More than 80 percent of financial planners who hold the CFP certification have a high level of career satisfaction, though the profession's 2005 reported median earnings of $232,995 revealed a noticeable drop-off from the previous year.

According to a new survey from the College for Financial Planning, "2006 Survey of Trends in the Financial Planning Industry," t he reported median gross amount of planner earnings was $277,800 in 2005, $219,000 in 2004, $140,000 in 2003 and $200,000 in 2002. More than 400 financial planners participated in the survey.

The highest mean level of earnings reported by CFP certificants was $427,937, reported by those survey participants with between 20 and 24 years of experience.

More than half of the survey respondents reported fee and commission work as their primary source of earnings (53 percent), followed by "fee only" (35 percent). The fees charged in 2006 to prepare single- focus and comprehensive plans remain fairly consistent when compared to those reported in 2005.

The survey reported that the largest number of financial planners (67 percent) are between the ages of 40 and 59, and most (57 percent) have between 10 and 24 years of experience.

In findings similar to previous years, the typical client is a two-income couple, 55-64 years old, with annual gross income of $100,000 to $149,000, and an annual discretionary income of $10,000 to $19,999. A majority of clients (87 percent) expect to maintain their present lifestyle in retirement, while a lower percentage (60 percent) of financial planners expect client savings to be sufficient to maintain that standard of living.

Copies of the full survey can be purchased at for $19.95.

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