Tips for CFP exam

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There are four types of life insurance that can be confusing on the CFP exam (or real life):

  • Term life insurance
  • Whole life insurance
  • Universal life insurance
  • Variable Universal life insurance

Term life insurance

Implied by its name, “term life insurance” only lasts for a pre-specified number of years. On the other hand, whole, Universal, and Variable universal life…


What is retirement anyway?

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When I first came to the U.S., I was surprised to see the elderly greeters at Walmart. Most of them were kind, warm, and helpful. It was very rare to meet an older worker outside of school while I was growing up. The population base and growth rate in China mean that employment is a privilege for young people. Official retirement ages in China were around 55-year old. Recent reform prolongs the working age to 60 due to slower population growth. I even told my retired parents that maybe they should consider finding another job.

Mature…


What does being kind mean to you?

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I used to be a people pleaser. Making others happy and avoiding conflicts at all costs were my priorities. I thought pleasing others would make life easy.

As a kid, having good grades and not being a…


What is courage? What does it mean to be courageous?

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As a trained economist, optimizing everything in life has been my second nature. Looking back, the routes that I have chosen are not optimal; they involve the least amount of uncertainty. At each turning point, I decided to follow the more laid-out path instead of opening myself to the unknown. I chose the career that I am good at, not the ones I am passionate about. There are no regrets about making those choices since I was making the decisions based on what I believed back then. My mindset shifts and grows as I worked through my past decisions. I…


Don’t let your age define you.

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Ever since I have been thinking about getting another degree and potentially switching careers, I have this little voice in my head asking if I would be too old to therapist or psychologist at the age of 40. The truth is, I turn 40 in six years regardless. Why not reinvent myself?

Many of us are obsessed with timing and milestones along the way. Each annual pediatrics visit, our doctor asks a list of questions to make sure everything is on track. Many rules and laws are dependent upon age: when we can/should go to school, when one can get…


All under three months

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Timeline

I learned about the existence of Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification this January. Given my lack of financial literacy, I decided to get certified (what a leap, I know!)

In mid-April this year, I started studying for the exam, and the serious prep sessions took place in June and July. I passed last week!

Elements contributed to my success

Stick with your study materials

There are a lot of questions on the forum regarding choosing materials providers. I would suggest picking one based on your budget and stick with it. Some programs are more expensive than others, and it’s usually the live-sessions that contribute to the…


Three Year Anniversary Reflection

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A book titled “Teaching What You Don’t Know” saved my life in the year 2018, my starting year here. This might seem strange given that I was only teaching macroeconomics in Fall 2018, and that is a course I have had taught many times. It’s not the content that I did not know; it’s the students that I did not understand. My previous employer ranks top 10 in China as a research university, and my role was to train students to become economists like me. The student body at my current institution is much more diverse, and we don’t have…


And does it still worth going to college?

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I have been teaching in a university setting for more than seven years. The dynamics between students and instructors are fascinating in the sense of complexity. It’s a combination of leader-follower and seller-consumer relationships. I am wondering whether the perception of the relationship affects the interactions between students and instructors.

For example, if the students view themselves more as consumers, would they be more demanding with the product? I intentionally leave some space in my course schedule and encourage students to request topics they want to cover. It is rare that someone would go for this opportunity. …


Hopefully, you can avoid them now

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We bought our first house three years ago. Being first-time homeowners is not easy, and we still think about moving to apartments from time to time.

Looking back, here are some mistakes we may have made.

1. You think your first house is your forever house.

We moved around a lot before becoming homeowners, so we were extremely ready to settle down. Imagine a young couple shopping for a house that fits their desired retirement style. Looking back, it even seems ridiculous how much we cared about the school district when our child was less than one year old. …


The silver lining of economic recessions

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Does a recession have long-term impacts on us? The specific answer depends on individual experience, but the general answer is yes. For example, labor economist Lis B. Kahn found that college graduates who launched their career in a bad economy continue to suffer lower wages years later, which is also referred to as the “scarring effect.”

Before the current recession, I have experienced two financial crises: the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2007–2010 U.S. financial crisis. The former shaped many of my traits today, and the latter slightly nudged me to pursue a graduate degree (instead of entering the…

Xu Xu, Ph.D.

Mom, wife, daughter, and university professor. Trained economist. Self-taught data science nerd. Transitioning into behavioral science with great enthusiasm.

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