"If the only thing I accomplish with my CFP is teaching my kids how to work hard, I'm happy with that."
Rob McCoy joined the Howard Bailey family in 2014. From the moment he accepted his role, he knew he wanted to use his love of the educational side of the industry to help others. Committed to continuous growth, Rob holds his Series 65 Securities License administered by FINRA, and is life, accident, and health insurance licensed. Most recently, Rob took on the challenge of becoming a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. In this interview, Rob walks us through the process of obtaining his CFP® license, his emotions through the intense testing, and his family’s reaction to his accomplishments.
Can you walk us through the process of becoming a CFP?
You begin with some undergraduate work. There are six different main focus areas that you must take a class for and pass a test. The six classes take approximately a year to complete. After you finish those classes, you move into a live setting where you host a meeting for your professor and walk them through each of the steps of the planning process. Once you have passed that, you are done with undergraduate work and move into studying for the exam. I am the first to admit I am not a good test taker. Actually, I am horrible at it. It took me multiple attempts. Before you take the test, there is a three-month preparation course where you essentially go through the undergraduate courses again, but at a very accelerated speed. You can either take it online or participate in live classes in the Cincinnati or Chicago area. The first few times through the process, I attended the live classes in Cincinnati, and I didn’t really click with the teaching styles. This last time my instructor was really, really good. He made things that had never clicked for me make sense.
Did you do anything different to prepare for the test this time?
When I was ready to try the test again, I received some advice from Marshal Johnson, Vice President of Howard Bailey. Typically, whether speaking in front of people or taking tests, my nerves are high – I get overwhelmed. So, Marshal gave me a CD that helped him before his test. It talked me through ways to calm my nerves and just focus on my knowledge. When I was finished with the test, I felt 100% confident that I had passed it.
How long did you have to wait to know if you passed?
They give you a preliminary pass or fail right away. The preliminary score is very accurate, so I walked out feeling great since I was given a tentative pass score. You have to wait about a month to get the official pass/fail notification, but like I said, the preliminary score is pretty accurate. I think it would be bad PR for the CFP board if it wasn’t. I wasn’t surprised when I received my notification that I passed. During the last test I took, I actually felt comfortable and at ease.
What should clients know about the value of working with someone who has a CFP designation?
Well, what I say to clients is to think of it this way: if you had the choice between an accountant and a certified public accountant which would you choose to go to? The CPA or the accountant? Because that CPA has additional education and has been certified in his niche area. The same applies with a financial planner versus a certified financial planner. The approach changes as the certification comes along because you have that extra education and the extra understanding of the value you are offering. Being educated and aware of how each process is intertwined with another, from a long term and short-term view, really allows for higher standards to be set.
How did you celebrate?
Well, it was COVID-19 (laughs). My wife picked up some carry out in place of the surprise party she had planned with our whole family. She spoiled the surprise, but we will reschedule that celebration for when we can all be together again.
Do your children realize what kind of accomplishment their dad just achieved?
So, obviously it was a big undertaking for the family as I went through the process. Family time was sacrificed, but they would see me sitting there with books, papers, and my computer and we would talk through what I was doing. So, when I came home after I passed, both of my boys were excited and said “Congratulations Daddy! We’re proud of you.” So, I think from a lesson perspective, I’m hoping they saw that by doing the right thing and working hard it will pay off in life. If the only thing I accomplish with my CFP is teaching my kids how to work hard, I’m happy with that.
What’s next for you, Rob?
I don’t know yet. Taking a well-deserved break from studying. Eventually maybe I will go after a few more certifications. I want to enjoy this accomplishment for a little while. Q: What is your definition of retirement? A: Ultimately, of course, it is no longer working with peace of mind that I don’t have to worry about working again. I have a plan in place that, between now and my retirement, once I flip the switch, I am done. I won’t have to worry about working again. My plan age to retire is 63. I’m 46 now and by the time I am 63 my youngest should be done with college (assuming he goes to a four-year university). I’ll be ready then.