The Certified Financial Counselor™ course is a 12-credit,12-week program that equips advisors with the knowledge, skills, and techniques needed to fulfill the role of a financial counselor. ​


The job of financial, tax and investment advisors has changed in the last several decades, evolving from a transactional and sales-oriented customer-broker relationship in the 1970s, to a profession requiring technical knowledge and a code of ethics in the 1980s and 1990s. In the past two decades, the burgeoning social science of behavioral economics further changed the nature of a financial professional's job requirements, by enabling client relationships that are more collaborative and personal, requiring today’s professionals to possess counseling skills. ​


Until now, financial advice professionals did not need to know anything about the psychology of financial planning. Effective Jan. 1, 2022, however, the psychology of financial planning will comprise seven percent of what you must know to hold the CFP® designation. ​While most advisors would say 7% underplays the importance of financial psychology in advisor-consumer relationships, the CFP Board action is an important in step in the evolution of the profession.     


​The CFP Board, on March 30, 2021, announced the findings of its 2021 Practice Analysis Study. It was the first update in this important analysis of the job of a CFP® since 2015!


To be clear, the practice analysis study resulted in a major revision to the principal knowledge topics a CFP® professional is required to master: A completely new topic of knowledge was added for psychology of financial planning. The CFP Board’s action represents an important change with repercussions for CPAs, CIMAs, and CFA professionals. ​


In recognition of the increasing importance of behavioral finance, this course is designed to meet the knowledge requirements of CFP®, CFA®, CIMA®,  CPA/PFS® and other practitioners stay at ahead of the field. ​


​To maintain the Certified Financial Counselor™ digital certificate, a one-credit class, “Applying Financial Psychology In Current Conditions,” must be completed annually.​


A4A's instructors --  Fritz Meyer, Bob Keebler, and Craig Israelsen -- are leading educators of tax, financial, and investment planning professionals and Frank Murtha fits right in with our outstanding lineup.  Dr. Murtha earned a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University at Buffalo. He was the first to explore cognitive errors in gambling behavior. He has taught at The City University of New York, Penn State, and New York University. In 2001, Dr. Murtha co-founded MarketPsych Inc., a statistically valid proxy for the NEO personality inventory assessment for identifying investor personality traits. Dr. Murtha currently consults to institutional investors on macro- and micro-behavioral economics. In 2021, he founded the Financial Counseling Institute to charter financial professionals as Certified Financial Counselors.


​The 12-credit course and digital certificate is free to A4A members through October 15, 2021.​