Frequently Asked Questions: RMA® Certification

Have questions about the Retirement Management Advisor® certification? Find answers in our extensive FAQs list below. If you have a query that isn’t addressed, please reach out to our team and we will be happy to assist you. 

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About the RMA® Certification 

Is the RMA® certification right for me?  

Ideal candidates for the Retirement Management Advisor® Certification Program include:  

  • Wealth managers and specialists 

  • Financial planners  

  • Investment consultants and advisors  

  • Retirement specialists  

  • Family office professionals  

  • Trust professionals  

  • Tax and estate professionals.

What benefits can I expect from earning RMA® certification?

  • Product-Neutral learning: The program provides a unique mix of academic validation and practical application through a client-centered, “outcomes-based” approach, unlike most retirement education programs which prioritize investment planning or product solutions.   

  • Premier quality education and real-world application: The RMA® program features a balanced lineup of expert practitioners and academics who focus on real-world applications. 

What requirements do I need to meet to obtain RMA® certification?  

To register for an RMA® course, financial services professionals must have three years of relevant experience or acceptable designations (CIMA®, CPWA®, CFP®, CFA®, ChFC, RIPC) and adhere to the Investments & Wealth Institute Code of Professional Responsibility.

Why should I pursue RMA® certification if I already have my CFP®, CIMA®, or CPWA® certifications?  

RMA® certification is considered a “post-CFP®, post-CIMA®, post-CPWA®" certification, especially when it comes to retirement-oriented planning. Each of these credentials addresses some elements of retirement planning, but usually in the context of other financial or wealth advice. The RMA® certification is retirement-income specific. It focuses on advising clients through the realities of changing from an accumulation to a decumulation mindset.  

Additionally, the RMA® certification elevates your previous certifications by providing an academically backed, practical set of decision-making processes that you can use immediately in your practice.

Education and Preparation 

What does the program entail?  

The Retirement Management Advisor®(RMA®) certification program focuses on building custom retirement income plans to mitigate client risk and master the retirement planning process, within an ever-changing regulatory environment. RMA® certification education equips you with essential knowledge that enables you to speak the language of retirement-focused clients.

What does the class approach include?  

  • Check-in emails with helpful reminders and resources 

  • Live webcast check-ins with IWI staff and content review with faculty

  • Open office sessions with IWI staff for live Q&A and peer-to-peer discussion 

What subjects are covered in the RMA® certification program?

The Retirement Opportunity

  1. The Retirement Landscape: Knowledge of critical retirement demographics and current trends, and the role of the client and advisor. 

  2. Retirement Mindset and Behavior: Knowledge of the evolution of retirement approaches, and understanding the behavioral science related to finance, aging, retirement, cognitive decline, and family dynamics to positively impact client actions. 

  3. The Ethical Advisor: Knowledge of business standards, regulatory requirements, ethics concepts, and the Code of Professional Responsibility. 

The Retirement Client

  1. Client Discovery and Analysis: Understanding the essentials of a prudent, client-oriented advisory process, and ability to create, implement, monitor and adjust retirement plans. 

  2. Assessing Retirement Readiness: Ability to create scenario planning models and optimized retirement income plans, prioritizing essential issues, assessing available capital for funding goals, utilizing assets and liabilities for creating income. 

  3. Retirement Risk Management: Knowledge of approaches to risk management, and risk concepts, categories, assessments, and strategies. 

Retirement Technical Design

  1. Retirement Portfolio Allocations: Ability to structure the appropriate planning approach, including goals-based planning to build a repeatable retirement income planning client engagement process.

  2. Key Retirement Planning Decisions: Key knowledge of strategies for Social Security and Medicare and withdrawal policies, rules, and risks. 

  3. Implementations Strategies: Knowledge of portfolio allocations, product selection, and insurance, lending and investment vehicles, specific to delivering sustainable retirement income plans. 

  4. Life in Transition: Ability to prepare for and address special situations, considerations and aging issues. 

  5. Retirement Policy Statements: Understanding, monitoring, communicating the Retirement Policy Statement to provide clients with a road map for taking actions for their retirement income plan. 

What major competencies can I gain from completing the coursework?  

You’ll become a master of the retirement planning advisory process and gain the skills to build custom retirement income plans that mitigate client risk.  

How long does it take to complete RMA® certification? 

We estimate the RMA Program will take 4-6 months to complete with a recommended 4–6 hours of study per week. That includes reading material, instructional videos, knowledge checks, and module quizzes to complete the education requirements. The capstone event may be delivered live in-person, live online, or on-demand and includes approximately 16 hours of instruction and executive education. 

The RMA Certification Exam is 115 multiple choice questions (100 scored questions) with an allotted exam time of three hours. 

After earning my RMA® certification, what CE requirements must I fulfill?   

Like other Investments & Wealth Institute certifications, the RMA® certification requires 40 credits every two years. CE content that is approved for CIMA® and CPWA®, is also approved for RMA® certification.

How do RMA® certification holders feel about the certification?  

“In the process of preparing for and taking the RMA® certification exam, I realized how much I’ve learned about retirement planning that I never before understood. This approach is not just more comprehensive, it places a sharp focus on the risk-management techniques that both advisors and retirees really need to understand and implement. I believe that any practitioner who is concerned about succeeding in retirement planning would benefit enormously from the practical insights conveyed by the RMA® certification program." 
~ David Macchia 

“I can already tell how the RMA® certification coursework has changed the way I perceive my clients’ risks exposures and how the “safety first” mantra of RMA® certification is permeating everything I do. I believe that as time passes and the retiree population grows further there will be an increasing desire to utilize income experts and retirement savvy planners. Additionally, I believe that the RMA® certification coursework puts me at an advantage when it comes to speaking to clients concisely about their retirement needs and puts me on the cutting edge of retirement portfolio construction.” 
~Lucas Minton 

“Up until now, there hasn’t been any formal training available to teach advisors the important differences between planning for accumulation and planning for retirement income. The RMA® certification program is changing that. IWI developed a specialized curriculum one studies to become an RMA® certificant, or Retirement Management Advisor® certificant. The material is fabulous and offers a tremendous amount of insight into the difference between accumulating assets and ‘decumulating’ assets.” 
~ Dana Anspach 

How much does RMA® certification cost? 

The RMA® certification costs $2,495. 

What benefits can I expect as an RMA® certification candidate?  

With the RMA® certification program you’ll have access to the online program, in-person or On-Demand RMA(R) Capstone, the RMA® exam, check-in webinars, live online open office sessions, and Investments & Wealth Institute membership benefits. IWI membership benefits include the RMA® blog content and Retirement Management Journal, and IWI publications such as, the Journal of Investment Consulting, the Investments & Wealth Monitor. 

How do I enroll?  

Candidates will select their class during the application process. Email or for more information.