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Celebrating Our Teammates – The CFP®’s

Celebrating Our Teammates – The CFP®’s Dave and Ben sit down to discuss their experience of sitting for the CFP® exam, how this affects the way in which we approach and serve our clients, and how it supports TEN Capital's belief for continuous growth.

Celebrating Our Teammates – The CFP®’s
Dave and Ben sit down to discuss their experience of sitting for the CFP® exam, how this affects the way in which we approach and serve our clients, and how it supports TEN Capital's belief for continuous growth.

Five Things You Should Know

  1. Equity Markets – were lower this week with U.S. stocks (S&P 500) down -2.53% while international stocks (EAFE) fell -1.86%.
  2. Fixed Income Markets – were mixed with investment grade bonds (AGG) up 0.55% while high yield bonds (JNK) fell -0.03%.
  3. Fed Update – as expected, this week saw the Federal Reserve announce a 50-basis point rate hike and reiterate their projection that rates would end 2023 at 5.1%. However, the central bank also raised their expectations for end-of-year 2024 rate levels to 4.1%, sending markets lower and the 10-year treasury yield up to around 3.5%.
  4. China Struggles – after unexpectedly relaxing on pandemic rules last week, China continues to struggle with rapid spreading of Covid cases that are overflowing hospitals, many of which struggling to field enough staff. The government is now urging those who are able, to stay home and self-medicate.
  5. Key Insight – [VIDEO & ARTICLE] Dave and Ben sit down to discuss their experience of sitting for the CFP® exam, how this affects the way in which we approach and serve our clients, and how it supports TEN Capital's belief for continuous growth.

Insights for Investors

“When you become stagnant and aren’t improving by the day, you are only moving toward your failure.” ― Pooja Agnihotri

What does it mean to be a CFP® professional?

I know my wife is happy to finally have me back. For about eight months my mind was sucked away into CFP® land while she supported me and kept the kids at bay so I could work in the evenings and on the weekends. Why the heck was I doing this? To grow.

A CFP® (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER) is arguably the top designation one can achieve in the field of financial planning. It’s a test of understanding in many areas that would affect a client’s financial plan. When Dave Gordon and Jon Heideman in our office said they were going to start the long process of working toward their CFP® designation, it further fueled my desire to grow in my craft as well. I am proud to say that as of now, all three of us have successfully passed the necessary exams and are able to officially use the title of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP®).

To earn the right to bear those three letters one needs to achieve the 4 E’s of the CFP® designation: Education, Exam, Experience and Ethics.


There are two parts to the education component. First, one needs to have a four-year degree to be able to sit for the exam. Second, you must complete the CFP® Coursework through an approved school. This can take a year or more for many applicants.

Areas of study include Professional Conduct and Regulation, Principles of Financial Planning, Risk Management and Insurance Planning, Investment Planning, Tax Planning, Retirement Savings and Income Planning, Estate Planning, and the Psychology of Financial Planning.

Some of the above will be used often in our practices, while some of the education has provided us with a specialty knowledge that we will be able to use when the opportunity arises. While this process helps you to know many answers to complex questions, even more it helps you realize the questions you need to be asking and when to seek out further information to guide your client.


I hate tests and this one was a doozie. The test is comprised of two sections that can last up to three hours in length each adding up to a 6-hour test when all said and done. Everything you learned in the education component is fair game for a question (e.g., What’s the tax bill for an ISO when issued?) Sounds fun right!? Once completed you receive a preliminary pass or fail and about 60% of candidates pass.


As much as education is important, so is experience. If one has obtained a CFP® designation, it tells you this isn’t their first year on the job. To be a CFP® professional one needs to have been working in finance in some capacity for a minimum of 4,000-6,000 hours depending on background of work, so they’ve had the opportunity to gain the real-world experience to qualify as a CFP®. Remember, the hope is to take the CFP® exam knowledge and use it in service of our clients.


If you’re a CFP® professional, you’re going to have to adhere to the Fiduciary Standard when providing financial advice. That means you legally need to do what is in the best interest of a client or face being terminated or prosecuted.

In Closing

The CFP® Certification is no joke and like anything, I have a lot more respect for those that have taken it before me.

And while there is certainly a sense of accomplishment, what excites me most is that all three of us tackled this challenge and can further support each other as a team. This is another example of the spirit that lives at TEN to perpetually improve and better serve our colleagues and clients in any way we can.

At TEN Capital, we’re about trying to achieve growth. Growth of our clients’ portfolios and their peace of mind, growth in the number of our relationships, and growth in our status within the community.

However, we NEVER lose sight of the proper path to achieving those goals:

  • Growth in our knowledge – Jake as a Certified Life Planner and Tim as a JD/Attorney
  • Growth in our service to you – new events, service offerings/partnerships
  • Growth in our service to our community – developing new local relationships each year.

To be clear, our “drive” with respect to each of the items above is about living up to the honor and obligation it is to serve you and your family, as well as make you proud to be a part of the TEN Capital community.

While this may not have been the most invigorating read, I hope it gives you a better idea of what it means to be a CFP®, and how important improving your experience is to us here at TEN.

As always, the team is here for any of you who may have questions – if you don’t work with us, but have been considering sitting down, hopefully this will further pique your curiosity about this group that relentlessly tries to raise its game.

Have a great weekend and stay warm!

Ben and the TEN Capital Team

Data, Just the Data

Data points this week included:

  • U.S. Jobless Claims – declined by 20K to a claimant count of 211K for the week ending December 10th. This marks the lowest count since the end of September and came in far below forecasts of 230K claims. The four-week moving average has dipped by 3K to a reading of 227.2K.
  • U.S. CPI – fell for the fifth month in a row to an inflation rate of 7.1% for November, after a 7.7% reading in October. Energy costs are up 13.6% but fell by (4%) from the previous month, along with food prices, and used cars and trucks. From a core perspective, CPI has moved down to 6% from 6.3% and slightly edged down from 0.3% to 0.2%. The Fed still wants inflation down to the 2% level and continues to raise rates to achieve a slight slowdown.
  • U.S. Manufacturing Index – the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index showed a reading of (13.8) for December, which was below expectations of (10). The reading did move up 6 points as the November reading was the lowest seen in some time at (19.4). This does mark the fourth consecutive negative reading with 31% of firms reporting activity decline. New orders index moved down (9) points and the shipments index moved don (13) points, both the lowest since 2020.
  • U.S. Retail Sales – fell (0.6%) MoM in November, sinking below expectations of a (0.1%) contraction and is the biggest decline since December of last year. Furniture sales, building materials, and motor vehicles all fell, (2.6%0, (2.5%), and (2.3%), respectively. Data is included from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, showing slowdown in consumer spending is fully underway.
  • U.S. Industrial Production – was recorded lower in November by (0.2%), following a (0.1%) decline in October. This reading missed market forecasts of a 0.1% gain, with interest rates and prices weighing on demand. Output fell 0.6% and indexes for nondurable and durable manufacturing both contracted (0.6%).
  • U.S. PMI Composite Flash – dipped to 44.6 in December after a November reading of 46.4. This signaled the fastest joint decline in business activity over the last couple years. Excluding the pandemic period, this decline was the fastest since 2009. Export orders dipped for a seventh consecutive month, but cost inflation was the lowest since Fall 2020.
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