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Not all financial planners are certified.  The CFP certification is often recognized as the highest standard in personal financial planning.  According to the CFP website, "only about 25% of practicing financial advisors in the industry can claim this distinction."  

Certified Financial Planners (CFP) go through a comprehensive study of theoretical and practical knowledge within the financial planning curriculum.  CFPs are held to the highest of standards and are obliged to uphold the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, and professionalism as outlined in the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics.   

CFP professionals must complete several years of experience relating to financial planning services prior to earning the right to use the CFP certification trademark.  Furthermore, they must pass a comprehensive CFP certification exam which tests their abilities to apply financial planning knowledge to real life situations.