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Family Financial Planning

Interinstitutional Graduate Program

Participating Institutions : Iowa State University; Kansas State University; Montanta State University; University of Nebraska; North Dakota State University; Oklahoma State University; South Dakota State University.

Family Financial Planning is an inter-institutional distance education program offered through the Web. The student selects a home institution, which grants the degree. After admission at the home institution, the student takes courses from each of the seven institutions: Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University, Montana State University, University of Nebraska, North Dakota State University, and South Dakota State University.

At Iowa State University, Family Financial Planning is a specialization within the Master of Family and Consumer Sciences degree program (MFCS-FFP) that consists of 42 semester credits. Neither a thesis nor a creative component is required. Students typically complete the program in three years while employed full time. A computer with minimum specifications, Web access, and an email address are required for completing the program.

FFP Graduate Certificate Program

The Graduate Certificate in Family Financial Planning consists of the six courses from the MFCS-FFP that contain the competencies required for the CFP® Certification Examination. Students interested in attaining the CFP® credential and not a master’s degree should enroll in the certificate program.

Courses included in the FFP graduate certificate program include:

FFP 530Fundamentals of Family Financial Planningarr †
FFP 540Estate Planning for Familiesarr †
FFP 545Retirement Planning, Employee Benefits, and the Familyarr †
FFP 555Insurance Planning for Familiesarr †
FFP 565Personal Income Taxationarr †
FFP 583Investing for the Family's Futurearr †
† Arranged with instructor.

Both the Master’s degree and Graduate Certificate programs at Iowa State University are registered with Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. As a CFP Board-registered Program, ISU FFP courses satisfy CFP Board’s education requirement, allowing an individual to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination.

Iowa State University does not certify individuals to use the CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ title. CFP certification is granted only by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. to those persons who, in addition to completing an educational requirement such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met its ethics, experience and examination requirements. (CFP Board of Standards web site: .)

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and the federally registered CFP (with flame logo), which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Admission Procedures: Admission to the FFP Certificate Program requires exactly the same procedures as admission to the Graduate College. See Graduate College section in the catalog.


Students choosing to receive their degree from Iowa State University complete all the admissions, registration and fee payment processes through ISU.


Courses primarily for graduate students, open to qualified undergraduates:

FFP 520. Family Systems.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.
Research and theory related to family functioning throughout the life cycle, especially financial decision making during crisis and conflict. Emphasis on factors that shape family values, attitudes, and behaviors from a multicultural perspective. New and emerging issues critical to family functioning are addressed.

FFP 525. Family Economics.

(3-0) Cr. 3. SS.
Major issues related to the economics of families including household production, and human capital development; the economics of crises, public policy and family life cycle spending, saving and borrowing; new and emerging issues in the field of family economics; special attention to the role of ethics in family economic issues. A theoretical and research perspective are used to illuminate the concepts in the course.

FFP 530. Fundamentals of Family Financial Planning.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.
The nature and functioning of financial systems, including currencies, markets, monetary and fiscal policy, and supply/demand for land, labor, and capital. Focus is on the impact of global financial interdependence on individuals and families in the U.S. Current and emerging issues, as well as current research and theory relative to financial systems.

FFP 535. Financial Counseling.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.
Theory and research regarding the interactive process between the client and the practitioner, including communication techniques, motivation and esteem building, the counseling environment, ethics, and methods of data intake, verification, and analysis. Other topics include legal issues, compensation, uses of technology to identify resources, information management, and current or emerging issues.

FFP 540. Estate Planning for Families.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.
Fundamentals of the estate planning process, including estate settlement, estate and gift taxes, property ownership and transfer, and powers of appointment. Tools and techniques used in implementing an effective estate plan, ethical considerations used in providing estate planning services, and new and emerging issues in the field. Case studies provide experience in developing estate plans suitable for varied family forms.

FFP 541. Housing and Real Estate in Family Financial Planning.

(Cross-listed with HD FS). (3-0) Cr. 3. SS.
www only. The role of housing and real estate in the family financial planning process, including taxation, mortgages, financial calculations, legal concerns, and ethical issues related to home ownership and real estate investments. Emphasis on emerging issues in the context of housing and real estate.

FFP 545. Retirement Planning, Employee Benefits, and the Family.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.
Study of micro and macro considerations for retirement planning. Survey of various types of retirement plans, ethical considerations in providing retirement planning services, assessing and forecasting financial needs in retirement, and integration of retirement plans with government benefits.

FFP 555. Insurance Planning for Families.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.
In-depth study of risk management concepts, tools, and strategies for individuals and families, including life insurance; property and casualty insurance; liability insurance; accident, disability, health, and long-term care insurance; and government-subsidized programs. Current and emerging issues and ethical considerations relative to risk management. Case studies provide experience in selecting insurance products suitable for individuals and family study of investment options for clients, including common stocks, fixed income securities, convertible securities, and related choices. Relationships between investment options and employee/employer benefit plan choices. Current and emerging issues and ethics are included.

FFP 565. Personal Income Taxation.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.
In-depth information on income tax practices and procedures including tax regulations, tax return preparation, the tax audit processes, the appeals process, preparation for an administrative or judicial forum, and ethical considerations of taxation. New and emerging issues related to taxation. Family/individual case studies provide practice in applying and analyzing tax information and recommending appropriate tax strategies.

FFP 570. Professional Practices in Financial Planning.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.
Challenges of managing financial planning practices including, but not limited to: business valuation, personnel, marketing, client services, ethics and technological applications. Relying both on a theoretical as well as an applied approach, students analyze case studies that provide relevant, practical exposure to practice management issues, with a strong emphasis on current research findings.

FFP 583. Investing for the Family's Future.

(Cross-listed with HD FS). (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: HD FS 483
WWW only. Evaluation of investment markets for the household. Analysis of how families choose where to put their savings. Emphasis is on using the family's overall financial and economic goals to help inform investment choices.

FFP 591. Practicum.

Cr. 3-6. F.S.SS.
Supervised experience in family financial planning.

FFP 595. Financial Planning - Case Studies.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.SS. Prereq: FFP 530, FFP 540, FFP 545, FFP 555, FFP 565, FFP 583
Professional issues in financial planning, including ethical considerations, regulation and certification requirements, communication skills, and professional responsibility. Students are expected to utilize skills obtained in other courses and work experiences in the completion of personal finance case studies, the development of a targeted investment policy, and other related financial planning assignments.