The American College of Financial services, which is the largest education provider for financial services, has been training financial planners to become more knowledgeable in their industry for over 88 years. “Our heart and soul is the financial services industry, and servicing and educating professionals and advisors in the industry,” says Jamie Hopkins, associate director in the RICP program to Retirement Wire. According to a recent article in Think Advisor, they introduced a new designation, Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) in May 2013 and since then 1500 financial planners have completed this designation with another 7000 currently enrolled.
This new program is training Financial Advisors to satisfy a need for Americans desperate for retirement planning; to address the various ways you can help clients generate income in retirement. “When 80 percent of retirement-age Americans get an ‘F’ on a basic retirement income quiz, it’s clear there is a real knowledge deficit around retirement income planning,” says David A. Littell, the RICP Retirement Income program director at The New York Center for Retirement Income. “People need the help of a certified retirement planner to get them on the right path. The RICP is playing a key role in educating advisors to guide Americans in the most challenging financial task of their lives – generating lifelong retirement income.”
The RICP program is a college level course that delves into 3 main areas:
Retirement Income Process, Strategies and Solutions, Sources of Retirement Income, Managing the Retirement Income Plan.
After completing the core course, the training goes deeper into a few specific areas: Social Security claiming, long term care planning, how to build a retirement portfolio, how to take withdrawals out of a portfolio, the new 4 percent rule, and different strategies of converting assets into income. “We also cover strategic use of home equity,” Hopkins continues. “There is quite a bit on reverse mortgages — in part because there is more and more research showing that you can use a reverse mortgage strategically; not just as a last resort, but as a strategic part of your retirement income plan. You can use it as a line of credit, and there are some studies that show you might be better off taking it earlier.”
“We are in a field where some people are focused in on building an income floor and then having a portfolio with discretionary income needs; and other people think you should just keep all your assets in a portfolio,” Hopkins says. “We have a number of different ways of looking at in and these people in these various camps are pretty sure that they’re right. You learn about all these different approaches, and I think people like that.”