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This is a continuation of the My CFP Journey, Part 1: Why, Where and How Much to Be A Certified Financial Planner in Malaysia article. As of time of writing, I have successfully completed CFP Module 1 and Module 2, or two out of the four modules required to be a Certified Financial Planner in Malaysia.

CFP Module 1 and Module 2 covers Foundation in Financial Planning and Tax Planning, and Insurance Planning and Estate Planning, respectively. This is how my textbooks look like. Don’t be too intimidated by the thickness – the font is on the bigger side.

Taking CFP during pandemic vs pre-pandemic

A quick disclaimer: I’ll be writing this in the POV of myself and my experience taking the CFP Modules through my education provider, so other people’s experiences may vary. I’m also taking CFP during the pandemic, which means all my classes were held online.

The difference between online CFP classes and physical classes, as far as I could tell:

Online CFP Classes Physical CFP Classes
Weekends Not sure
*6 classes *6 classes (?)
4 hours per class (9am-1pm OR 1-5pm slot) 8 hours per class (9am-5pm )

*Note: CFP Module 4, the last module and also I heard the hardest, contains more classes

As you can see, online CFP classes take up HALF the time of physical CFP classes, so the efficient side of me is happy. I think online CFP classes would suit people who are good at self-studying, but I admit I miss the face-to-face interactions, as well as possible friendships with classmates. It’s just different with Zoom 🙁

CFP Module 1 – Foundation in Financial Planning and Tax Planning

CFP Module 1 – Foundation in Financial Planning and Tax Planning contains 11 topics:

  1. Introduction to financial planning
  2. Regulatory controls and practices affecting financial planning
  3. Nature and scope of financial planning
  4. The economic environment and its effects on financial planning
  5. Analytical tools for financial planning professionals
  6. Risk management and insurance planning
  7. Investment planning
  8. Taxation planning
  9. Retirement planning and estate planning
  10. The basis of a financial plan
  11. Code of ethics

What I learned from CFP Module 1

It’s an overview

Module 1 mostly covers the basics – many topics are further expanded in:

  • CFP Module 2 – Insurance and Estate Planning
  • CFP Module 3 – Investment Planning and Retirement Planning
  • CFP Module 4 – Financial Plan Construction

It also covers the basics of economics, Malaysia’s financial regulatory landscape, and the financial planning profession itself. Anyone with a passing interest in these things would have known of the information. I did, but it’s good to know in a structured format.

I like the part on Code of Ethics. They really remind you that certified financial planners serve the client, and are NOT product pushers. Everything you do, you have to do it in the client’s best interest, not your pocket. I really appreciate that part.

Get a financial calculator

In the first class of CFP Module 1, we were quickly told to get a financial calculator. I didn’t even know such tools existed!

There are various models, but you should get the financial calculator your lecturer recommended, just to make your life easier. Our lecturer suggested two models, Casio FC-200V and HP10bII+, and highly recommended the former, so that’s what I got.

Protip: A new financial calculator costs around RM130-160 in Shopee. Go find a secondhand one on Carousell or other platforms. I got mine for RM70 yay.

In case you ask – no, you don’t need to be good at maths to be a financial planner. As long as you do the practice questions, you should get the hang of the calculations quickly enough. My education provider also holds optional classes just to practice financial calculations every semester

CFP Module 2 – Insurance Planning and Estate Planning

CFP Module 2 – Insurance and Estate Planning contains 18 topics:

  1. Fundamental concepts in risk management
  2. Insurance fundamentals
  3. Legal principles in insurance
  4. The role of insurance in financial planning
  5. Factors affecting life insurance needs
  6. Understanding life insurance policy contracts and takaful
  7. General insurance policy contracts
  8. Health insurance
  9. Annuity policy contracts
  10. Legislation and rules in the insurance industry
  11. Consumer protection and codes of practice
  12. Estate planning fundamentals
  13. Wills and will planning
  14. Trust
  15. Power of Attorney
  16. Duties and Powers of the Personal Representative
  17. Rights of beneficiaries
  18. Special estate planning issues for business owners

Unlike CFP Module 1, CFP Module 2 really doubled down on legalese, so I forced my inner lawyer to wake up and pay attention. I learned so many new terms and jargon!

As for the financial calculations, it’s minimal in comparison, but apparently they will come back with a vengeance in Modules 3 and 4 😀

What I learned from CFP Module 2

The different types of insurance

Most people have heard of life insurance, health, critical illness, fire, car, etc. And yes the module covers those in detail. This is the majority of insurance content targeted to consumers like you and me. (I also write about insurance here in RoR)

But additionally, in CFP Module 2 I found out there are more types of insurance products, not just for personal use but also for businesses as well. They can get incredibly specific and random, like, uh, Golf insurance

CFP lesson today, learning about General Insurance. TIL – Golf insurance

and Marine insurance

Marine insurance is used to cover losses for vehicles carrying cargo not just via sea, but ALSO by air and road, which makes NO SENSE, naming-wise https://t.co/cRaTyXGN80

I think, if you’re a naturally paranoid person, you will go NUTS over all the possible types of things that *may* go wrong, that you have not even considered before. Fun.

How to use estate planning tools

This part was incredibly fascinating, I was engrossed by the different financial tools you can use in different scenarios to decide where your wealth goes after you’re gone (or comatose or physically/mentally incapable of taking care of yourself).

Listen, if you’re petty – and I’m not saying that to judge, I’m hella petty myself – you should hire an estate planner. Go ahead and make a list of people you want to leave money/assets behind and DON’T want to leave assets behind, then use wills, trusts, hibah, whatever, to serve your wishes. It’ll make the thought of dying less morbid, in an ‘I’ll have the last laugh’ kinda way.

More info on getting estate planner (a specialisation of financial planner) – Get REAL Financial Advice: 3 Ways to Find Financial Planners in Malaysia

Additionally, if you’re Muslim AND have irresponsible male family members who will get an inheritance under faraid but you KNOW is not deserving of the money, then check out How to Avoid Islamic Inheritance Laws in Malaysia article. Important: read the comments section for input (and contacts) of actual Islamic estate planners.

The easiest ways to avoid unfair implementation of faraid ie Islamic Inheritance Laws in Malaysia is:
– B40/M40 – get insurance and clearly name who you want to get your money as beneficiaries
– M40/T20 – aside from insurance, do wasiat+trust combo

End CFP Modules 1 and 2. Onwards to CFP Modules 3 and 4

According to my education provider, CFP Module 1 and Module 2 are fairly easy classes, with high passing rates (provided you put in the effort of course). It’s CFP Module 3 and Module 4 that you have to worry about.

As of time of writing, I have enrolled myself into Module 3 and bucking myself up for topics related to investment planning and retirement planning. I’m not going to worry about the exams now – as they say, worrying early means you suffer twice 😀

I hope you enjoyed Part 2 of my CFP journey. If you missed the first part, please read it here: My CFP Journey, Part 1: Why, Where and How Much to Be A Certified Financial Planner in Malaysia

Any of you taking CFP currently? Any of you have taken it before? What did you learn from your last module, and do you have any study tips to share?

Also – if you took CFP pre-pandemic – aside from connections with classmates, what else did I miss out on? Please share with us your experience in the comments section below!

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