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RICP® vs CFP® and CLU®

RICP® vs CFP® and CLU®

The American College of Financial Services
February 18, 2021

Money is the invisible force that shapes our lives. If you’d like to become a certified financial professional and help people manage their money, you could make a big difference in the lives of your clients. After all, financial planning can be complex: the industry is regulated to ensure that only certified experts earn the right to assist people with important financial decisions.

There are several designations and educational programs at The American College of Financial Services that can help you become a certified financial expert. You should specialize in a financial service that aligns with the type of customer you wish to serve. For instance, if you have a passion for working with older adults, you could work toward the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) designation to help people with retirement planning.


How to pick the right program for you


The College offers many education programs designations to become a knowledgeable financial professional: among them are the RICP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) through our Certification Education Program, and Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®). To obtain each of these designations, you must complete the coursework and then pass an exam. Every program covers a unique range of information and will set you up for a different career path.

Most students come to The College with existing experience in a particular field. You may already have some experience with retirement income planning, for example, perhaps through a career working at a bank. Your colleagues will mostly be other financial advisors who are looking to improve their skills and offer better services to their clients.

Whatever your background, you’ll want to select a program that builds upon your existing expertise. Do you want to grow in your current position or start your own firm? One option is to deepen your knowledge of a specific field. Another is to pursue credentials that increase the number of services you can provide.



Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®)


The Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) designation is the best way to learn how to support people planning for retirement. You’ll be taught how to create and execute a comprehensive retirement strategy from the ground up. You’ll explore different ways to utilize Social Security in financial planning, as well as best practices for your clients’ portfolio withdrawals to generate retirement income. 

Most importantly, you’ll learn how to evaluate and address risks associated with aging, such as planning for long term care and legacy planning with clients. As an RICP®, you'll know how to create customized retirement strategies based on a client’s needs and resources. 

It’s incredibly rewarding to provide security to older adults in a time of uncertainty. Whether you are a financial advisor, a wholesaler, a lawyer, accountant, or simply an individual looking for a deeper understanding of retirement planning, the RICP® designation equips you to deliver meaningful and sustained support to your clients.


CFP® Certification Education


In the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) Certification Education program, you’ll undertake a broad range of studies that will give you a strong foundation for any career you choose to pursue in the financial industry. These are specifically designed to help you prepare for and pass the CFP® exam. The education program includes coursework on financial planning, insurance, taxation, retirement planning, investment strategies, and estate planning. 

All CFP® Certification Education students will develop a case study as their final capstone course, which integrates their knowledge into a comprehensive financial plan. This process helps you prepare for the final exam, and it’s also a great portfolio piece if you’ll be seeking employment soon.

If you know you want to work in financial services, then the CFP® Certification Education is the right program for you. Learn about new topics and network with other financial professionals. Prepare to pass your CFP® exam with confidence (The College’s CFP® exam pass rate is higher than the national average). Enjoy both the higher income and increased professional respect that come with your new CFP® designation.



Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®)


The Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) provides you with knowledge that covers the intricacies of  life insurance and financial planning. In fact, the CLU® designation is known as the gold standard for life insurance education in the financial services profession. 

In this program, you’ll take five courses that teach you about underwriting, life insurance law, risk management, tax aspects of organizing a business, estate planning, and how to serve professionals as well as business owners. Your education in underwriting will help advance your career, and you’ll leave with the confidence to provide solutions to the complex financial needs of modern clients.

A major benefit of this program is that in most states, you can be exempted from pre-licensing education and underwriting certification requirements with a CLU® designation. Another major benefit is that life insurance is here to stay, as both individuals and small businesses often require it. Plus, it’s quite lucrative, so a single sale could pay for your entire credential.

This credential is right for people who are ready to launch their insurance careers. It’s perfect for lawyers, bankers, wealth managers, or other professionals who need to understand life insurance underwriting as well. The CLU® designation is a great value-add for financial professionals who already have a certification like the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®),
RICP® and/or CFP®. These professionals can apply coursework from other designations toward the CLU® designation.




What does RICP® stand for?

RICP® stands for Retirement Income Certified Professional®. It means that someone is qualified to assist with planning and executing retirement strategies.


Is the RICP® designation worth it?

The RICP® designation is an affordable way to set yourself up for success as a retirement planning professional. With only three courses, it’s easy to complete this self-paced, self-study course. Plus, the designation is specifically designed to help you pass retirement planning examinations.


What can you do with the RICP® designation?

With an RICP® designation, you can advise senior clients on retirement strategies. This could include portfolio withdrawal advice, retirement income planning, long term care funding, and legacy planning. Most people utilize their RICP® designation either to improve their job prospects or expand the services they can offer to their existing clients.