If you are a federal employee, you may want to work with a Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant (ChFEBC) to help you address your financial concerns. ChFEBCs are financial professionals that are knowledgeable of changes to federal benefits and associated programs. They also have extensive knowledge about FERS, CSRS, and special provisions. Read on to discover how a ChFEBC can help you address your financial affairs as a government employee.
Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant Explained
A Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant (ChFEBC) is a designation obtained by federal employees, financial advisors, attorneys, or other financial professionals. These individuals have successfully completed coursework and an exam focused on federal employee benefits. The coursework and exam content covers topics including:
- Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) annuities (pensions)
- Thrift Savings Plan (401k-type account)
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Social Security
Candidates must cover other topics as well, but those above are vital for ChFEBC certification. Since a ChFEBC dedicates themselves to employee benefits, learning the most substantial benefits is crucial to their education.
Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant Qualifications
To become a ChFEBC, candidates must meet the prerequisite experience and education requirements and complete an examination. After they achieve the certification they must take continuing education courses to keep their designation current.
The first requirement is meet prerequisite education and experience criteria. This means that all candidates must:
- Have either three years of financial experience or hold a Series 6, Series 7, Series 24, Series 66, Registered Investment Advisor, or Investment Advisor Representative designation.
- Hold a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), master’s degree in business, finance, or economics, Attorney’s License (JD) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation.
Keep in mind, it’s possible for candidates to qualify through other means. The issuing organization will determine if an individual’s background fits the requirements.
In addition to the prerequisite education and experience criteria, candidates must complete 16 modules of self-study or a two-day classroom course. Upon completion of the coursework, candidates must complete and pass a two-hour exam covering all topics. Once awarded this designation, all candidates must complete continuing education courses. The standard requirement is 10 hours of coursework every two years.
Do You Need a ChFEBC?
If you’re a federal employee and need help planning for retirement, you may want to consider working with a ChFEBC. While the financial industry is full of financial advisors with a variety of qualifications, they may not suit your unique needs. Average financial advisors may not understand the retirement issues and federal benefit offerings that federal employees face.
While many financial professionals call themselves financial planners or financial consultants, they may not have the knowledge and experience to provide the guidance you need. ChFEBCs have extensive training and the knowledge specific to federal employees. Hiring one can help untangle some of the more complex federal benefit agreements.
In addition to providing candidates with specialized training, the ChFEBC training curriculum identifies the right questions to ask federal employees. By asking the right questions, the ChFEBC can better understand the entire scope of your financial situation.
How to Find a ChFEBC
Before you search for a ChFEBC, you may want to decide what you’re looking for in a consultant. Many consultants specialize in different areas of finance including insurance, tax strategy, or retirement planning. So, if you need guidance with insurance, you may not want to work with a consultant who specializes in taxes.
Once you decide what area of expertise will serve you best, you will want to start your research. After you have found a few candidates, you may want to research each consultant’s background. That will help you determine what skills each candidate brings to the table. After you narrow your search, contact the potential consultants who best fit your needs and schedule a time to interview them. Interviewing your final candidates will help you select a consultant that can meet your financial needs and address any questions you have.
If you don’t know where to start, it’s wise to ask your friends, family, or other federal employees. You can also visit ChFEBC.com to search for certified consultants in your area. Visiting the ChFEBC site can also help you verify a consultant’s designation. Selecting the right financial consultant is just as important as choosing the right doctor or lawyer. Since your finances play a crucial role in your overall well being, you want to ensure your financial life is in the right hands.
If you’re a federal employee it’s important to consider a financial professional’s designations when you’re deciding whom to work with. But keep in mind, all federal employees have different financial needs.
So, it’s important to work with a financial professional who understands your unique situation. A ChFEBC may have a better grasp of not only a federal employee’s benefits, but of their ongoing financial needs and retirement concerns as well.
Tips for Choosing a Financial Consultant
- Of course, certifications are just one of numerous things to consider when you’re trying to find a financial advisor who suits your needs. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Perhaps you know you want to work with an advisor from a specific company, like Merrill Lynch Wealth Management or UBS Wealth Management. In that case, you can go directly to the firm’s website to find a firm location near you.
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