Professional Designations

What is a Certified Financial Transitionist (CeFT)?

By  Brian Thorp

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A Certified Financial Transitionist (CeFT) helps clients navigate through major life events and the financial implications that come with them. Created by the Financial Transitionist Institute, a division of the Sudden Money Institute, the CeFT is only available to established professionals in the financial industry.

Let’s take a closer look at what this designation is, what it takes to earn it, and how you may benefit from working with a CeFT. 

What is a Certified Financial Transitionist (CeFT)?

CeFT holders are financial professionals who understand how life transitions change financial situations. They have also received at least one other highly respected designation such as the CFP, CIMA, ChFC, CDFA, CPWA, CPA/PFS, or CFA. 

CeFTs have the comprehensive knowledge and skills necessary to guide clients through a variety of transitions. When they meet with clients, CeFT holders show empathy and know how to listen carefully to their unique needs and emotions so they can make appropriate recommendations.

During their 12-month training program, CeFTs become well-versed in the four stages of transition and use them to guide their clients through a successful transition during the uncertain and often chaotic times they’re facing. These four stages include:

  • Anticipation
  • Ending
  • Passage
  • New Normal

CeFTs work to help clients make better decisions for themselves and their future. They open their eyes to the idea that changing circumstances are not always negative and stressful. Instead, they can serve as the ideal opportunities for personal growth and enhancement. 

Should You Hire a CeFT?

A CeFT has the advanced expertise and depth of financial knowledge that may help you if you are going through any of these life transitions:

  • Marriage
  • Children
  • Divorce
  • Retirement
  • Losing a Spouse
  • Selling a Business
  • Winning the Lottery
  • Receiving a Large Inheritance or Settlement 

With their support, you’ll be able to make smart financial decisions that lead to a happy future and help you avoid money problems down the road. Unlike a traditional financial advisor, a CeFT will understand the emotional side of your situation and keep it top of mind when they make recommendations and guide you through your transition. 

They can prevent you from making emotional, rather than logical financial choices that take a toll on your finances. Whether you’re anticipating a life transition or found yourself facing one unexpectedly, a CeFT can be valuable. 

What Does it Take to Earn and Maintain the CeFT?

Those who hope to earn a CeFT designation must fulfill certain requirements set forth by the  Financial Transitionist Institute. Here’s a brief overview of what that they are.

Experience and Credentials 

CeFT candidates have at least five years of direct client experience. In addition, they are required to hold one or more of the following financial certifications:

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Certified Investment Manager Analyst (CIMA)
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)
  • Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA)
  • Certified Public Accountant/ Personal Financial Specialist (CPA/PFS)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)


To earn the CeFT, financial professionals must complete a 12-month core training program in Financial Transitions Planning. This program revolves around the stages of transition, how people behave during them, and how to work them in the most effective way possible. It’s administered in a virtual classroom known as a Learning Management System and includes these six modules:

  • The Foundation, Purpose Method Outcome, Communication Preferences
  • The Transition Traits
  • Financial Triage/The Decision Free Zone & One-Pagers
  • Managing Expectations, “What if…”, and Introduction to The Written Case
  • Am I Okay?”, “What has Changed?”, Touchstone, and The Written Case, Continued
  • The Written Case


After the 12-month core training program, CeFt candidates are eligible to sit for the day long, proctored exam. The exam consists of a variety of questions including multiple choice, structured response, and essays. There is a live role playing component as well. A 70% or higher is required to pass. 

Continuing Education

The Financial Transitionist Institute requires CeFT holders to participate in 15 hours of continuing education each year. 10 of these hours must be with the Sudden Money Institute. In addition, it’s mandatory for them to select a yearly membership and attend the mid-year workshop or annual conference every two years. 


In addition to continuing education, those with a CeFT must abide by the Code of Ethics for Financial Transitionist®. It states that they will provide their services with integrity and diligence, be fair and reasonable, protect the confidentiality of their clients, and act in a professional manner.

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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