Requirements credentials represented by financial initials.
Given the endless proliferation of incomprehensible initials that financial professionals love to tack on after their names, it has become almost impossible for the layperson to figure out which credentials really matter. As the random sample of professional designations below shows, there's a vast difference between initials that signify comprehensive and continuing education, and rigorous licensing standards, and those that are one step away from industry giveaways.
Initials Credential Requirements Value
CPCU Chartered Property and 10 3-hour exams; five years' experience Make this a given
CLU Chartered Life 10 college-level courses; three years' Another basic worth requiring
Underwriter experience; continuing education
APFS Accredited Personal Must be a CPA and member of AICPA; High standards, but you'll have to pay top dollar
Finance Specialist 250 hours per year for three years of
personal-finance experience; continuing
education; strict monitoring by AICPA
* * *
CFP Certified Financial Comprehensive testing on six subjects Lower standards and regulation than APFS, but Planner including taxes and estate planning; more affordable
five years' work experience
* * *
CPIW Certified Professional Five years' work experience; Questionable
Insurance Woman membership in National Association
of Insurance Women; must have at
least one of 30 other professional
designations; must be a woman
* * *
CPIA Certified Professional Must sell at least $100,000 worth of Need you ask?