Stephen Horan, PhD, CFA, CIPM, CAIA
Stephen Horan, PhD, CFA®, CIPM® 
"This course will do more than make you a better advisor. It will transform your role from advisor to counselor, produce richer client relationships, and yield better results."  (more)
Robert Keebler, CPA/PFS

"I began listening to Dr. Murtha’s first class with a great deal of skepticism. I’ve seen classes on financial psychology before and, frankly, they’ve always been a disappointment. But after only a few minutes, I was mesmerized by his technical knowledge of financial counseling and teaching style. While financial psychology classes are generally fluff, Dr. Murtha’s course brings clarity and science to the topic. This course is a must for any tax and financial planner advising wealthy families."


Fritz Meyer

I'm so impressed with Dr. Frank Murtha's course. What a valuable addition to A4A's battery of tools for advisors. Being good at the "soft skills" of relating to clients with the right vocabulary is every bit as important as financial planning and investment expertise. A4A's clients are really fortunate to have access to Dr. Murtha.

Andrew Fama, MRFC, JD, AEP, RF®
"This 12-class series is a must-see for me. Frank Murtha offers a wealth of new information and concepts which we can apply to our mutual benefit with clients." 

Ruth Delaney, CFP®, CLU, ChFC®
"This guy is great! He's given us a goldmine of information."
Jonathan Forbes  CFP 
 Jonathan Forbes, CFP®
"I am so excited for the scope of this course. It will be really beneficial and helpful. Thanks for putting it together!"
Steven Nivens, CFP®, CLU
Steven Nivens, CFP®, CLU 
"I'm overwhelmed by the number of new ideas I'd like to incorporate into my practice.  I've always been drawn to "the process" of what we do.  Frank Murtha shows us why and how to do it better."
Karin Maloney Stifler, CFP, AIF 

A4A's Financial Counseling Certificate program provides the 'missing piece' in what it takes to be a top caliber financial advisor. I haven't been this excited about honing new skills and capabilities in a long time. Andy and Dr. Frank, thank you for making me a better and more impactful CFP® professional. What you are teaching will enrich clients' experience and wellbeing and advance the profession.

Dennis Dachtler
Love it!  It's the best ideas to use if you are a fiduciary! 

The Certified Financial Counselor™ course, a 12-credit professional program, equips advisors with the knowledge, skills, and techniques needed to fulfill the role of financial counselor. ​


The job of financial, tax and investment advisors changed in the last several decades, evolving from a transactional and sales-oriented customer-broker relationship in the 1970s, to a profession requiring technical knowledge and a code of ethics in the 1980s and 1990s. In the past two decades, the burgeoning social science of behavioral economics, technology, and the growing wealth of Americans further changed the nature of a financial professional's job requirements by making client relationships more collaborative and personal, thus requiring today’s professionals to possess counseling skills. ​



1.  Financial Counseling Introduction And Overview

2.  Trust, The Foundation of Relationships

3.  Fear and Anxiety; Investor Emotions, Part 1

4.  Anger, Grief, And Greed; Investor Emotions, Part 2

5.  Counseling Strategies And Techniques

6.  Investor Identity

7.  Introduction To Investor Personality Theory

8.  The Four Factors Of Investor Personality

9. Mental Health Issues

10. Working With Couples And Families

11. Review and Implementation

12.  Applying Financial Psychology In Current Conditions


Until now, financial advice professionals were not required to know anything about the psychology of financial planning. Effective Jan. 1, 2022, however, the psychology of financial planning will comprise 7% of what you must know to hold the CFP® designation. ​


​The CFP Board announced, on March 30, 2021, the findings of its 2021 Practice Analysis Study. It was the first update in the job requirement of a CFP® since 2015!  It resulted in a major revision to the principal knowledge topics a CFP® professional is required to master; a completely new topic of knowledge was added for the psychology of financial planning. 


While 7% probably underplays the importance of financial psychology in advisor-consumer relationships, the CFP Board action is an important step in the evolution of the profession.  


 In recognition of the importance of psychology in financial planning, the Certified Financial Counselor CE course is designed to meet the new knowledge requirements of CFP®, CFA®, CIMA®,  CPA/PFS® and other practitioners, augmenting A4A's practitioner system with CE on this new knowledge topic.  The course is designed to augment old knowledge requirements with this important new topic, Financial Psychology.   ​ 


​To maintain the Certified Financial Counselor™ digital certificate, a one-credit class, “Applying Financial Psychology In Current Financial Economic Conditions,” must be completed at least annually. The class will be taught by Dr. Frank Murtha at least semi-annually.​ After a 20% drop in the S&P 500 or in the event of an ongoing financial crisis, Dr. Murtha will teach additional classes as needed. 


 financial counseling course certification A4A's instructors --  Fritz Meyer, Bob Keebler, and Craig Israelsen -- are leading educators of tax, financial, and investment planning professionals and Frank Murtha fits right in with our outstanding lineup. 


Dr. Murtha earned a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University at Buffalo. First to explore cognitive errors in gambling behavior, Dr. Murtha has taught at The City University of New York, Penn State, and New York University. In 2001, Dr. Murtha co-founded MarketPsych Inc., a statistically valid proxy for the NEO personality inventory assessment for identifying investor personality traits. Dr. Murtha currently consults to institutional investors on macro- and micro-behavioral economics. In 2021, he founded the Financial Counseling Institute to charter financial professionals as Certified Financial Counselors.

​The 12-credit course and digital certificate are free to A4A members through October 15, 2021.​