I’ve spent the last few months completing the first of four online courses for the CFP certification program.  The four courses include retirement planning, risk management and estate planning, strategic investment planning, and income tax planning.

The retirement planning course offers a comprehensive look at topics such as:

  • government-sponsored retirement income programs
  • employer-sponsored pension plans
  • deferred profit sharing plans and RRSPs
  • RRIFs, LIFs and LRIFs
  • education planning
  • taxation during retirement
  • post-retirement planning
  • retirement decisions

The course exam is next weekend – a three hour final that covers all 10 units and is worth 70 percent of my grade.  Wish me luck!

I’m on pace to finish the four courses in two years, but the program offers a fast track that can cut that time in half.  I’d prefer not to bite off more than I can chew, but it’s something to consider if I want to speed things up.

After completing the program I’ll write the first of two CFP examinations administered by the Financial Planning Standards Council.

As of July 1st, the route to CFP certification is changing.  The FPSC will introduce new standards that recognize the successful completion of this stage with a FPSC Level 1 Certification in Financial Planning™

From there I can continue to pursue a CFP certification and write the level-two exam.  I’ll also need to have completed three years of financial planning work experience before applying for CFP certification.  The fee-only financial planning that I do part-time would qualify.

Now on with your weekend reading

Congratulations to my blogging idol, Frugal Trader of Million Dollar Journey, for reaching his million dollar net worth milestone.  And with six months to spare!

Kerry Taylor is the lone writer at Squawkfox – a funny, well-researched frugality blog.  Kerry revealed that she’s been battling depression and bravely wrote about her recent struggles in this heart-wrenching piece.

Flash Boys author Michael Lewis uprooted his family and moved to New Orleans to write a new book.  Read his hilarious (and cautionary) tale about what happened to his finances when he rented the biggest house in town.

The Globe and Mail’s Ian McGugan looked at three simple (but vexing) questions that sum up retirement planning.  How much do I need, what returns can I expect, and what will government provide?

A new study by the C.D. Howe Institute suggests that Canada’s RRIF withdrawal rules force seniors to outlive their savings.

Rob Carrick argues that saving for retirement should trump the rush to pay off your mortgage.

Jeff at the Loonie Lover blog explains how dividend investing makes choosing a retirement date obvious.

Mark from My Own Advisor thinks he’s found a better way to budget.  Fixed expenses (including RRSP and TFSA contributions) are accounted for first, then forecast the rest of your weekly expenses and hope to run a surplus.  No detailed expense tracking here.

An interesting article about why American Express is thinking about all the ways their flagship product – credit cards – could become obsolete in the future as consumers shift toward mobile payments.

Finally, Rewards Cards Canada looks at the Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard and its curious redemption levels for travel rewards.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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