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Category Archives: Exam Tips and Upddates

Why Keir for your CFP® Exam Review?

keir-resources-2017-800x350We are often asked, “Why should I use Keir for my CFP® exam review?” We have many answers…our top 3, in no particular order.


Material. This may be a long one, as there is much to say. We update our material before each of the 3 exams each year. Our material is based on the 72 Principle Knowledge Topics set by the CFP Board. We follow the CFP Board objectives, contextual variables and Job Task Domains. This does cause us a major re-write when the Job Task Analysis is completed every 5 years, but we believe it helps the students think more along the path of a CFP® professional.


We have also integrated our trade-marked study method, THINK LIKE A PLANNER® into the process. This study method emphasizes the CFP Board Ethics and Code of Conduct in the financial planning process. It also helps us explain how all this information will be used in your new life as a CFP® certificant. Our TLP study method is delivered in a way to fit your learning style.


Students naturally lean toward specific learning styles; auditory, visual, tactile or combination. Auditory learners take more from hearing information rather than reading. We created 20 plus hours of audio review you can download to any MP3 device. Visual learners are often taking notes in color, grouping material or building other visuals. We have created our Key Concept Infographics to appeal to this group. Study information is delivered in graphs, colors, information grouping, pictorials and diagrams. For more active learners, often referred to as tactile or kinaesthetic, we will send a set of flash cards that have structured activities to enhance learning. For those that are a little bit of all learning styles, we offer the combination learner package. It includes all the learning style tools plus calculator and formula recorded classes.


Lastly, we have constructed our study schedules based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. What this means to you is we take you through the facts and figures and then apply them to a case study situation, moving lastly into comprehensive cases and simulated exams. It truly is a great way to build your knowledge.


Instructors and Support. We don’t really like to brag BUT, we do have fabulous instructors. Each of our instructors is vetted by our senior staff, they observe a class, and co-teach a class with our senior instructor before running their own class. We look for a CFP® professional that not only has client experience but teaching or training experience.


We provide a dedicated email box to our CFP® exam students. This email box is monitored by no less than two instructors, three or four in the height of exam season. You will also have phone access to our full-time instructors for quick questions, or to set up a time for longer questions.


Classes. We have live classes and virtual classes to meet your needs. Our live classes meet 4 consecutive days in select U.S. cities. We offer three virtual options to fit your schedule. If you have a hard time setting up your study schedule and committing to it, our 10-week virtual class is for you! It meets once a week for the 10 weeks leading up to the exam, really helping to structure your time. All virtual classes are recorded for your use. You won’t have to worry about missing a portion of class, or needing to hear something again.


If you have questions or would like more information, please feel free to call us! 800-795-5347 or try our website – Happy Studying!

Closeup of hands counting taxes using calculator

Securities Exams: What You Should Know about the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act” of 2017

The new Act made changes in income tax, gift tax, and estate tax laws, but most of these rules will not be tested.  Here are the changes that may affect questions in the securities exams:


  • The kiddie tax will continue to be imposed on the unearned income of a child under 19 years of age or up to age 24 if a student. The tax was previously calculated using the parents’ income tax bracket, but the Act changed the calculation to use new estate and trust income tax brackets.


  • Under the Act, most income tax rates have been reduced a small amount. For example, the top rate was previously 39.6%, and under the new law the top rate is 37%.  Long term capital gains and qualified dividends are still taxed at the preferential rates of 0%, 15%, and 20%.  In the past the rates at which capital gains and dividends were taxed lined up with the income tax rates, so for example, the 20% rate was applied to taxpayers in the top bracket.  Under the new law, the income tax brackets and capital gains breakpoints no longer are aligned, so the 20% capital gains rate applies to the top income bracket and to part of the income bracket below it.


  • 529 plans have been used in the past to pay for qualified education expenses at institutions of higher learning. The Tax Act has changed the definition of “qualified higher education expenses,” so the money in a 529 plan can be used to pay for up to $10,000 of tuition per student at elementary and secondary public, private, and religious schools.  Parents can still “front load” a 529 plan by contributing in the first year of the plan up to 5 times the annual gift tax limit of $15,000 ($30,000 for both parents).


  • The new Act doubled the standard deduction, but this improvement was offset by elimination of the personal exemption and by imposition of some new limits on itemized deductions. Taxpayers in some states were particularly affected by the $10,000 limit placed on the combined total amount of state and local income taxes and property taxes that can be deducted. These changes as well as the increase to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) exemption will also mean a reduced number of taxpayers who will be paying AMT next year.


  • Under prior law, investment advisory fees were tax deductible as miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to a 2% of AGI floor. The new law has suspended these deductions.


  • Although there was some discussion of eliminating the estate tax, Congress instead doubled the estate and gift tax exemption from $5.6 million to $11.2 million in 2018. The annual exclusion will increase to $15,000 for 2018 due to indexing, but the Act did not make this change.


Congress discussed a new rule that would require stockholders to sell their shares of stock in the order in which they bought them, but this change was not adopted.  A proposal to reduce the maximum contributions to retirement plans was also not in the final act.


Changes to the Series 6, 7, 22, 57, 79, 82, and 99

On October 1, 2018, FINRA will begin administering the new Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam.  The exam will cover only the fundamentals of the securities industry, including the structure of the industry, how the industry functions, and the agencies that regulate the industry.  This general knowledge material will no longer be tested in the exams listed above and will now be tested only once in the SIE exam.   To be fully licensed, a candidate will complete the SIE exam and one of the specialized exams listed above.  Yes, that’s two exams now, instead of one!


Students who want to take the SIE exam will open an “exam window” at the time they register.  After opening the window, they will have 120 days to take the exam at a Prometric Center.  The exam will consist of 75 questions, and students will be given 105 minutes to complete the exam.  A student will receive a pass/fail grade and may receive additional information about areas of their strengths and weaknesses.  If a student fails, he or she will have to wait 30 days to take the exam again.


A critical change initiated with the SIE exam is that students do not need to be sponsored to register for this exam.  The purpose of the change is to make it easier for individuals to enter the securities industry; however, they will still need to be sponsored for specialized exams, also referred to as “top off” exams.  Those taking the SIE exam must be 18 years of age, and the results are valid for four years.


With this rearrangement of material and changing of exams, FINRA will be retiring several exams.  The following exams will be retired:  Series 11, Series 62, Series 42, and Series 72.


University programs offering investment courses may want to help students prepare for the SIE exam because passing the exam will make students more desirable candidates for positions in the securities industry. We encourage schools to begin incorporating this exam preparation into courses starting in the fall of 2018.  We will have student materials in the summer.

Why Studying in Your Learning Style is Beneficial

Student preparing for the exams

Have you ever sat down to study for an upcoming exam and felt utterly overwhelmed?  You’ve read a paragraph three or four times and it still doesn’t make sense?  Heard a lecture and thought this is a great way to remember this concept, but later that night you can’t remember what was said?  That’s because you didn’t receive the information in a format that fits how you learn and retain information.


If you are a visual learner, you will have a tough time sitting down to read material and retain it.  You will find it easier to receive and retain information in pictures, colors, and charts.  Do you find yourself choosing the print icon when printing a document, versus using the keyboard or drop-down menu?   You will know this is your learning style if you find yourself grouping information in your notes or using color to differentiate thoughts.  Look for study choices that offer visual depictions of the material.


Maybe you are not a visual learner, but you can recall information you have heard?  Maybe you have you read a book, or article you found interesting but could not recall the details to tell someone about it a day later, but can remember a presentation from last year, or something you heard on the news?  When reading for pleasure or getting the news, do you choose an audio book or TV versus the newspaper (or online)? Finding study material with an auditory delivery will help you; look for MP3s or online lectures.


You could be the third type of learner, tactile.  Do you find you have a hard time sitting still while you study or find yourself thinking of your to do list in the middle of a paragraph (which you’ll need to read again!)? Can you assemble an item without needing to look at the directions?  If you fall into this category, you will want to find material that is more interactive, or take frequent short breaks while studying.   You may find switching between computer questions, flashcards and reading, helpful to stay engaged in the material.


You could be a combination of two or three learning styles!  Whatever your study style, Keir has you covered for the CFP® Exam!  We integrate your studying style into our THINK LIKE A PLANNER® study method to give you the most well-rounded review that will also help you in your career.


Reach out for more information at or 800-795-5347.