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What Is a Certified Financial Educator (CFEd)?


The world of finance is often challenging for many consumers. However, financial professionals who hold the Certified Financial Educator (CFEd) designation communicate complex financial ideas in simple, understandable terms. Let’s break down how a CFEd can help you better understand your financial situation.

A financial advisor can help you create a financial plan for the future.

What Is a Certified Financial Educator (CFEd)?

A Certified Financial Educator (CFEd) is a financial professional who has knowledge of the financial services industry and teaches on the subject. Through the Heartland of Financial Education Institute, applicants can receive this designation to educate other professionals on topics related to the financial industry.

Qualifications to Become a Certified Financial Educator (CFEd)

To earn the CFEd designation applicants must have a minimum of three years of experience in the financial services industry and experience teaching adult learners. Additionally, applicants must be in good standing with all federal and state regulators. They must also have the willingness to train and educate others on financial topics.

If the applicant meets these requirements, they will then have to apply for the designation. Upon the approval of the application and completion of payment, the Heathland Institute will send study materials. All applicants must use these materials to prepare for the CFEd 160-question exam. Once the applicant successfully passes the CFEd exam, they will receive the CFEd designation.

Certified Financial Educator (CFEd): Continuing Education

SmartAsset: What Is a Certified Financial Educator (CFEd)?

After the financial professional receives their CFEd designation, they will have to complete a series of continuing education credits. Applicants must complete at least 12 hours of approved continuing education credits. This must include two hours reviewing instructor issues that relate to financial wellness education.

To complete the two hours of instruction issues, CFEds must read Heartland Institutes’ monthly articles and complete a CE exam pertaining to the monthly article topics.

Should You Work With a Certified Financial Educator (CFEd)?

For some, understanding their finances is a tough feat. From learning how investments work to the tax implications you may face in retirement, it is challenging to navigate your financial situation. That said, it’s important to have assistance from a financial expert who can guide you. When faced with financial decisions, you’ll want someone by your side to help you understand how each decision may impact your future financial success.

A CFEd can help you enhance your financial literacy in a variety of areas including developing a budget. They can also assist in advising on how to handle the inheritance of a large sum of money. If you need financial help, a CFEd has at least three years of experience in the industry to help you address some of your financial concerns.

Additionally, before you partner with a CFEd, you’ll want to understand the difference between a CFEd and other financial advisors. Understanding the various types of financial designations and certifications can help you determine the right advisor for you and your financial needs.

CFEds vs. CFEIs

Like CFEd, Certified Financial Education Instructors (CFEI) also complete a program to become trained financial teachers. For starters, the CFEI program is offered through the National Financial Educators Council (or NFEC), not the Heartland Institute.

In short, a certified financial education instructor is someone who specializes in distilling money management concepts in a classroom setting. Graduates of the program hone their teaching techniques and may go on to lead financial literacy courses, workshops and lectures.

Though a CFEI doesn’t allow certificate-holders to sell investment products or manage someone’s portfolio, it does equip them with the skills to help people take steps toward financial stability. This might include developing and teaching lessons on creating a budget; evaluating various financial products; weighing investment options; and other related money matters.

The CFEI comes with a $297 fee. If you do lack the recommended work experience, you’ll have to complete a 10-hour course in addition to the 30-hour regular course requirement. According to NFEC, you can expect to spend between 40 and 50 hours to complete the course.

The program culminates in an online exam, after which you immediately receive your results. If you get a score of 75% or above — congrats! — you’re now officially a certified financial education instructor.

Another distinction between the CFEI and CFEd programs: The former requires passing an annual test to keep the certificate current, while the latter only mandates 12 hours of continuing education credits to maintain theirs.

How to Find a Certified Financial Educator (CFEd)

SmartAsset: What Is a Certified Financial Educator (CFEd)?

As is with any professional, it’s important to know exactly what you are looking for in an advisor. For example, if you’re looking for help with a life insurance policy, you will want to partner with an advisor who does a lot of work with insurance.

After you have identified what you’re looking for, you may want to start looking for an advisor with a CFEd. You may start by asking your friends and family for referrals. However, if they don’t have any suggestions you can start browsing online for CFEds in your area. Once you find a few candidates, you can verify their credentials and background at BrokerCheck.

Remember, selecting the right financial advisor is just as important as selecting the right medical professional. Since your financial security is a large part of your well-being you need to ensure your financial advisor is a good match for your financial needs.

Bottom Line

When looking for an advisor, you want to know that they’re qualified and trustworthy. The title of CFEd shows you that the advisor has years of experience working in the industry and can help their clients understand complex financial topics. Their certification indicates that they have taken the time to sharpen their financial skills and completed an intense exam to prove their financial knowledge and ability to teach others.

Financial Tips

  • If you want to learn more about finances, consider consulting a CFEd or another financial advisor. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Even if you’re familiar with the terms involved, investing can be complicated for beginners. SmartAssets investing guide for beginners can help newcomers navigate the financial markets.

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