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What Is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC)?

A retired couple talking with their CRPC

The chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC) designation distinguishes financial advisors and other retirement professionals as experts in helping clients prepare for retirement. To become a CRPC, these individuals must meet several qualifications, undergo hours of training and take an examination. Once a CRPC has their certification in hand, there are continuing education requirements that help keep their knowledge up to date. While this is a good indication that an advisor specializes in retirement, others who hold certifications like a CFP may also be a good option. To find a financial advisor that specializes in retirement planning, you can use SmartAsset’s free advisor matching tool.

What Do Chartered Retirement Planning Counselors (CRPCs) Do?

Chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC) is a professional financial certification that the College for Financial Planning (CFFP) offers. To qualify for the certification, financial professionals must fulfill a series of requirements and pass a qualification exam.

According to the CFFP website, “Individuals who hold the CRPC designation have completed a course of study encompassing pre-and post-retirement needs, asset management, estate planning and the entire retirement planning process using models and techniques from real client situations.”

An advisor with a CRPC certification essentially has a credible cosigner assuring you that they are an expert in all things retirement. A CRPC has a proven acumen in many areas within retirement planning, including navigating Social Security, investing for retirement, handling taxes, retirement accounts, estate planning and even the emotional aspects of transitioning to post-career life.

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor Training and Certification

Middle-age couple working with a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC)

To earn the CRPC designation, you must complete the requisite course materials through the College for Financial Planning. Topics of the course include:

  • Maximizing client experience during the retirement planning process
  • Principles and strategies when investing for retirement
  • Making the most of Social Security retirement benefits
  • Bridging the income gap and identifying other sources of retirement income
  • Navigating healthcare options during retirement
  • Making the emotional and financial transition to retirement
  • Designing optimal retirement income streams
  • Achieving tax and estate planning objectives in retirement
  • Fiduciary, ethical and regulatory issues for advisors

After candidate masters the course materials, they must pass a proctored exam by answering at least 70% of the questions correctly. Following a passing grade, they can officially apply for authorization to use the designation. This involves committing to the Standards of Professional Conduct, adhering to the CFFP’s terms and conditions and disclosing any criminal, civil or other investigations into your professional conduct.

After you earn the right to use the CRPC designation, you must renew the certification once every two years. You can do this by logging 16 hours of continuing education and reaffirming your compliance through the actions above.

CRPC vs. Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Couple talks with their Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC)

While CRPC and certified financial planner (CFP) are both professional certifications for financial professionals, they have their share of differences as well. The most prominent among these is that they each convey expertise in distinct fields of financial planning. While financial planning encompasses retirement planning, it includes many topics that go beyond retirement.

Financial planning is much more wide-ranging and can include topics such as tax planning, analyzing cash flows, budgeting and more. Retirement planning, by contrast, is laser-focused on navigating the preparation for and transition into retirement.

Further, the two certifications come from separate institutions. The CFP is managed and awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, while the College for Financial Planning controls the CRPC title. The two designations also have slightly different requirements. Both require applicants to pass an exam.

However, you must have a bachelor’s degree and some college-level study in financial planning to become a CFP. CFPs must also have 6,000 hours of experience working in the financial planning industry, or 4,000 hours through an apprenticeship program.

Bottom Line

Preparing for retirement can be an overwhelming task to handle all on your own. If you’re looking for help, a financial advisor with a CRPC certification can be a great partner. Certification holders have developed expertise in multiple areas of retirement planning, from investing for retirement to making the transition out of your working years. By working with a CRPC, you can dive into the retirement planning process with confidence. That will allow you to focus your time and energy on enjoying your working years before they’re over.

Tips for a Successful Retirement

  • Planning for retirement is a complicated venture and a financial advisor can be a big help. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have free introductory calls with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • If you have a 401(k), contribute as much as you can. At the very least you should max out any employer match, but if you can afford to, you can contribute up to $19,000 for the 2019 tax year. Here’s a guide to how much you should contribute to your 401(k). And you can use our retirement calculator to see whether you’re on pace for a secure retirement.

Next Steps

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