A few weeks back I came across multiple articles about an interesting phenomenon called Pike Syndrome.  For those non-fisherman out there, a Pike is carnivorous fish and one of the most ferocious known to man.  A team of scientists decided to perform a study placing the Pike on one end of a large tank, placing a glass barrier in the middle of the tank, and on the other side of the tank they put these delicious little tiny fish that the Pikes love to eat.  You can imagine the Pike did just about anything to get to the fish.  Slamming into the glass, trying with all of its effort to break through, but the Pike was unable to break the glass.  After some time the Pike gave up, and sank to the bottom of the tank.  Sometime later the scientist removed the glass barrier and allowed the fish to swim in the same tank as the hungry Pike.  Surprisingly the fish could swim next to the Pike, hang out right in front of the Pikes face, and sure enough the Pike eventually died even though it had all the food it needed to survive.

Now the Pike is a fish, so we are going to let them off the hook this time “no pun intended.”  As intelligent adults, what is our excuse?  Each day we allow barriers, real and imaginary, to prevent us from attaining our goals in life personally and professionally.  We create these barriers tricking ourselves into believing that we will eventually accomplish our goals at some “perfect” time in the future that doesn’t exist.  You have heard the list… I want to lose weight, I want to go back to school, I want to get out of this dead end job, I want to be a better spouse, parent, etc…  A manager once told me, “You’re either growing or dying in your professional and personal life, only you can decide which it is.”  

So how do we avoid Pike Syndrome?  We remove the barriers!!!  We get creative, we stop being complacent, and we strive to make ourselves better each and every day.  The best way to do this is to do more!  Read, take classes that build upon your profession, get out and network, take care of your body and mind.   This is just some of the ways we can achieve our goals and remove those real/imaginary barriers in our daily lives.  

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
Jim Rohn


Anthony Medina
Director of Educational Partnerships


Now has never been a better time to make the decision to become a Certified Financial Planner. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupation Handbook for 2010-2011, employment opportunities for personal financial advisors are expected to grow “much faster than average” with a projected growth of 30% through 2018.  In times such as this, when every day we hear reports of a bleak job market, these are impressive statistics. Doesn’t it feel good to know you made the right decision to pursue your CFP® designation and are headed down the right career path?

Speaking of good decisions, let me tell you another - in choosing The Dalton Review® as your CFP® Exam Review Provider, you can guarantee your own success. No other review provider will let you take the review again should you not pass it the first time – and we will do it for free!

Can it really get any better than that?…..Well actually it can! Here at Dalton Education, we really care about the success of our students and we see them for the wonderful individuals they are.  Keeping that in mind, we decided there should not be a ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to preparing yourself to take the CFP® Exam.  We are the only review provider that can offer you the flexibility to choose your own learning style and fit it to your schedule.  Whether you prefer the traditional classroom, a live online review, or the recorded review to watch at your convenience, or a combination of them all – The Dalton Review® has a learning method that works for you!

Now THAT is a great decision!


Fiona Ramion
Technology Manager
Dalton Education


Benjamin Franklin authored “The Way to Wealth” – our country’s first book of financial advice back in 1758.  It was one of his most famous writings and endures still today.  He understood the value in sound financial advice.  He also understood the correlation between education and its significant return on investment.

Franklin wrote: “…let us harken to good advice and something may be done for us.”  Financial Planners hold such importance in their clients’ lives.  Whether it is managing a young couple’s nest egg or an affluent client’s multi-million dollar investment portfolio –the importance to each is equal.  I recently met a gentleman who shared with me the fact that his Financial Planner was his most trusted and closest friend.   He told me that her CFP credential confirmed that she saw him as more than just a client.   Her continued education was an investment in him.

Franklin was full of practical wisdom.  “A penny saved, is a penny earned” … or “One today is worth two tomorrows” … I love that one.  Why put off tomorrow what you can do today?  Earn a credential that will distinguish you as a true professional and as a trusted advisor and confidant to your clients.  Would you wait to take advantage of a stock that guaranteed a 30% return on your investment?  I think not.  Studies have shown that those attaining their CFP® credentials increase their earnings by 30%.     

Top financial firms understand the value in advisors holding this distinction, many offering tuition reimbursement to associates that attain their CFP® designations.   Do you think Benjamin Franklin would have taken advantage of such a benefit if it were available to him?  “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”-BF.  He would have jumped at the opportunity.

Franklin expounded wisdom of gaining and maintaining wealth to the nation, while making each individual feel as if he were writing exclusively to them.  This is a distinct quality of a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER.   The next time you pull out a Benjamin – keep in mind that you can grow your business and gain distinction as a master of your craft by simply investing in a little more knowledge.  
Tondeleo Day

Senior Enrollment Advisor

Dalton Education

Customer service has no strict definition as it means different things to different people.  In fact, a local radio personality in Atlanta calls it, "customer no service."

The definition that embodies customer service, according to Dalton Education, is the "process of creating a competitive advantage through added benefits in an effort to maximize client value."

At Dalton Education, our number one goal is to inform and educate our clients so they will be able to achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our instructors and many of our staff have obtained various professional designations through a number of different providers.  The constant theme in everyone's studies was the lack of prompt responses to questions.  This causes the student to "spin their wheels" and waste time when an instructor explanation could clear the issue up immediately.

The Dalton Education staff is always working to make our materials better, create new programs, and teach our clients.  Regardless of what is going on in the office, we are always available to answer questions.  In fact, that is our first priority!  Email a question or call the office and you will have a response within 24 hours (most likely, within an hour).

You can compare price, client success rates, quantity of practice materials, history of material writers, etc.  Dalton Education is the highest value, has spectacular client success, provides the very best in education materials and thousands of practice questions, and our writers have participated in certification board writing sessions and examination reviews. But this isn't enough for us.  Our dedication to customer service is second to none!

Bryan Strike

Senior Content Developer


Do you have this lingering feeling of unhappiness in your current  position? Have you considered becoming a CFP® licensee yet continue to put it off  because you are scared it would be too difficult?

I majored in marketing in college, which I "liked" and still "like";  however, looking back, I wish I would have been a veterinarian. That's a little difficult to start working on now as it requires 4-6 years of  full-time studying. Not sure I can swing that with my full-time job, kids and watching my Cowboys and Braves.

One of the great things about changing your career and becoming a CFP® licensee is how easy we make it for you. Dalton Education has many options for your education as well as a review prior to taking the exam, and it doesn't  take years or a home mortgage to accomplish!!! In less than ONE year,  you can complete your education, take a review course and pass the CFP® exam. This can all be done while still working full-time. There aren't  many industry fields that allow such a quick and easy transition.

Have you considered becoming a CFP® licensee? Ever really considered the  benefits?Studies have shown that CFP® licensees increase their annual income by over 30%.

  • CFP® professionals have a BETTER understanding of personal financial planning.
  • CFP® professionals offer a broader range of services and diversify their core business.
  • CFP® professionals are less likely to be subjected to the whims of the stock market.
  • A CFP® professional better understands the NEEDS of the client and the products available by the firm.
  • CFP® professionals generate MORE revenue and income per household and client.

Whether or not you need to fulfill the education requirement or just  take a review, we can help you. We have a program and plan that will fit  your needs.


Lisa Russell
Operations Manager
Dalton Education LLC

I have heard lots of reasons why students don’t pass the CFP exam, here are just a few: 

  • The guy next to me wouldn’t stop coughing during the exam.
  • The exam was just impossible.
  • I think I took the wrong exam.
  • I couldn’t find the testing facility.
  • The batteries in my calculator died
  • The room was too hot, the room was too cold, the room was too noisy, the room was too quiet... and plenty more.

However, the #1 reason I consistently hear from students that were not successful is... “I ran out of study time!”  I was busy at work, I waited until the last minute to begin studying, I had a two week vacation, etc.  They all come back to, I didn’t do everything that you suggested as part of The Dalton Review for the CFP exam, because I just ran out of study time.  So, use this information to your advantage as you begin preparing for the CFP exam.  Plan your time accordingly to finish working 125 hours of pre-study materials before attending The Dalton Review, plan on working the test bank questions for 40-50 hours after The Dalton CFP Review.  If you do everything we suggest as part of The Dalton Review®, you will pass the exam.  We guarantee it!  

Joe Gillice


The email exchange below was between myself and one of our review students, days before (and after) the March 2010 exam.  I found this interesting because it happens time and time again where review providers, specifically the Zahn CFP review, will tell students that they know what’s going to be on the exam.  Time and time again, they are wrong and are doing a real disservice to their students.  It causes students to have a false sense of confidence, study information that’s not tested and overlook information that is tested.
Here’s the email exchange:

Student 3/15/10:  Joe - Speaking to a few friends who took Zahn’s review, they indicated that there might be some questions about AMT and some sort of info on carrying credits back three years.

Joe 3/15/10:  Yes, there’s likely to be some questions on AMT.  However, nobody knows exactly what will be tested and the Zahn review is notorious for playing the guessing game and telling students that this will or will not be tested.  In fact, they don’t know... Nobody does.  I hear it time and time again, the Zahn review told us this wouldn’t be tested and it was tested or this would be tested and it wasn’t.  Stick with what we have covered.  If you know our material, you’ll be fine and you’ll pass the exam.  At this point, don’t talk to other people, it only causes anxiety and they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Traditionally, the CFP exam has consistently tested a couple of things with regard to AMT:
    1.      What are the preference items
    2.      What are the adjustments
    3.      The AMT consequence for ISO
Instructor’s Input - I covered all three in my weekend of the review and would suggest he review the online lecture.  The first two are discussed in tax where this is addressed on AMT.  I covered the ISO issue in retirement. I also did quite a few examples on ISO/NQSO in the Jan 15 office hours and discussed the amt issue there as well.  As for private activity bonds – we also covered that in the review. Tax-exempt interest on private activity bonds issued in 2009 and 2010 is not subject to AMT.  As far as they carryback – without more info I can’t really address that.  I have not heard of the board testing any other types of AMT issues.  Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen—just means I haven’t heard about it.  Like I said it is hard to tell without more info.  If they are talking about the ability to carry back NOLs for AMT – then no, I don’t think that is going to be tested because WHBAA 2009 that was enacted in Nov 2009 made some changes to the way NOL carry backs work.  Generally the board avoids things that have had some legislation change that is not yet testable because of the 6 month rule. If they are talking about the ability to have refundable AMT credits that have been unused for 3 years – well I just don’t know.  Haven’t heard about that being tested and it seems beyond the scope to me because of all the intricate details that applies.  

Student 3/16/10:
  Great feedback, thanks for taking the time to give a detailed response.

Joe 3/23/10:  How were the AMT questions?

Student 3/23/10:  Just like you predicted. I recall that there were 3 references to it.

Conclusion - I feel bad for the students that spent time worrying and studying about AMT credits being carried back.  It’s unfortunate that they were misled and given wrong information.  Remember – Nobody knows exactly what’s going to be tested on the CFP exam.  Don’t believe anyone that tells you differently!

Joseph M. Gillice, CPA, CFP®
Dalton Education, LLC

Below is an email from Carol Lee Roberts, Managing Director, Examination and Education at the CFP Board.  She outlines the grading process and why it takes approximately 8 weeks to grade the exam.  After reading how thorough the Board is and her detailed explanation, it’s understandable why it takes 8 weeks to grade.  Thank you for the information Carol Lee!