Americans are desperate for advice on how to best plan for retirement, and a growing number of financial advisors are equally anxious to get help on how to guide them. The result is a growing number of advisors looking to obtain a Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) designation.
According to The American College of Financial Services, the RICP is only three years old, but it immediately became the fastest growing financial advisor credential ever launched in the college’s 88 year history. This week the college announced it has grown to be the number one designation program that it offers.
“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,” noted David A. Littell, RICP Retirement Income program director at The New York Center for Retirement Income at the college. “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.”
About the College and Its Mission
The American College of Financial Services serves exactly the mission that its name indicates. It is an accredited, nonprofit college for financial advisors. It offers a variety of training, certification, a master’s degree and a PhD program.
“Our heart and soul is the financial services industry, and servicing and educating professionals and advisors in the industry,” Jamie Hopkins, associate director in the RICP program told Retirement Wire. “We do that through a variety of programs, one of which is the RICP. We have a very broad impact in the financial services industry. There are over 140,000 advisors that hold an American College designation that are currently practicing. We are the largest educational provider for financial services.”
The college first began offering the RICP designation in May of 2013. Some 1,500 financial planners have completed the program, and another 7,000 are currently enrolled.
“The program was designed specifically to address retirement income planning,” explains Littell. “We thought that was what advisors needed. That is what they were asking for. That is what the industry was looking for.”
The RICP program consists of three in-depth college-level courses coving topics central to any retirement income plan. They are:
• Retirement Income Process, Strategies and Solutions
• Sources of Retirement Income
• Managing the Retirement Income Plan
Students spend 60 to 80 hours studying for each course, Littell explains. At the end of each course they must pass a 100-question multiple choice exam.
“The layout of the program is three college level courses. The first course is laid out as a process course – what is the process of building a retirement income plan,” Littell says.