A. There are dozens of professional designations that financial planners put behind their names - CFP, ChFC, CLU, CFA, CPA, EA, CFS, CMFC, PFS, ... to name a few.
Some of these designations are important and significant, while others are insignificant or simply made up.
Which are the important designations?
CFP (Certified Financial Planner)
This designation means that the financial planner has taken an extensive course of education, has passed exams, and has worked in the industry at least 3 years.
CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
A CPA has a financial background, has passed a grueling examination, and has at least 2 years of public accounting experience.
CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)
This is another prestigious designation that requires training, testing, and licensing. CFAs must undergo rigorous training in portfolio management, securities analysis, and economics, among other things.
CLU and ChFC
These designations are typically given to people who have taken financial training concentrated on insurance issues.
What about the rest of designations? They really don't matter much to you, as a client.