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News Release

CFP Board Announces Client Impact Research Initiative in Support of 2022-2026 Strategic Priorities

January 23, 2024

CFP Board today announced the release of the draft framework of its Client Impact Study, the first peer-reviewed academic research study to track and report on the actual impact of holistic financial planning on clients.

Initiated by CFP Board in April 2022, this multi-year longitudinal study will track and measure both financial and non-financial aspects of a diverse and representative sample of U.S. households. The study aims to empirically evaluate the benefits of financial planning and the services provided by CFP® professionals compared to those offered by professionals who do not hold CFP® certification and do-it-yourself approaches.

“Americans turn to CFP® professionals for holistic competent and ethical financial planning,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “This study will help us quantify the impact financial planning has on clients and society, and we look forward to receiving feedback on the study’s proposed framework.”

To conduct the study, CFP Board’s Managing Director of Research, Kevin Roth, Ph.D., is collaborating closely with a team of respected researchers, including Stuart Heckman, Ph.D., CFP®, Texas Tech University; Emily Koochel, Ph.D., AFC®, CFT-I™, eMoney; and Sonya Lutter, Ph.D., CFP®, LMFT, Texas Tech University.

Research Team

Stuart J. Heckman, Ph.D., CFP® is an Associate Professor of Practice and Ph.D. Program Director at Texas Tech University. Dr. Heckman has served as the Academic Editor of the Journal of Financial Planning and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, Journal of Consumer Affairs, Financial Services Review and Financial Planning Review. His research focuses on professional financial planning and decision-making, especially among young adults. Dr. Heckman holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Family Resource Management from The Ohio State University and a B.S. in Personal Financial Planning from Kansas State University.

Emily Koochel, Ph.D., AFC®, CFT-I™, BFA™, leads eMoney Advisor’s Financial Wellness team, where she focuses on innovative wellness research and education in her role as Manager of Financial Wellness. Dr. Koochel also serves as Adjunct Faculty at New York University in the Financial Planning M.S. program offered by the NYU School of Professional Studies Division of Programs in Business. She serves as a subject matter expert on understanding the effect of financial behaviors and decision-making on personal and financial wellness, reviewing and authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and contributing to public scholarship. Most notably, she was a co-contributor to CFP Board’s book, The Psychology of Financial Planning. Dr. Koochel holds a Ph.D. in Applied Family Science from Kansas State University, an M.S. in Financial Planning from Texas Tech University and the Certified Financial Therapist – I designation. She is also an Accredited Financial Counselor and Behavioral Financial Advisor.

Sonya Lutter, Ph.D., CFP® serves as the inaugural Director of Financial Health and Wellness with Texas Tech University’s School of Financial Planning, where she leads curriculum and continuing education opportunities in financial psychology, financial therapy and financial behavior. Dr. Lutter also owns ENLITE, where she helps bridge the gap between mental health and financial planning. Her developmental work in financial therapy is summarized in Financial Therapy: Theory, Research, and Practice with her co-editors. She is also the author of A Couples Guide to Love & Money: 15 Exercises to Strengthen Your Relationship, and she served on the editorial advisory board that produced CFP Board’s newest book, The Psychology of Financial Planning. Dr. Lutter holds a Ph.D. in Financial Planning from Texas Tech University and an M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Kansas State University, and she is a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Webinar: Client Impact Research Update

CFP Board will host a webinar on Tuesday, January 30, at 1:00 p.m. ET, in which the research team will introduce this study and discuss the framework that will be used to evaluate client outcomes. Participants will have the opportunity to ask the research team questions and provide input about the study.


Read a summary of the research team’s work to define “Consumer Financial Wellness” and create a framework for its measurement, as shared at CFP Board’s 2023 Academic Research Colloquium.


Submit Comments

CFP Board values your feedback. Please share your comments and suggestions about the Client Impact Study.


about cfp board

CFP Board is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S. CFP Board consists of two affiliated organizations focused on advancing the financial planning profession for the public’s benefit. CFP Board of Standards sets and upholds standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification — widely recognized by the public, advisors and firms as the standard for financial planners — so that the public has access to the benefits of competent and ethical financial planning. CFP® certification is held by more than 100,000 people in the U.S. CFP Board Center for Financial Planning addresses diversity and workforce development challenges and conducts and publishes research that adds to the financial planning profession’s body of knowledge.


Joseph Feese
Director of Public Relations
X: @CFPBoard