Diary of a CFP® Pro: A year of tips to help women flex their financial muscles

By Marguerita Cheng
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Margaritas with Marguerita Cheng, CFP™ Pro

Marguerita Cheng, CFP® is the CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth, a Washington, DC-based firm that focuses on helping women, and their families, achieve financial success. Every Friday evening at 5pm EST we start the weekend off right with 15 minutes of financial tips by Rita to help women flex their financial muscles.

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Welcome to “Diary of a CFP® Pro,” from author Marguerita Cheng — As we embark on a new year, I can’t think of a better gift to women than to get a handle on our finances. Some may want to save more or invest more wisely. Others may need to learn to find ways to work better on money issues with their partners or make sure there’s enough money for their kids to attend college.

Whatever your financial goal, I hope my new book will ensure your success: Diary of a CFP® Pro

Each month we’ll be rolling out a new chapter on Inkandescent Publishing so you can begin to flex your financial muscles a bit at a time. See our outline below. And scroll down to read the introduction to the book!

  • Introduction: 7 Important Tips You Need to Know Now About CFP® Professionals
  • January: 6 Personal Planning Tips to Help Navigate the Pandemic’s Financial Impact
  • February: 10 Tips for New Partners to Seamlessly Plan Together
  • March: Celebrate International Women’s Month with Mindful Financial Planning — 6 Tips for Women
  • April: How to Recession-Proof Your Retirement Income Plan
  • May: Preparing Financially for a Baby
  • June: Congrats, grads! Now Start Tackling Your Student Debt
  • July: In Celebration of Independence Day — Here’s What I Wish I Knew at the Start of My Career
  • August: 4 Ways to Cut Childcare Costs
  • September: How to Protect Your Elders from Financial Fraud
  • October: The Importance of Estate Planning: Create Your Legacy
  • November: When Impact Investing Is Worth It
  • December: How to Protect Your Credit Cards Online

You are invited: Every Friday at Happy Hour, 5 pm EST, please join me for 15 minutes of financial insight on my weekly podcast and video show, Margaritas with Marguerita Cheng, CFP® Pro. Hosted by my producer Hope Katz Gibbs, we record each episode live on facebook.com/hopekatzgibbs. Hope’s producers then work their magic to polish the episode as a podcast for iTunes, Spotify, iHeart Radio, and the Inkandescent Radio Network: MargueritaChengRadio.com. Each episode is also featured on my YouTube channel MargueritaCheng.tv, and on my website: MargueritaCheng.com.

I look forward to meeting you! Don’t hesitate to contact me via email.


Essential Tips You Need to Know Now About CFP® Professionals

As a CFP® professional, I get a lot of questions about financial topics. Some, like whether you should have a budget and why your net worth matters, are simple to answer. Other questions require a more in-depth look into your situation and the guidance of a qualified financial professional.

If you’ve never worked with a financial advisor before, you might have many questions about the CFP® certification itself. Here are seven essential answers to the most frequently asked questions about CFP® professionals.

  1. When should I hire a CFP® professional? When to hire an advisor is one of the most-asked questions about CFP® professionals. The answer is different for everyone. For some people, a specific event could trigger the need for a CFP® professional, such as:
    • A life change or desire to make a life change
    • Approaching retirement
    • An inheritance or unexpected financial windfall
    • A financial crisis such as a layoff or illness
  2. Is hiring a CFP® professional expensive? No. It’s more affordable than you might think, though your fee can depend on what services you need. An hourly fee might be appropriate if you need a one-time consultation or help with a short-term financial project. A monthly or annual fee can make more sense for ongoing financial planning. 
  3. Does a CFP® professional receive commission? Some advisors charge by the hour or project, while others earn a commission from selling products or services to their clients. Another option is to use a combination of the two. Whichever they choose, there are only three options for a CFP® professional to receive compensation:
    • Fee-only
    • Fee-and-commission
    • Commission-only
  4. Are all CFP® professionals fiduciaries? Yes. A CFP® professional is required to act in the client’s best interest at all times. Being a fiduciary includes a duty of care and loyalty to all clients. The standard serves to promote ethical and competent financial planning. Whether an advisor is a fiduciary should be a frequently asked question, but many people aren’t aware of the difference a fiduciary can make. CFP® professionals commit to CFP Board to act at all times as a fiduciary when providing financial advice to a client.
  5. How often does a CFP® professional recommend updating a financial plan? A financial plan guides you to your long-term financial goals. It’s good practice to review your plan once a year. However, more frequent updates to your strategy are often necessary if you:
    • Get a raise
    • Have (or plan to have) children
    • Experience a financial setback
    • Change your career goals
    • Want to pursue a new financial goal
  6. Will, a CFP® professional stay with a client long-term or rotate them among other advisors in the firm? When hiring a financial advisor, some clients prefer to directly meet with the CFP® professional. Larger firms may have a team of people to handle your account. If you choose to work one-on-one with a specific CFP® professional, make your expectations known during your initial meeting.
  7. Does a CFP® professional provide more than investment advice? CFP® professionals are excellent at analyzing financial information. Giving investment advice or managing your portfolio can be an everyday role for a CFP® professional. However, a CFP® professional provides financial planning beyond investment advice. Your financial plan should include a sound strategy to support you through retirement and even death. Retirement planning, tax reduction strategies, risk management, and estate planning are part of the comprehensive financial plan that a CFP® can provide.