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Category Archives: Professional Developement

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 www.KeirSuccess.com – Happy Studying!

examnews

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.

Useful Behavioral Finance Information for CFPs®

Mid adult couple smiling while looking at female financial advisor at desk in office

 

The concepts of behavioral finance are applied increasingly in our world. Governments are using decision-making psychology to encourage behaviors like saving more for retirement. This type of psychology is also used by a wide range of businesses to help maximize their profits. Although plenty of behavioral interventions do work, others fall short of expectations or even backfire. Understanding what creates these differences is essential for CFPs® who want to provide the assistance clients need to make the right financial decisions:

 

The Role of Emotional Triggers

 

Both governments and businesses that use behavioral finance strategies have to overcome the challenge of getting people’s attention in a world that’s full of distractions. To cut through the noise technology is being developed using systems that trigger emotional responses.

 

One example of these types of triggers has been developed from the concept of loss aversion. The theory of loss aversion states that people react more strongly to the threat of a loss than the possibility of a gain.  Using this concept, app developers have found that  the average person doesn’t want to use something that solely tracks their failings without any positive reinforcement.

 

Another example arises from the realization that nudges become less effective over time. It’s standard practice for app developers to do extensive testing to figure out exactly what works best with users. But as many technologists have discovered, what’s fully optimized now may not be nearly as effective in a few years. Dealing with this issue is why more resources than ever are being put towards creating and delivering experiences that are highly personalized.

 

Using Behavioral Finance on a Big Scale

 

While behavioral finance is something that has a lot of appeal to smaller technology companies looking for a big opportunity, it’s on the radar of larger financial institutions as well. Designing more effective savings products, small-dollar loans, and automobile loans with lower rates are all things that established financial companies have enlisted help with from behavioral finance experts.

 

One interesting aspect of all the attention on this topic is the realization that this attention will eventually reduce the effectiveness of behavioral finance. While these practices currently have the ability to improve outcomes by ten to thirty percent, experts have stated that consumer suspicion is something that may eventually make it more difficult to achieve these results.

 

By taking the time to test out some of the apps and other types of technology being developed in the area of behavioral finance, CFPs® can gain some hands-on insights that they can pass along to clients.

 

The Top 5 Factors That Affect FICO Scores

Credit information form

One way for planners to help clients access credit at lower interest rates is to teach them how to manage their FICO scores. This score can range from 330 to 850. The higher the score, the better. To get the best interest rates, clients should try to keep their FICO scores at 760 or higher. The score value is based on information from credit reports. Understanding how this information affects the score can provide an opportunity for planners to help clients make the right decisions to increase their FICO scores.

 

Payment History, Amount Owed and Length of Credit History

 

Payment history is the largest factor in the score. Planners should make sure clients understand the importance of making payments on time. When students enter college, they will typically apply for their first credit card. Students should do so with the understanding that failing to make timely payments can impact their ability to qualify for other types of credit like auto and home loans. This impact can continue well into the future.

 

The second major factor affecting the FICO score is the amount that’s owed. It’s an assessment of whether or not a borrower might already be overextended on credit. Being overextended means the borrower may have borrowed so much that he or she is unable to make the payments required on this amount of debt. Utilization affects the score positively if credit cards are used periodically and paid on time, but there is no effect on the score if someone has a credit card available but never uses it.

 

The longer the credit history, the better the score. In the example of the college student getting his first credit card and making timely payments, he’s also increasing his credit score for buying a home in the future by having a longer credit history from the credit card account.

 

Types of Credit and New Credit

 

Ten percent of the FICO score comes from looking at the types of credit that are used. These types include credit cards, retail cards, installment loans, finance company accounts and mortgage loans. Having a credit card and using it responsibly provides a higher score than not having any credit cards at all.

 

The final category that affects the FICO score is new credit. Opening several accounts in a short period of time can indicate a higher credit risk and will lower the score.

 

Checking a Credit Score

 

When a consumer checks his or her own credit score, there is no impact on the score, and it is recommended that clients check credit reports on a regular basis to identify and correct any errors and to ensure that there has not been an identity theft situation. Every individual is entitled to one free copy of the credit report from each of the three credit bureaus each year. A good practice to monitor activity throughout the year by requesting a report from a different company every four months.