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What is a Certified Financial Planner®?

Dec 3, 2020 | Financial Concepts

Whether you’ve had a financial advisor for years or you manage your own financial plan, you’ve likely seen the acronym CFP® before, even if it’s just been in passing. So, what does it mean and why does it matter? 

What is a CFP®?

CFP® stands for Certified Financial Planner® and is a certification acquired through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, a nonprofit organization that serves the public by establishing and maintaining professional standards in personal financial planning.

Because of the sheer amount of financial professionals – and the fact that anyone can call themselves a financial advisor (and many iterations) – one of the CFP Board’s main priorities is to provide a certification that is the recognized standard of excellence. With thousands of hours of practical experience required, the CFP® certification is by no means easy to achieve. And the work isn’t done once the certification is complete. A CFP® must adhere to a rigorous set of requirements, one of which is committing to the fiduciary duty to act in clients’ best interests.

While there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a financial advisor, the CFP® designation can be a helpful guide in that decision. 

Certified Financial Planner® – Quick Facts

  • 87,784 Certified Financial Planners®
  • 76.8% are male
  • 23.2% are female
  • Wisconsin ranks 19th in the number of Certified Financial Planners® available
  • There are 1,707 CFP® professionals in Wisconsin
  • CFP® certificants must prove themselves in 72 area of expertise and log thousands of hours of practical experience

Walkner Condon Financial Advisors is fortunate to have four CFP® professionals on our team, serving a variety of clients, whether they live in Madison or abroad. Below you will find more background on each CFP® at Walkner Condon and their areas of expertise. 

Walkner Condon’s Certified Financial Planners®

Jonathon Jordan is one of the Partners at Walkner Condon and a Certified Financial Planner®.  He decided early in his career that simply selling investment and insurance products did not offer the full value of what a financial advisor should provide to their clients.  After going through the rigorous coursework and classes, he began using this wealth of knowledge to help the clients he was already working with as well as many others since.  He works primarily with families and businesses on their long-term goals such as retirement planning, college savings, estate planning and other philanthropic goals. He is giving back to the financial advisor community by becoming a CFP® mentor for others that have decided to work towards this esteemed credential. Link to Jonathon’s no-cost, no-obligation initial “fit” meeting.

Anna Lautenbach, M.A. (Acct), M.S. (Mgmt), recently joined Walkner Condon as both a Certified Financial Planner® and one of the Founding Partners of Walkner Condon Tax Services. Anna’s practice focuses on comprehensive planning with high net worth individuals with a tax and investing strategy that will maximize their wealth by being cognizant of tax implications on changing portfolios. She assists business owners at all stages in their business, including succession. As a Certified Exit Planning Advisor, she can help you position your business for a successful sale and prepare for the next stage in life. She has an affinity for working with women advisors, helping to empower and guide them to financial success. Link to Anna’s no-cost, no-obligation initial “fit” meeting. 

Mitch DeWitt works with individuals and families looking to devise a plan of attack for their financial goals as well as an execution strategy. Typical clients of Mitch’s include those in technical fields such as engineering, software development and programming, or healthcare, among others. Clients seek Mitch’s advice when they are looking to come up with a charitable gifting strategy, how to approach sizable positions of stock that they have obtained through their employer’s stock plan, or when they want to learn more about sustainable investing strategies. An engineer by background, Mitch enjoys being thorough in all stages of the planning process. Link to Mitch’s no-cost, no-obligation initial “fit” meeting.

Stan Farmer, J.D., is the Director of International Financial Planning for Walkner Condon’s International Group. Stan works with a wide variety of cross-border families, including American expat individuals and couples working, retired, or semi-retired abroad. Many client families have multiple nationalities represented (for example, a U.S. and a non-U.S. spouse with dual national children), while other clients are foreign non-U.S. persons who have financial assets in the United States and, in most cases, other countries as well.  These clients present complex financial planning challenges that Stan endeavors to help them identify and overcome. Traditionally, a CFP® becomes an expert in helping clients navigate the myriad of technical tax and estate planning rules in the United States and in their particular state of residence. For Stan’s clients, these U.S. rules still apply (because the U.S. is unique in its approach to taxing its citizens regardless of where they reside), but there is usually a whole other set of foreign (often very different, sometimes conflicting) rules that apply his clients because they are residents and often domiciles of another country. Stan develops financial plans for clients that consider each client’s unique and overlapping tax exposures and recommends strategies to enable these cross-border clients to achieve their financial planning goals in a globally tax-compliant and tax-efficient manner. Link to Stan’s no-cost, no-obligation initial “fit” meeting.