Blog

Why do smart people fail the CFP Board Exam? – 3 Strategies Every Applicant Should Know

Winning is not complicated if you have an effective coach, a disciplined game plan, and motivated players.   What would it feel like to walk into the exam knowing that you have a +84% probability of passing? Students of the Starks BootCampSM use three core strategies for success:   An effective coach prepares you for [...]

Robbery, Stealth Taxes, and Roth IRAs

Stealth Taxes and Stealth Insurance Premiums can rob tens of thousands of dollars from unwary retirees.   Conventional wisdom would have you believe that choosing the Roth during one’s working years is all about present and estimated future income tax rates.   We may be told to choose the Roth if future taxable income in [...]

89% Pass Rate – Starks BootCamp℠ students!

The March 2016 CFP Board Exam included a number of curve balls but students of our review course, The Starks BootCampSM were not fooled. They passed at an 89% rate, consistent with our long-term pass rate of 84%. What 3 things do our students know that others do not? Success requires hard work. An average [...]

How To Win Points and Influence Scores on the CFP® Exam

In Dale Carnegie’s inspirational business book, How To Win Friends and Influence People, he offers concrete, workable steps that readers are able to actually put into practice and see tangible results.   When you take any kind of review course in preparation for an exam, you want to count on concrete, workable steps that you [...]

A Yellow Bird with a Yellow Bill – Learn More About the #1 Plan to Pass the CFP® Exam

If you’ve been in the military or seen movies about it, you know that military bootcamp requires marching in step. New recruits make time pass faster by singing repetitive – and sometimes ribald! – cadences. A familiar one goes like this:   A yellow bird With a yellow bill Was sitting on A window sill [...]

Keepin’ It Real – Changes in the March CFP® Exam

The CFP® Board has made some changes to their approach in testing new CFP® candidates. The good news is that you need to memorize fewer items. The bad news is that the broad range of required knowledge can feel overwhelming. We can help! The Starks BootcampSM is designed to help you focus on the essential [...]

Rocking Chair Retirement – How to Set Up an Online Social Security Account and Retire from Home

Do you feel as if you don’t have enough user ids and passwords to remember? Just kidding – it’s true that most of us are drowning in unremembered passwords. Here’s a worthwhile account for you and your clients to set up – mySSA. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is online now, and workers can set [...]

Double Double, Toil and Trouble – Social Security Taxation

“Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble.” That’s what the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth chant. Taxpayers could “get burned” if they earn more than the IRS threshold for Social Security retirement benefit taxation. If a taxpayer earns over a specified amount through wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income, he or [...]

Don’t Burst Your Balloon – Inflation and the CFP® Exam

You can expect a few inflation-related questions on the CFP® exam. Let’s discuss the concepts you need to get the points then briefly examine where the U.S. is in 2015 with regard to inflation and what it means for the economy.   Inflation is an increase in the general level of prices. Deflation is a [...]