What is a Master’s in Financial Planning?

master's in financial planning

A Master’s in Financial Planning degree trains students how to help clients meet their life goals through better financial decisions and better management of financial resources. A critical part of the financial planning profession is embracing ethical responsibility, the latest technology, and individual accountability. Keep reading to learn the major themes and knowledge covered in a Master’s in Financial Planning degree program.

Financial Planning

This fundamental subject teaches student the financial planning knowledge and organizational skills to create, explain and maintain individualized financial plans. This includes a long list of the standard planning and management skills for taxes, risk, education, insurance, savings, income, investment, and retirement. The consulting process begins with collecting client data, demonstrating the decision-making process, and making client-centered recommendations. Financial planners must know how to analyze various client scenarios to determine applicable risks, regulations, and outcomes.


This begins with personal tax planning as it relates to current tax laws, revenue rulings, and industry regulations (for entrepreneurs). It’s important to know strategies for tax reduction, such as tax shelters, income shifting, income allocation, and deduction recognition. Entrepreneurs usually need help with understanding the laws governing the taxation of distributions from business revenue to owners. Individual clients struggling to reduce their tax burden and wealthy clients seeking to help others will benefit from charitable giving strategies and knowledge of donation regulations.

Estate Planning

This topic includes gift, estate and transfer tax laws and computation processes. Key issues include the ownership, taxation, and transfer of property involving death, marriage, and charitable giving. Family-based business planning involves buy-sell agreements, limited-liability companies, and family limited partnerships. Family business succession planning covers exit plans, trust taxation, executive benefits, and retirement plan strategies. Wealthy families who engage in charity will benefit from knowing about fundraising campaigns and donation strategies.


Most clients seek the services of certified financial planners for help with retirement planning. Common retirement savings issues include client motivation, needs assessments, savings maximization, and Social Security benefits and regulations. Family businesses and entrepreneurs will want help with formal benefit plans that come with defined and qualified contribution rules and limitations. Retirement package planning always involves portfolio decisions and management, such as selecting the optimal asset-allocation mix and securities within the asset class.

Managing a Private Practice

The curriculum isn’t limited to client-centric themes. These degree programs usually include a class that teaches students how to build, evolve, and manage a financial advisory practice. Financial planners must know the business concepts of operational efficiency, profitability, and continuous improvement. They will learn how to increase revenue, streamline processes, structure systems, and maximize customer satisfaction. The most common principles taught to financial planners regarding this include client acquisition, time management, consultative communication, continuing education, and business law.


This degree is a popular academic option for financial professionals who want to advance their careers. These degree programs are usually made up of CPAs, attorneys, accountants, and insurance professionals. Anyone who earns a Master’s in Financial Planning degree should consider financial industry certification per FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

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