Financial planning courses prepare students to work with clients who need help organizing personal finances and planning for their financial future. Training programs that prepare students to earn the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credential are widely available at four-year colleges and universities. These programs may be offered in weekend, online or traditional full-time formats, and they can be part of a four year financial degree or a graduate certificate program. Once graduated, students are generally prepared to take the CFP exam.
Some common concepts covered in financial planning courses include:
- Estate planning
- Personal taxation
- Investment portfolio organization
- Asset and risk management
- Cash flow analysis
- Employee benefits
List of Classes
Foundations of Financial Planning Course
This certified financial planning course is the first taken in any financial planning program. The theory and practice of certified financial planning are the primary topics covered in this class. Students also delve into subjects such as cash flow analysis, financial ratios, college education, retirement, and estate planning, and employment benefits. In many cases, a financial calculator such as a HP-12C is required.
Personal Taxation Course
Personal taxation classes outline what is owed to the government by individuals and how taxes can impact short- and long-term financial planning. Students learn about the role of the IRS, tax codes, business and self-employed taxes, deductibles, depreciation, and retirement plan taxation. This is usually one of the first certified financial planning courses completed by students.
Investment and Portfolio Management Course
Certified financial planners manage the stocks, bonds, and investments of individuals. In a portfolio management course, students discuss investment and portfolio management strategies, debt and equity securities, securities markets, and risk management. Students are often encouraged to read financial publications such as The Wall Street Journal or Financial Times to keep abreast of current topics and trends in investing.
Employee Benefits Course
This class serves as an overview of employee benefits plans and how they are used in financial future preparations. Topics of discussion include 401K packages and retirement benefits, health insurance options, tax deferrals, disability programs, stock options, and Social Security. Students must actively participate in this class by applying knowledge gained in their own workplace experiences. This course is mandatory in all certified financial planning programs.
Estate Planning Course
When a person passes away, their finances and properties must be documented and redistributed according to specific laws and processes. An estate planning course discusses death and gift taxes, documentation, real estate taxes, charitable giving, wealth transference, liquidity, wills, and trusts. Addressing one of the most important aspects of certified financial planning, an estate planning course is essential in all programs.