5 Key Courses in a Master’s in Financial Planning Program

Essential Master’s in Financial Planning Program Classes

  • Personal Financial Planning
  • Individual Insurance Planning
  • Personal Investment Management
  • Retirement Planning
  • Income Tax Planning

A Master’s in Financial Planning provides comprehensive training that gives students the knowledge and skills to find solutions for real-life personal and business problems. This degree program teaches participants how to identify and avoid financial risks and how to use data and pertinent information to make financial decisions. Here are some of the key courses in this graduate level program.

Related Resource: Top 10 Online Master’s in Financial Planning Degree Programs

1. Personal Financial Planning

This is usually the first course in the degree program that overviews the creation, analysis, and interpretation of personal financial statements. Class topics include education planning, risk management, retirement planning, and cash flow management concepts. Students must learn how financial planning relates to personal goals, values, and limitations. Class assignments may explore social security, income tax, estate planning, house-buying strategies, and time-value of money analysis. Students learn how to apply financial theory, improve daily processes, and comply with laws, regulations, and financial principles.

2. Individual Insurance Planning

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 28 million adults lacked health insurance in 2017. Individual insurance planning introduces students to life, health, disability, property, casualty, and liability risk insurance. Also included will be insurance annuities, group insurance, and long-term care policies. It’s important to be familiar with life insurance programming and comparative product analysis to properly help future clients. Common points of discussion include social security regulations, workers compensation laws, estate tax planning, and income tax issues. Financial planners must excel at translating complex policies into understandable financial terms and possibilities.

3. Personal Investment Management

This class helps financial planners learn to think and act like investment advisors through topics related to mutual funds, risk profiling, portfolio optimization, asset pricing models, and valuation techniques. Discussions may delve into risk management, asset location concepts, relationship management tools, the psychology of investor behavior, and client communication best practices. Personal risk management assignments may have students practice how to conduct personal risk analysis, assess contractual issues, and choose between investment options.

4. Retirement Planning

Retirement planning is usually coupled with employee benefits planning. Understanding common career issues, demographic risk factors, and alternative retirement approaches will empower graduates to help their clients. The essence of retirement planning is assisting clients evaluate their employee benefits to reduce tax burdens while saving money and avoiding penalties. Retirement options include acronym concepts like 401k, 403b, IRA, SEP-IRA, Roth-IRA, Keogh, and ESOP. Employee benefits include vesting, contribution plans, social security, asset balancing, and buy-sell agreements.

5. Income Tax Planning

This course introduces income tax strategies used to formulate sensible financial decisions. Students will learn how taxes impact individual and family financial decisions. As with personal financial planning, students learn how to teach clients economic concepts and management principles. Clients often seek the assistance of financial planners to deal with existing tax issues or achieve greater tax efficiency. Course topics may touch on exclusions, deductions, compensation planning, gross income realization, and non-taxable transactions.

These Master’s in Financial Planning courses provide students a foundation of knowledge with which to either start or continue in their financial career paths. While this list represents a few key courses, there are others that students will need to take.  These may include estate planning classes, financial software classes, and an internship or capstone project.