PFS Body of Knowledge 

Eligible Business Experience and Lifelong Learning must fall within the nine practice areas comprising the PFS Body of Knowledge (from the PFS Credential Application Kit):

Additional information can be found in the PFS Exam Content Specification Outline.

 Nine Practice Areas of the PFS Body of Knowledge

1. Personal Financial Planning Process and Fundamentals of Financial Planning
  • Helping clients establish their financial goals
  • Reviewing income and spending patterns; developing recommendations for cash flow management and budgeting
  • Performing “time value of money” calculations for decisions such as refinancing a home or buying vs. leasing a motor vehicle
2. Income Tax Planning
  • Advising clients regarding federal and state income tax consequences of their financial decisions
  • Helping clients split income among family members through use of family partnerships, employment arrangements, gifts and trusts, installment sales, etc.
  • Advising clients on issues related to personal decisions, such as marriage or divorce (e.g., property settlements, retirement plan asset division, alimony, child support)
3. Insurance Planning
  • Analyzing client exposure to risks and recommending methods for managing risk
  • Advising clients on various types and uses of life insurance
  • Helping clients minimize their financial risks from disability, illness, property damage, and personal and professional liability
  • Planning for long-term health care for clients and their families
  • Reviewing proposed policies to ensure clients’ needs are satisfied
  • Reviewing income and estate tax aspects of insurance coverage with clients
4. Investment Planning
  • Year-end capital gain/loss recognition planning; deferral of capital gain strategies
  • Reviewing client investment preferences and risk tolerance to help them develop appropriate investment strategies
  • Discussing available investment options with clients
  • Monitoring the performance of invested assets
  • Providing asset allocation recommendations
  • Recommending investments or helping clients build portfolios
  • Managing client assets
5. Financial Independence (Retirement Planning)
  • Helping clients develop or refine retirement planning goals; determining cash requirements to realize those goals
  • Calculating savings needed to meet retirement cash requirements and analyzing available retirement plans
  • Reviewing limits on and tax consequences of contributions to or distributions from retirement plans
  • Establishing retirement plans
  • Planning for retirement plan withdrawals
  • Assisting clients with maximizing their Social Security benefits
  • Planning for post-retirement succession of a closely held business
6. Employee Benefits
  • Evaluating or reviewing various benefits (equity, fringe, insurance) available to employees of public and private companies
  • Evaluating the implications of strategies for timing exercise and sale of equity employee benefits
  • Examining tax implications of benefits for employer and employees
7. Performance Management
  • Helping clients develop or refine their financial and personal estate planning goals
  • Estimating liabilities for federal estate tax, state death taxes and other obligations; determining cash needs upon death
  • Developing recommendations to meet financial obligations upon death
  • Reviewing tax and probate considerations of various forms of property ownership; making recommendations on the titling of assets
  • Developing strategies for minimizing estate and death taxes and achieving the clients’ other estate-planning goals
  • Recommending or reviewing various instruments (e.g., wills, powers of attorney, trusts) for use in achieving goals
  • Planning for post-mortem succession of a closely held business (e.g., buy-sell agreements, estate freeze techniques, valuation issues) 
8. Charitable Planning
  • Evaluating clients assets to use for charitable giving
  • Determining the advantages and disadvantages of charitable giving through different vehicles (e.g., conservation easements, charitable trusts, life insurance)
  • Summarizing income tax consequences of various charitable giving options
9. Special Needs
  • Defining clients' housing goals
  • Evaluating cost of education and educational options
  • Planning income needs and evaluating division of assets during a divorce
  • Recognizing business liability exposure for business owners

Go to the PFS Credential Overview Page
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