8 topic categories of study, one of which is Professional Conduct and Regulation (7%) and only 3 of the 7 subtopics involve regulation, or 3%. You might all find the categories and subtopics interesting (as listed on the CFP Board website) - they cover a wide variety of rich material.

                For anyone who is really interested in learning more about income taxes than you'll get in an online course or one of Mike Piper's books, you might consider studying for the Enrolled Agent (EA) designation. An EA is similar to a CPA, but with a focus on taxes only.
                I have thought about doing this but have never pursued it.
                Last edited by Hatton; 01-25-2020, 11:36 AM. Reason: spellcheck error

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Vaginologist View Post
                  Any CFP's taken the Fire Your Financial Advisor course, or any docs do a CFP certificate program and the WCI course? I'm not looking to be "Certified Financial Planner" and would just be doing it for my own education with a goal of just building a deeper understanding of personal finance in a structured way. I was considering just buying some or all the the CFP books (~$1k) and following a program's syllabus, but wondering how the content compares to the WCI course. I'd image the CFP programs add more depth?, but how much of is irrelevant to W2 physician? Or am I better off just going through the WCI/PoF/Bogleheads recommended book lists? Thanks for you insights.
                  CFP course is a poor course for just learning the basics of personal finance etc. It really is to prepare you to give others advice and a large part of it deals with compliance issues which are totally irrelevant to the individual investor. It is also dramatically longer than FYFA. Most CFPs say they study about 200 hours for the test. FYFA is 8. It's also much cheaper. And comes with a 1 week 100% money back guarantee.

                  If you want to be a financial advisor, get a CFP. If not, then don't bother. I'd read some books, that's what I did.
                  Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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                  • #10
                    CFP, CPA, or Fire your FA seems to be the question. I would suggest you take a look at the specific areas that you wish to build expertise and what you wish to use (personal or second act).
                    You might wish to include some education that would be considered a law degree and tested on a bar exam as well.
                    Each license requirements would involve a ton of knowledge that would be a complete waste unless you planned on practicing under the license in the field.

                    My suggestion would be to self design a lifetime learning program to pick the topics/areas you wish to learn. Your goal was “personal finance”.
                    Each license has exam requirements, check the sections that apply to you, that gives you a structure and read, take a course and even practice exams.
                    For example the CPA exam is a lot more than taxes. It is one of four sections. Thinking of CPA as a second act? Tax practice is one revenue source. What is your market?
                    https://app.verticaliq.com/system/in...-practices.pdf
                    You don’t want to be Board Certified in every medical specialty, but MD is a prerequisite. CFP and CPA are the prerequisite that you don’t need for personal use. Pick the pieces that are relevant or of interest to you. You might find a review or CME course that satisfies your thirst for knowledge. Lifetime learn is a good thing.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by G View Post

                      Can never have too much education, but your intro post would suggest you will learn multivariable calculus to do adding/subtraction.
                      That's kinda true. Thanks all for the input. Maybe some background info can help refine what would be the best next step...

                      Yes, first post but been following WCI for about 5 years. I'm 35 yo, ob/gyn, 3 years out of residency. In our group we pretty much are always on call for our own deliveries, so in first 18 months out I got hit hard with lack of sleep and burnout (although much improved now). Discovered the FIRE movement which turned causal finance browsing into a full time hobby. Now I max out our IRAs, convert to Roth, fill out the 8606, max the 403b, 457, 529s to max state deduction, rest to taxable. Saved 38% last year. All have low cost index etfs/funds aggressively allocated to 60/25/10/5 US/int/REIT/bonds with a little bit of a growth/mid cap tilt based on the Funds that were avail in the 403/457. Plan to shift down aggressiveness at 40 and start looking more into real estate after loans gone. Funds allocated tax efficiency across the different accounts. I track everything in personal capital, mint, and use the PoF 3 fund Excel sheet which I've modified to include a Morningstar style box and capitalization for each account and the entire portfolio. Disability, 20 yr term life, umbrella, etc done. I'm in a tenancy by the entirety state, kids as secondary beneficiaries, working on getting trust set up. Only debt is home and school loans with PSLF on track for Feb 2023. Used CPA for the past couple years but going to try to do my taxes this year. Just W2 income so I don't expect it to be too difficult, but been reading through the IRS inductions and J.K Lasser's. I've relied mostly on blogs, but also read WCI book, Bogleheads...Investing and Three Fund, Four Pillars, Rational Expectations. But so many of these and others that are recommend are getting to be 5-10+ years old.

                      If I were to compare my current strategy to practicing, I'd would be like just relying on UpToDate and never opening a physiology book, and just following a combination of different practice styles I learned from different attendings. Although they all may make good arguments, I don't have background knowledge to analyze it myself and to know who's practicing evidence based medicine and who's just doing what they've done for 30 years.

                      I'm interested in all the CFP modules, but if I were to focus on 1 component of personal finance right now it'd be market/portfolio analysis and asset allocation (maybe that more a sliver of a CFA?). It's probably not going to cause me to make huge changes right now, but over my 20 year timeline may help tweak my international or REIT exposure or growth/value style, or realize Collins is right and drop it all down to a 2 fund portfolio.

                      Thanks for all you do. Thanks for the advice.

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                      • #12
                        wait, you are an OB/GYN and you work for a 501c organization, and thus going for PSLF? I just ask because you mentioned you're in a group. Is your group really a 501c?

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                        • #13
                          My thought after your first post was FYFA as that course is quite comprehensive for the typical physician. However, after reading your final post, your brain may only be satisfied with a CFA. I agree you may also want to take some CFP classes at your local university, although they may throw you out for knowing more than the instructor

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Vaginologist View Post

                            I'm interested in all the CFP modules, but if I were to focus on 1 component of personal finance right now it'd be market/portfolio analysis and asset allocation (maybe that more a sliver of a CFA?). It's probably not going to cause me to make huge changes right now, but over my 20 year timeline may help tweak my international or REIT exposure or growth/value style, or realize Collins is right and drop it all down to a 2 fund portfolio.

                            Thanks for all you do. Thanks for the advice.
                            Def CFA rather than CFP then. Maybe Siegel's Stocks for the Long Run?
                            (Emphasis added above.)
                            Financial planning, investment management and CPA services for medical and high-income professionals | 270-247-6087

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                            • #15
                              I think that it would be cheaper and easier to find a good financial adviser then to get trained to be a financial adviser. A good financial adviser should be able to point out anything that you are missing and a 1 time visit is much easier then trying to take a course. You can diy after you are satisfied that you have enough knowledge to do-it-yourself.

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