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A Registered Life Planner (RLP) is a designation for financial professionals who specialize in the human side of financial planning. The Kinder Institute of Life Planning runs the program and boasts that more than 500 advisors have earned the designation globally. The visionary concept of Life Planning seeks to discover the most profound goals of a client through a process of listening and inquiry.
Read on to understand what this designation is and what it takes to earn it. You will also uncover how to benefit from working with an RLP.
What is a Registered Life Planner (RLP)?
Those who hold an RLP designation have completed the Kinder Institute’s entire course of study, including The Seven Stages of Money Maturity Training, EVOKE Life Planning Training, and the RLP mentorship program.
According to The Kinder Institute, life planning connects the dots between a person’s financial realities and the life someone wants to live. Life Planning focuses on the human side of financial planning to train advisors to harness behavioral and relational aspects of financial planning. The program aims to give advisors the skills to understand a client’s deepest goals through a mindfulness-based process of structured and non-judgmental inquiry. An advisor seeking to help inspire clients to pursue their aspirations by honing professional and relationship skills in the program.
While there are relatively few RLPs worldwide, The Kinder Institute of Life Planning supports and educates more than 3,500 advisors and financial coaches who have adopted client-centered Life Planning methodologies. The institute claims that advisors who have earned the RLP designation are Life Planning experts.
Should You Hire an RLP?
Individuals seeking a financial professional who has demonstrated a basic understanding of the human side of financial planning should consider hiring an RLP. However, the designation does not suggest an advisor has a broad knowledge of financial planning. The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is regarded as the premier overall financial planning certification. The RLP’s focus, in contrast, is on building and maintaining relationships with new and existing clients.
The Kinder Institute asserts that it coaches advisors worldwide in Life Planning. Its method is based on the premise that advisors should first discover a client’s most important life goals before developing a financial plan. Individuals and families who have previously worked with advisors lacking the broader context of their financial life should consider looking for a planner with the RLP designation (along with the CFP designation).
Advisors who have completed the program are taught to ask deep questions such as:
- “If you had more time or money, what would you do?”
- “What do you want to accomplish or attain so you will feel that you’ve had a life well-lived?”
- “What moves, touches, or inspires you?”
Possessing the right to use the RLP letters suggests an advisor can help clients identify their goals through these questions. Moreover, they might be well-equipped to guide individuals through stressful life circumstances. It is a designation that complements the CFP because the RLP’s pieces of training promote the relational aspects of financial planning that are so important. All of the technical knowledge and expert-level use of spreadsheets often mean little if there is no strong advisor-client relationship. Financial advising soft skills can be very valuable for both the individual and planner.
What do Registered Life Planners Have to Say About Hiring an RLP?
Cady North, MBA, CFP®
“Bridge into the Possible. We all have big dreams for ourselves, but few of us are living them or even making progress toward them. It can even be hard just to name these big dreams out loud to trusted friends and advisors because we fear failure (or even fear success!). Yet — the only way we can start to align our life and our finances to get started with these dreams is to start talking about it.
An RLP® can be a good advisor to have in your corner because we want to see you flourish, thrive, and have what’s important to you both now and in the future. We provide reflective exercises to help you explore. Our discussions together are structured to help you develop excitement and energy around your overall purpose. You’ll be surprised how quickly your action steps and finances will align once you give yourself a chance to explore in this way.
The best part, it’s all about you! We all want choices and opportunities in life. Let’s work together to figure out all the possibilities. You’re stepping into a judgment-free zone when working with an RLP®.”
What Does it Take to Earn and Maintain the RLP?
To qualify for the RLP designation, applicants must complete three training courses set forth by The Kinder Institute. Here is a brief overview of what they are and how much time an advisor must devote to each training:
The Seven Stages of Money Maturity Training (16 hours). This is a 2-day course diving into the drivers and biases around money through listening exercises and illustrative storytelling based on The Seven Stages of Money Maturity philosophy. It helps advisors to assist their clients in finding the most significant meaning in their lives.
EVOKE Life Planning Training (36-40 hours). This training is a 4-day online or 5-day residential course teaching a structured interview process used to help uncover clients’ most exciting, meaningful, and fulfilling aspirations.
Life Planning Mentorship (40-50 hours). The mentorship piece of the RLP training includes a mix of writing and reviewing real-life case studies and one-on-one coaching calls with an experienced mentor. It helps advisors gain confidence to live their own life plan and deliver life planning to clients. This 6-month interactive program is usually the third and final step in achieving the RLP designation.
Applicants may begin the coursework to become an RLP by taking the EVOKE Life Planning Training or The Seven Stages of Money Maturity Training. After earning the RLP designation, the planner is expected to complete eight hours of continuing education every two years. Those interested in learning more about the training, including dates, locations, and costs, can view the Events page of the Kinder Institute website.
How To Find The Best Registered Life Planner For You
You’ll find a growing number of RLPs featured on Wealthtender and you can also visit the Planner Search page on the Kinder Institute of Life Planning website.
How Can I Confirm the Financial Professional I’m Working with Holds the Registered Life Planner designation?
Visit the Planner Search page on the Kinder Institute of Life Planning website to see if an advisor has the RLP designation. RLPs are most common in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and South Africa.
What if I Have a Complaint About the Registered Life Planner I’m Working With?
Visit this page to contact The Kinder Institute of Life Planning regarding issues with an advisor holding the RLP designation.
I’m a Registered Life Planner interested in joining Wealthtender. How should I get started?
Thanks for your interest in joining Wealthtender. We’re excited to help RLPs connect with people interested in the specialized experience and services you offer. You can learn more about Wealthtender by visiting this page: Modern Advisor Marketing ™ with Wealthtender
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.
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About the Author
Mike Zaccardi, CFA®
Mike is a freelance writer for financial advisors and investment firms. He’s a CFA® charterholder and Chartered Market Technician®, and has passed the coursework for the Certified Financial Planner program.