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Use of Case Studies in the Capstone Course

An FPSC-approved Capstone Course, the second and final education requirement for CFP® certification, emphasizes fundamental financial planning practices, application and integration of the financial planning areas and the professional skills that are essential to the financial planning profession.

A key part of the Capstone Course is the completion of an independent financial plan based on a real-life case, providing an invaluable opportunity to practice financial planning in an educational setting. You will use one of the following case studies, as directed by your instructor, to build your competence and help contribute to your future success as a Certified Financial Planner® professional.

Case narratives and financial statements used in the case studies are based on actual client experiences provided by CFP professionals.

About the Cases and Accompanying Resource Materials

Cases are purchased individually and will be delivered as secured electronic files. You will have the ability to electronically highlight sections and make notes on the document. 

Along with each case, you will receive access to the following resource materials:

  • A Model Financial Plan that you may consider in structuring your own plan, based on guidance from your Capstone Course instructor
  • Cash Flow and Net Worth statements (if applicable), reflecting the client’s current situation that you may use as a starting point for your own projections

In your work with the cases, you may also refer to the Standards of Professional Responsibility for CFP Professionals and FPSC Level 1® Certificants in Financial Planning and the CFP Professional Competency Profile.

The Cases

The cases feature clients at different life stages, with differing financial needs and opportunities. Purchase one of the following cases, as directed by your instructor:

Financial Planning Case Study


Case #1:         Young Couple Planning a Family

This case presents the financial situation of Natalie and Chris Williams. They are a young couple looking to start a family and purchase the family business.

Mark Bennett, their CFP professional, has been asked to prepare a plan that will help them achieve their short- and long-term goals. Chris and Natalie have a number of competing priorities, including paying down debt and saving for retirement, in addition to their current and projected annual lifestyle expenses. They are keen to engage in financial planning based on Chris’ confidence in Mr. Bennett and their appreciation for the financial advisory and planning process.

Case #2:        
Dad Facing Retirement and Other Big Decisions

This case presents the financial situation of James Fernandez, who is contemplating divorce once his children leave home. His long-term objective is retirement. He is also concerned with paying off his debt; supporting his children while they are in school; and looking after his family in the event of disability, illness or death. He wants to understand the impact that divorce would have on achieving these goals.

Karen Clark, his CFP professional, will review his financial situation and prepare a financial plan that will address his goals and the potential impact of divorce.

Case #3:         Philanthropic Retiree Arranging Her Affairs

This case presents the financial situation of Catherine Parker, a widowed retiree. Catherine’s lifestyle is supported by ample income and savings, but she has some concerns around how she has structured her investments and overall affairs in regard to her estate. Catherine has no children and would like to leave the bulk of her estate to charity. Another big priority for Catherine is the sale of her three rental properties.

Janice O’Brien, her CFP professional, will review Catherine’s financial situation and prepare a financial plan to help address her goals and the issues she has raised, along with other potential needs uncovered in discussion.

Case #4:         Buried In Debt: The Sam and Sara Knight Story

This case presents the financial situation of Sara and Sam Knight, a couple in their mid-40s who are heavily in debt. Together, they have a 5-year-old son named Aaron. Sam also has a 15-year-old son from a previous marriage named Philip. Philip has been diagnosed with a medical disorder. Not only do Sam and Sara wish to reduce their debt and plan for retirement, they also want to ensure that they plan for the future needs of their children and provide for the financial protection of their family in the event that Sam or Sara dies prematurely or becomes ill or disabled.

Jack Silver, their CFP professional, will review Sam and Sara’s financial situation and prepare a financial plan to address the couple’s debt load and spending, retirement goals, and desire to provide for their children and the protection of their family.

Case #4f:         Jeune couple qui souhaite fonder une famille

Mark Bennett, un Certified Financial Planner professionnel, rencontre Chris et Natalie Williams pour préparer leur premier plan financier. Chris et Natalie, qui habitent à Ottawa, en Ontario, sont mariés depuis dix-huit mois et ont l’intention de commencer leur famille d’ici trois ans. Ils auront tous les deux 28 ans cette année : Chris le 1er février et Natalie le 5 juin. Ce sont les parents de Chris, qui sont des clients de M. Bennett depuis plus de 15 ans, qui lui ont présenté le couple. Chris est un client de M. Bennett depuis qu’il a commencé à travailler, à l’âge de 20 ans. Avec l’aide de M. Bennett, Chris a pu faire des épargnes en vue de sa retraite et pour verser un acompte considérable sur sa résidence, en plus d’obtenir sa première hypothèque. Chris apprécie les conseils de M. Bennett et lui a demandé une rencontre afin de discuter de leurs plans, à lui et à Natalie, afin de s’assurer qu’ils sont sur la bonne voie pour les réaliser.

Case #5:
Blended Family Decisions

This case presents the financial situation of a sole-proprietor, Arvinder Grewal, and his wife, Hannah Ali, who is currently off work on parental leave.  Together, the married couple have a six-month old daughter, Christine. Arvinder’s 15-year old son, Aalim, lives with his mother, Mina, in a home owned jointly by Mina and Arvinder. Hannah’s twin eight-year olds, Suzie and Timothy, live with her and Arvinder in a home that Hannah received full ownership of as part of her divorce settlement. 

Arvinder and Hannah are unsure if they will be able to reach all of their goals, including planning for retirement and their children’s educations, providing the necessary financial protection for their family in the event that either of them should die prematurely or become disabled, and have Aalim take over Arvinder’s business, all on one income so that Hannah can remain at home with the children. 

Buy now by logging into your FPSC Portal*

Once logged in, please click “Purchase Capstone Case” which is found on your
FPSC Portal home page in the quick links section. 

If you don’t yet have an account, create one here.
  • Price: Each case costs $47.99 plus taxes.
  • Return Policy: Please note that there are no returns on cases. You may exchange one case for another within five business days of purchase.
  • Delivery: You will receive emailed instructions of how to redeem your case within two business days of purchase.

For More Information

  • If you have general questions about your purchase or encounter any difficulties, please contact
  • For technical difficulties or questions about downloading, please contact 1.855.200.4146
  • If you have questions about the use of case studies in your Capstone Course, please speak directly to your instructor