The RICP Designation

Tackling America’s Retirement Crisis Head-On

7,500 financial advisors now enrolled in new industry degree program

Program Growth Signals Tremendous Need for Retirement Income Planning Advice

BRYN MAWR, PA, May 11, 2015 – With approximately 10,000 Americans reaching the age of 65 every day for the next 16 years and in need of a secure retirement plan, the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) is now the number one designation program measured by year-to-date course registrations at The American College of Financial Services.

The College has enrolled a total of 7,500 students in the RICP® program. The milestone underscores The American College’s efforts to meet the growing need for rigorously prepared advisors who can help consumers address their retirement income challenges.

“When 80 percent of retirement-age Americans get an ‘F’ on a basic retirement income quiz, it’s clear there is a real knowledge deficit around retirement income planning,” said David A. Littell, RICP® Retirement Income Program Director at The New York Life Center for Retirement Income at The American College. “People need the help of a certified retirement planner to get them on the right path.

A key educational role

The RICP® is playing a key role in educating advisors to guide Americans in the most challenging financial task of their lives – generating lifelong retirement income.” The RICP® was launched in 2012 and quickly became the fastest-growing financial advisor credential in the 88 year history by The American College. It comes at a time when Americans are struggling with the challenge of retirement income planning.

Based on the College’s recent survey of more than 1,000 Americans age 60 to 75 with at least $100,000 in assets:

  • Just 20% of retirement-age Americans can pass a basic quiz on how to make their nest eggs last throughout retirement
  • The “4 percent rule” for a safe withdrawal rate in retirement is unfamiliar to seven in ten Americans (69%)
  • Only half of respondents (53%) know that it is best to wait until age 70 to claim Social Security for someone with a long life expectancy
  • More than half of Americans (51%) underestimate the life expectancy of a 65-year-old man
  • Only 27% of respondents report having a written retirement plan in place – despite the fact that 63% say they have a relationship with a financial advisor

Three in-depth college level courses

The RICP program consists of three in-depth college-level courses covering topics central to any retirement income plan: Retirement Income Process, Strategies and Solutions; Sources of Retirement Income; and Managing the Retirement Income Plan.

Professionals taking the program come from all segments of the financial services profession, including brokerage houses, independent advisors, wealth managers and financial planners. While there are no prerequisites for the program, advisors who already hold advanced planning credentials such as the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) or the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designations are finding value in learning the details of retirement income distribution to supplement the wealth accumulation knowledge they have already acquired.

When 80 percent of retirement-age Americans get an ‘F’ on a basic retirement income quiz, it’s clear there is a real knowledge deficit around retirement income planning

The American College recently polled a panel of RICP® designation holders asking how the RICP® has had an impact on their work, and notable feedback included:

  • 99% thought that the RICP® designation has made them better at their job
  • 98% felt that the industry would benefit from more advisors earning an RICP®
  • 83% said that earning an RICP® has changed the way they approach retirement income planning

Advisors can learn more about the RICP® program by visiting, while consumers can learn about this credential and others at™.

Survey Methodology
The study was designed by Greenwald & Associates in cooperation with the American College. Respondents were asked knowledge, behavior and attitudinal questions on the following topics: retirement and retirement planning, ability to maintain lifestyle, income generation, annuity product knowledge, Social Security, life expectancy, death of a spouse, taxes, inflation, housing, medical insurance and long-term care. Information for this study was gathered through online interviews conducted between July 17-25, 2014. A total of 1,019 Americans were interviewed. To qualify for participation in the study, respondents had to be ages 60-75 and have at least $100,000 in household assets, not including their primary residence.


About The American College of Financial Services
The American College is the nation’s largest non-profit educational institution devoted to financial services. Holding the highest level of academic accreditation, The College has served as a valued business partner to banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies and others since 1927. The American College’s faculty represents some of the financial services industry’s foremost thought leaders. For more information, visit

About the New York Life Center for Retirement Income at The American College
The New York Life Center for Retirement Income at The American College serves to elevate the knowledge of financial service professionals in order to improve retirement security for Americans. It provides a website for advisors and supports the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) designation, which educates financial advisors to help prepare the 76 million Baby Boomers and millions of older retirees who are concerned about the safety of their retirement income plans. To learn more about the New York Life Center for Retirement Income, go to