What exactly is a retirement planning counselor and how can they help me plan my retirement?  There are many designations after names on business cards, each rendering a different meaning in their professional field. For a retirement planning counselor, a designation such as:

C.F.A. (Chartered Financial Analyst)

C.P.A. (Certified Public Accountant)

C.F.P. (Certified Financial Planner)

C.I.M.A. (Certified Investment Management Analyst)

Ch.C.F. (Chartered Financial Consultant)


The process to reach one of the designations as a retirement planning counselor involves intense, demanding study to take and pass a grueling exam. It doesn’t end there. A retirement planning counselor must continue with C.E. (continuing education ) credits to uphold his or her certification and state / federal licensing. This tedious process is also expensive costing thousands of dollars to complete. So, usually, anyone with a designation (list above) as a retirement planning counselor has earned it just as a doctor or attorney through hard long hours and work.

Most individuals seeking a retirement

planning counselor designation will take classes either at a college/university or online. Don’t think because some courses taken online might be easier, they’re not! The exam is given 2X per year and is a 2 day 10 hours per day test. Do you remember when you used to complain about homework lasting more than 15 minutes?

Well, this exam is so intense that 50% fail the first time out as many attorneys or other professionals do. The retirement planning counselor may retake the exam that is given in about 150 different locations around the U.S.

 The program is not a simple 1-2-3 step process.

It takes 2-3 years and you must have prior experience (3-5 years) in the field of retirement planning. The field of retirement planning counselor has become more a matter of managing money and offering objective advice and guidance.

Just remember, no one as in no one, can predict what future investment will or can do. That’s why you will read in the disclosure you sign when using a retirement planning counselor, ‘future performance is not guarantee of past performance’ or something to that affect.

 Don’t hesitate to view your retirement planning counselor and their credentials. If you don’t see them on a wall, etc, ask to see them and don’t be shy to interview this or these persons (if a team) before you settle to use their services. 

Remember, a retirement planning counselor is there to advise, manage and be objective for you with your money. Your future retirement planning counselor is in your hands. Do your due diligence.

Can you say….Charles Ponzi, Bernard  Madoff, Sarah Howe, Reed Slatkin, Lou Pearlman or Michael Eugene Kelly?



Ric Dalberri is a graduate of Columbia State University & has been involved in his own business (sold) employing over 100 people. As

well as being a top producer as a Financial Specialist for over a decade with one of the largest financial institutions in the U.S., Ric has many years experience in sales and  management. Ric was also a mentor in the financial arena as well as a volunteer teacher for Junior Achievement.


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