I am often asked about flashcards for the CFP exam and if they are helpful in preparing for the CFP exam.

The short answer is ABSOLUTELY!  Regardless of your learning style, flashcards are very helpful in building your foundation of knowledge.  Flashcards help you to memorize/learn key terms, concepts, facts, figures and mnemonics.  Whether you’re making your own or purchasing pre-made CFP exam flashcards, they are a must for any successful study plan. 

Most of us are visual learners, which means we learn best by reading or seeing.   Studies show that about 65 percent of us are visual learners; 30 percent are auditory and 5 percent are tactile learners.  While we can be a combination of the three, we all have a predominant learning style.  Flashcards appeal to both visual and tactile learners.  Visual learners are reading/seeing the terms and concepts, while tactile learners should be making their own flashcards. 

When considering whether to make your own CFP exam flashcards or purchase pre-made CFP exam flashcards, here are some important considerations.

Making Your Own CFP Exam Flashcards

  • Writing out your own flashcards is great if you’re a tactile learner.  The process of creating, “doing” and writing out the terms and concepts is very helpful for tactile learners.
  • Writing out your own flashcards is time consuming.  Consider that you’ll need at least 500 flashcards to prepare for the CFP exam, at 2 minutes per flashcard, it will take 16+ hours just to make the cards and that doesn’t consider spending time studying the cards.

Pre-Made CFP Exam Flashcards

  • Pre-made CFP flashcards are useful because they tend to be more comprehensive and detailed than you might make on your own.  If a concept has five key bullet points, flashcards you make on your own may only have the top 1 or 2 bullet points, whereas the pre-made flashcards will have all five bullet points.
  • Pre-made CFP flashcards also save you time and let you start immediately memorizing/learning the terms and concepts.
  • Pre-made CFP flashcards are best for anyone who is short on time and is looking for that extra “something” to help their studies.
  • With pre-made CFP flashcards, you don’t have to guess as to what’s important and what flashcards to make.  The most important terms and concepts are already included with pre-made CFP flashcards.

Regardless if you decide to make your own flashcards or purchase pre-made, please be sure to utilize flashcards as part of your studies for the CFP exam.  Consider all the time and money you have to invest topass the CFP exam.  Anything extra you can do to put yourself in a position to pass the exam on your first attempt is well worth it!

As for The Dalton Review® CFP exam flashcards, there are 490+ flashcardscovering the most important terms and concepts.  If you are not going to make your own cards, then give these a try CFP Flashcards-Study Products for the CFP Review Exam. You’ll also notice that when going through The Dalton Review® pre-studymaterials for the CFP exam, there are lots of exam tips.  The exam tipswill instruct you to make a flashcard of a mnemonic or concept.  With The Dalton Review® CFP exam flashcards, we have already created the flashcards for you.  The flashcards are very comprehensive and a huge time saver.

I hope this was helpful.


Joseph M. Gillice, CPA, CFP®



One of the most important factors in a candidate’s success on the CFP® Certification Examination is the amount of time they spend studying for the exam. Consider that it takes about 150-175 hours of total prep time to get “exam ready”, not including time spent attending the review. Figure 100-125 hours to work through pre-study materials and another 40-60 hours of post-review studying.

It’s a good idea to determine the number of hours you can study each week, divide that number into 175 to budget how many weeks you need to study. Once you know the total number of weeks you need to study, work backwards from the exam date to determine the ideal date to begin your studies. On average, if you can study for 10 hours per week, you’ll need to start studying 17.5 weeks prior to the exam, or a little over 4 months. If you can study for 15 hours per week, you’ll need about 12 weeks or 3 months. The point is, start early to be sure you can get all the studying done necessary to pass the exam. Something else to consider is attending The Dalton Review® twice, before taking the CFP® Certification Examination. Once you enroll in The Dalton Review®, you can attend as many times as you want, at no additional cost. By starting early, attending the review twice and putting the required time into studying, you’ll be in great position to pass the exam on your first try. So, consider attending the review that’s offered prior to the exam you’re actually going to take. The more times you hear the material, the deeper understanding you will get each time. Here’s an example of an ideal study plan:

March Exam - Attend the review in November, study December - March, attend the review again in February and pass the March exam.

July Exam - Attend the review in March, study April - July, attend the review again in June and pass the July exam.

November Exam - Attend the review in July, study August. - November, attend the October review, pass the November exam.

Happy Studying!


Joe Gillice

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 – CFP and the Masters Certificate in Financial Planning

In a sea of more than 630,000 persons categorized as a registered rep as of March 2012, ranging from veterans to novice and everything in between, it can be a daunting task to build a strong brand.  So how does one do it?  How should you do it?  Who has the time?

Well Dalton has made it easy for you to strengthen your impact and increase your client base.  By offering an accelerated, on-line Masters Certificate in Financial Planning, students are able to enroll in our May class or take advantage of our early enrollment incentive for the September Class.  Both programs can be completed in approximately nine months and allow advisors the opportunity to obtain both their Masters Certificate and CFP in less than one year from universities such as NYU, Northwestern, UCLA, Wake Forest, UNLV, University of Miami, University of Richmond, Texas A&M, and University of Texas – Dallas.  Imagine the impact you would have on your clients when you invite them into your office for a consultation and they notice the framed NYU or Northwestern insignia on your wall.  Imagine how your circle of influence will expand being able to connect with local alums.  Imagine how your reach in social media outlets and connections can grow in less than a year.  Instant credibility, instant recognition, instant results.  With so many companies offering untapped resources in the form of educational reimbursement, there really is no excuse.  Now is truly the moment to begin building your brand. 

Hannah Stears
Education Advisor

So what does it take to build a successful advisory business?  More leads?  A larger  marketing budget?  Fact is these two items would probably not help much.  Unlike most consulting jobs, financial advisors need referrals, high retention, and repeat business year after year.  The best way to achieve this is through relationship marketing, which is a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement.  Relationship marketing is designed to develop strong connections with customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests, and by promoting open communication. This approach often results in increased word-of-mouth activity, repeat business and a willingness on the customer’s part to provide information to the organization.  

Examples would include:
  1. Airlines - frequent flyer perks, through which passengers build entitlements for upgrades, preferential rates and services.
  2. Loyalty cards - offered by supermarkets and departmental stores, to reward customer’s commitment and loyalty.
  3. Corporate credit cards - offered by car rental companies and international chains of hotels.
  4. Customer loyalty clubs - set up and managed by a wide array of organizations, in consumer and other marketing areas.

Getting Started:

In order to provide relationship marketing, one has to recognize that different types of customers have different expectations. This must be reflected in the relationship building process. Therefore, in order to successfully introduce and successfully sustain a relationship marketing program, an advisor must have a different outlook towards its customers and reflect the same in marketing strategies formulated and implemented.  You can also start by identifying your key customers, study the needs and/or expectations of both parties (company and customer), build the relationship marketing process as an integral process of the as an integral part of the your personal marketing strategy, and build your business by developing relationships with the identified customers by focusing on small winning situations.  


  1. Stay on the cutting edge: Understand the power of social media.*  Have active profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc… and attain additional knowledge on how to master these cutting edge marketing techniques.
  2. Integrate customer feedback: Allows you to improve your relationships by keeping up to date on how your clients feel they are being serviced.
  3. Embrace high-tech, but always maintain high-touch:  Continue to reach out to clients, prospects, and industry leaders.  

* Starting fall 2012 Dalton Education will begin offering certified social media education through it’s coalition of universities For more information, please give us a call at (877) 426-2373 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The traditional delivery system for the majority of higher education courses has been sitting in a classroom listening to a professor lecture.  The students are able to interact with their professor and peers, sharing ideas and communicating without any barriers.  But in recent years, the shift from the traditional classroom to online courses is greatly increasing and students all over the country are benefiting in numerous ways.  Due to the ease of accessibility, course documents, online lectures, homework, and even exams can be obtained from the comfort of your own home, practically anywhere in the world.  And after years of studies and testing, online learning is quickly gaining acceptance from the education industry as a productive way of obtaining your degree.  While both traditional classes and online classes have their own pros and cons, some advantages to online learning include alternative methods of communicating between student and professor, increased individualized attention through private email and chat, as well as the flexibility that a traditional classroom just can’t provide.  Each student will ultimately benefit the most by the type of instruction that meets their individual needs, but if you are struggling with maintaining a structured classroom schedule, then maybe online learning is for you.  Dalton Education offers both traditional classroom lectures as well as online courses to accommodate all types of learners.  Let us help you find your perfect fit today.

Product Manager

Whether you have already taken the leap and enrolled in one of our online CFP Programs, or you are still considering the first steps, our Guest Lecture series has something for you!  This series of free, live online lectures is designed to provide attendees with timely and insightful information on issues in the financial planning education community.  Join top experts in the financial planning field, as they discuss hot topics, relevant to you and your career.  

Are you looking for that edge to set you apart?  Considering a certification, but wonder if it’s worth the time and effort?  We can help answer your questions, with titles including:
  • Why Certify: Certifications & Credentials
  • White Collar Combat: Differentiate Yourself in a Corporate Warzone
  • All Certificates and Certifications are not Created Equal
  • Demystified:  CFP® Education
Perhaps you’ve already made the commitment and are well on your way to earning the CFP® certification.  How will you know when you’re ready to take the exam?  How can you assure you pass it the first time around, making the most of your time and money?  The following lectures will provide the answers to these and many other questions.
  • What the CFP Board Knows about CFP Exam Cases and You Don’t
  • How to Attack the Most Difficult Questions on the CFP Exam
  • How to Pass The CFP Exam - Your First Time
  • The Predictor Exam - Know Whether You are Ready to Pass the CFP Exam or Not
  • Changes to the 2012 CFP Exam and How They Impact You

No matter where you are in your journey towards CFP® certification, at Dalton Education, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Please join us for this exciting new series and get the answers you need to succeed!  

Each guest lecture is approximately 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A. Click here to see a full schedule of lectures offered in this series and reserve your spot today!

Holly Gillice
Product Developer

The CFP Board has issued new guidelines when it comes to retaking the exam.  Effective January 2012, you may only take the exam a total of five times in your life with an exception for those who have previously taken the exam four or more times.  We have created the following table to illustrate how many times you may take the exam based on the number of times you previously sat for the exam.


  Never taken the exam                    
 5 attempts remaining                   
  Took the exam 1 time prior to January 1, 2012  4 attempts remaining
  Took the exam 2 times prior to January 1, 2012  3 attempts remaining
  Took the exam 3 times prior to January 1, 2012  2 attempts remaining
  Took the exam 4 times prior to January 1, 2012
 2 attempts remaining
  Took the exam 5+ times prior to January 1, 2012  2 attempts remaining
  All attempts after January 1, 2012 will eat into your remaining attempts. 


In addition, individuals may attempt the exam a maximum of three times within a 24 month period.  If an individual attempts the exam on three successive administrations, a one year sit-out period is required before registering for another attempt.

If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 877-426-2373 or read the release from the CFP Board here

Fortunately this year is not like the last.  In mid-December 2010 Congress passed a new set of tax laws, which extended the Bush Tax cuts for two additional years—through 2012.  They also snuck in a payroll tax cut for 2011 only.  Talk about waiting till the last minute.

The downside with this year is the debate about extending the payroll tax cut for 2012.  Congress finally figured out what it wanted to do, sort of, and passed a 2-month extension to the payroll tax cut.  Therefore, the Old Age, Survivor, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) payroll tax for employees continues to be 4.2% for January and February.  The employer piece is still 6.2% so the total rate is 10.4% for self-employed individuals.  The Medicare rate stays the same at 1.45% for the employee and employer or 2.9% for self-employed individuals.

Since this is a partial year extension Congress did not want the high-income individuals to shift income or recognize more than the annualized OASDI threshold ($110,100 for 2012) in the first two months.  Therefore, any individual recognizing more than $18,350 during the first two months of 2012 will recognize a 2% surtax when filing their income tax return by April 2013.  This provision may be adjusted if Congress decides to extend the payroll tax cut for the entire year.

Other changes are primarily due to inflation adjustments.  Qualified retirement savings plans allow for deferrals up to $17,000 with a $5,500 catch-up contribution.  Total contributions are now $50,000 with the $5,500 catch-up contribution.  IRA contributions remain the same at $5,000 with a $1,000 catch-up.

From a tax return perspective, personal and dependency exemptions increased to $3,800, standard deductions are up $300 for married couples filing jointly or $150 for single individuals, investment taxes stayed the same, education credits stayed the same but the lifetime learning credit phase-out was increased $2,000 for married couples and $1,000 for single individuals, and the gift and estate exclusion amount increased $120,000 to $5,120,000 per person and is still portable through the end of the year.

This will be an exciting year here at Dalton Education.  Join us!

Bryan Strike
Senior Content Developer

Many people spend their entire professional life focusing on the prevention of failure. It is almost natural to prevent failing at all costs. As a member of society we are conditioned that failure is the opposite of success. For example, when we “fail” a test, when we “fail” at relationships, when a team “fails” to perform during competition, these are all viewed as the polar opposite of being a success. However, I would argue that failure is not the opposite of success. Failure and success are very closely related. To a certain extent, you cannot fully appreciate success without your share of failures.  If one has learned through failure, than that experience is transformed in to an intellectual success.

The true assassin of a success is Complacent Conformity.  According to Harvard psychologist Herbert Kelman, there are two types of conformity. The first is informational conformity; Informational social influence transpires when one turns to the participants of one's group to acquire accurate information.  The second type of conformity is normative conformity. Normative conformity happens when one conforms to be adored or accepted by the participants of the group. Economists have suggested that whims and movements in culture forms as the consequence of individuals making lucid choices based on evidence received from others. These informational waterfalls form rapidly as individuals choose to discount their inner signals and go along with what other people are doing. For example, the housing bubble:  when everyone was convinced the way to secure wealth was through real estate.

Consider the most successful people in America today. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, refused to conform to social standards and disrupted an entire market. Tony Shea, CEO of Zappos (the largest online shoe store), took selling a tangible product that everyone thought was impossible to sell in an online environment and made a 1.2 billion dollar company. Look at the successful people in your life and you will soon discover that they are non-conformists. Maybe that person lies deep within you.

Conformity happens often in the workplace. For example, a person that does not want to work too hard because they are scared they might work themselves out of a job. Another example would be a person who does not want to develop their professional skills and education because their colleagues lack the drive of pursuit. Even if you are successful in your current position, what got you there is not going to keep you there! Develop your skills, education and experience.  Do not be complacent! Strive for more. The clock is ticking and we are only blessed with a set amount of time in this life, MAKE THE BEST OF IT! Do more, want more, SUCCEED! Thomas Edison said it best “We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present.”

Dave Saben
Vice President, Sales