Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) are financial-services professionals who have passed a series of courses offered by the College for Financial Planning, a 12-year-old institution based in Denver. The Institute of Certified Financial Planners (3443 South Galena, Suite 190, Denver, CO 80231) can provide you with a list of CFPs practicing in your area.

Chartered Financial Consultants (ChFCs) have passed a 10-course program offered by American College in Bryn Mawr, Pa. There is no association of ChFCs, says American College vice-president David W. Bruhin, but, since most of them have backgrounds in life insurance, they can often be located through local chapters of the American Society of Chartered Life Underwriters.

The only other initials you may run into are IAFP, which stands for the International Association for Financial Planning (5775 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd., Suite 120-C, Atlanta, GA 30342). Purely a trade organization, the IAFP is open to anyone practicing financial planning regardless of designation or specialty. Inquiries to the association, says Herbert Griffin, coordinator of chapter services, will be referred to the president of the relevant local chapter, who can provide a list of members in the area.