Finding a financial professional can be a daunting task.  How do you choose a needle from a seemingly endless stack of needles?  Financial professionals understand this problem, and do what they can to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

In my opinion, this is why special designations were created. They help allow consumers to see which financial professionals have gone that extra step to make themselves the most qualified.  Designations are often earned through required coursework and examinations that test a financial professional's knowledge in various specialized areas. Some designations are designed specifically for financial professionals who work with retirees, while other designations show specialization in insurance or business. No two designations are exactly alike, and some are more reknowned than others.


  • CLU® - Since 1927, the CLU® has been the respected risk management credential for advisors. Designees have completed eight or more college-level courses representing an average study time of 400 hours. Topics for required courses include insurance and financial planning, life insurance law, estate planning, and planning for business owners and professionals. Elective courses include such advanced topics as income taxes, group benefits, retirement planning, and health insurance. CLU®  designees must meet experience and continuing education requirements and must adhere to a high ethical standard. The mark is awarded by The American College, a non-profit educator with the top level of academic accreditation.


  • ChFC® - The ChFC® designation has been a mark of excellence for almost thirty years and currently requires nine college-level courses, the most of any financial planning credential. Average study time to earn the ChFC®  exceeds 450 hours. Required courses cover extensive education and application training in financial planning, income taxation, investments, and estate and retirement planning. Additional electives are chosen from such topics as macroeconomics, financial decisions for retirement, and executive compensation. ChFC® designees must meet experience requirements and adhere to continuing education and ethical standards. The credential is awarded by The American College, a non-profit educator founded in 1927 and the highest level of academic accreditation.


  • CASL® - The CASL® credential provides advisors with in-depth training on issues impacting seniors and those planning for retirement. The designation incorporates five required, college-level courses that represent an average total study time of more than 250 hours. Topics include investments, estate planning, health and long-term care financing, and financial decisions for retirement. CASL® designees must meet experience, continuing education and ethics requirements. The credential is awarded by The American College, a non-profit educator founded in 1927 and the top level of academic accreditation.


  • LUTCF® - LUTCF® stands for Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow. The LUTCF® designation is granted by The American College to professionals who have completed a five-course curriculum focusing on life insurance planning and have met additional ethical requirements. The program was designed to help agents and new advisors offer more comprehensive financial advice. Since its creation in 1984 by NAIFA, more than 50,000 LUTCF® designations have been conferred.



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