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Retiree floating on an inflatable in the seaMaking the transition from working life to retirement presents a number of challenges ranging from how you’ll pay your living expenses to how you’ll occupy your time. The Certified Professional Retirement Coach is a professional designation that indicates a retirement advisor has been trained to identify and help clients figure out ways to overcome these challenges.  The CPRC designation is overseen by The Retirement Project, an organization created by financial planner and writer Robert Laura. In addition to the CPRC certificate, The Retirement Project offers workshops, guides and other resources that help people plan financial and other issues as they relate to retirement.   

People who seek a CPRC designation are usually already working in the retirement field, typically as financial planners. The CPRC training expands their understanding of the non-financial aspects of retirement. It also provides them with additional skills to help them act as coaches with their clients.

CPRC Certification Requirements

The only prerequisite for the CPCR is a high school diploma. However, applicants also have to fulfill an educational requirement consisting of a set of prescribed courses and also pass a final exam.

The education courses are organized into nine modules. The curriculum is self-paced and includes video instruction as well as opportunities to interact with other students.

The subject material addresses common themes of retirement planning, including finances, but goes well beyond that to cover additional topics. In fact, financial concerns are listed last in a lineup of the five key areas for successful retirement covered by the curriculum. The other key areas are spiritual, mental, social and physical.

Each of the modules typically requires about two to three hours to complete. The entire educational component can be completed in 28 to 36 hours of work, including 12 hours of practice coaching. The coaching practice component is required along with the instruction to complete the certificate.

After each module students have to pass a quiz on the content of the module. In addition, there is a final exam. The final is a proctored, closed-book, online test.

The CPRC coursework and exam costs $1,795. In order to keep the certificate active, CPRC holders also have to complete 18 credits of continuing education every two years. They also have to follow a code of conduct and ethics.

CPRC Certificate Holder Privileges

Retirement coach shakes hands with a client

The CPRC is an optional designation that has been offered since 2016. While it indicates that the holder of the certificate has an interest in and has received training in coaching retirees, it doesn’t come with any special powers or privileges. As part of the certification, CPRC designees get access to some business-building tools such as intake forms, client contracts and marketing templates.

There is a private Facebook group for coaches to trade ideas. Also, they can include the CPRC logo on their marketing materials.

Comparable Certifications

There are many certificates and designations available to financial professionals active in advising on retirement. Here are some that are similar to the CPRC:

Certified Retirement Financial Advisor (CRFA) is a designation offered by the Society of Certified Retirement Financial Advisors. It costs $595 and requires the equivalent of 24 hours of classroom or self-study instruction and passing a test.

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) is issued by the College for Financial Planning and requires completing approximately 16 hours of online instruction. It costs $1,300.

Fellow, Secure Retirement Institute (FSRI) is granted by LOMA, an insurance trade association. It costs $1,880 for LOMA members and $2,880 for non-members. The educational component typically requires at least 73 hours of study, plus passing a final exam.

Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) is a certification overseen by the College For Financial Planning. It’s for entry-level investment professionals and requires taking a $1,300 course and passing a final exam.

Bottom Line

Retired couple sailing their sloopWhether you are still working in the middle of your career, about to start retirement planning or have already retired, it’s a good time to consider how you are going to handle the change to post-work life. A retirement advisor with a CPRC certificate will approach the work from a coaching angle, meaning the professional will attempt to engage and motivate the client more than a typical advisor. Also, the topics of the advice will encompass health, relationships and more in addition to purely financial matters.

Tips on Retirement

  • A knowledgeable and experienced advisor can provide invaluable assistants with navigating the transition to retirement. Finding one doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors who will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • The annual payment you receive from Social Security is based on your income, birth year, and the age at which you elect to begin receiving benefits. A Social Security calculator will give you a good idea of what you’ll be getting.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/IvonneW, ©iStock.com/Rawpixel Ltd, ©iStock.com/Youngoldman

Mark Henricks Mark Henricks has reported on personal finance, investing, retirement, entrepreneurship and other topics for more than 30 years. His freelance byline has appeared on CNBC.com and in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and other leading publications. Mark has written books including, “Not Just A Living: The Complete Guide to Creating a Business That Gives You A Life.” His favorite reporting is the kind that helps ordinary people increase their personal wealth and life satisfaction. A graduate of the University of Texas journalism program, he lives in Austin, Texas. In his spare time he enjoys reading, volunteering, performing in an acoustic music duo, whitewater kayaking, wilderness backpacking and competing in triathlons.
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