Professional Designations

What is a Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP)?

By  Brian Thorp

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While reaching retirement is an exciting milestone, it can also be very nerve racking, especially if you’re unsure of whether your nest egg will last. Fortunately, a Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) who is an expert in retirement income planning can help you out.

RICPs work with retirees and people nearing retirement to make the best use of the assets they’ve accumulated over the years. Let’s take a closer look at what this designation is, what it takes to earn the RICP designation and how you may benefit from working with a RICP.

What is a Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP)?

Retirement Income Certified Professionals are essentially financial advisors who help people ensure all of the money they saved for retirement lasts a lifetime. RICPs can help you create steady retirement income out of your savings, figure out the optimal time to claim Social Security and company retirement benefits and plan for healthcare as well as long-term care. 

The goal of an RICP is to support their clients in maintaining the standard of living they’re used to during their retirement years. They’re also there to address any income gaps that may exist, design estate plans, and reduce risk as much as possible. 

You can think of RICPs as financial experts for those in retirement. While many retirement advisors focus on how to save for retirement, RICPs are concerned with how to help those who are already retired or close to retiring stretch their savings as much as possible. 

Should You Hire an RICP?

An RICP can benefit a variety of individuals. With an RICP’s guidance, you can:

  • Enjoy Financial Peace During Retirement: You’ve worked hard to save for retirement and owe it to yourself to enjoy it as much as possible. An RICP can help you do so without worrying about whether you’ll run out of savings. They’ll work with you to make sure you live comfortably and make smart financial decisions throughout your retirement. 
  • Navigate Social Security and Company Retirement Benefits: Social Security and company retirement benefits can be complicated. You may be unsure of when to claim them and get the most bang for your buck. With an RICP, you can determine the ideal time to do so.
  • Plan for Potential Issues: In a perfect world, your retirement would go as planned. The reality is that a financial roadblock is bound to pop up at some point in time. An RICP may identify roadblocks before they occur so you’re well-prepared and less stressed when you experience them.

Whether you’re already retired or have plans to retire in the near future, an RICP can give you some much needed peace of mind. With their experience and expertise, you can live a fulfilling life in retirement while avoiding common financial pitfalls. 

What Does it Take to Earn and Maintain the RICP?

Those who hope to earn their RICP designation must fulfill certain requirements set forth by the American College of Financial Services, a private institution in Pennsylvania with a focus on training for financial practitioners. Here’s an overview of the requirements:

Education and Experience to Earn the RICP Designation

The American College of Financial Services requires that all candidates have at least three years of business experience in insurance and healthcare, financial services and employee benefits, or another related field. 

An undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited institution constitutes as one year of business experience. Those with part-time experience may meet this requirement with 2,000 hours.

In addition, candidates must complete a robust, multi-course program that covers a variety of topics including retirement income process, strategies, and solutions, sources of retirement income, and managing the retirement income plan. Each course takes about 45 to 60 hours.


Once they fulfill their education requirements, candidates must pass a 100-question, closed-book, proctored exam at the end of each course. 

RICP Continuing Education

After a financial professional passes the RICP, they’ll need to complete three hours of approved continuing education every two years. They must also adhere to The American College Code of Ethics and Procedures.

How To Find The Best RICP For You

You’ll find a growing number of Retirement Income Certified Professionals featured on Wealthtender this year and you can also conduct a Google search for ‘RICP financial advisors‘.


How can I confirm the financial professional I’m working with holds the Retirement Income Certified Professional designation?

Visit the designation checker tool on the American College of Financial Services website.

What if I have a complaint about the Retirement Income Certified Professional I’m working with?

Visit the American College of Financial Services website submit a complaint page to learn more.

Where can I learn more about other professional designations held by financial advisors and coaches?

Refer to this list of popular financial certifications prepared by Wealthtender to help you learn more about each designation. You’ll find a brief description of each certification, plus links to in-depth articles if you want to learn more about a particular designation.

About the Author
Brian Thorp, Founder and CEO of Wealthtender profile picture

About the Author

Brian Thorp

Brian is CEO and founder of Wealthtender. He and his wife live in Texas, enjoying the diversity of Houston and the vibrancy of Austin.

With over 25 years in the financial services industry, Brian is applying his experience and passion at Wealthtender to help more people enjoy life with less money stress.

Connect with Brian on LinkedIn

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to encourage any lifestyle changes without careful consideration and consultation with a qualified professional. This article is for reference purposes only, is generic in nature, is not intended as individual advice and is not financial or legal advice.

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