By Autumn K. Campbell
A couple shares with their planner that they have been offered a significant employment promotion, but will require relocation. The planner responds by asking “how are you feeling about this decision?”
The couple proceeds to share concerns of future childcare, currently provided by the family, aging parents, school changes, and general anxiety for how much work it takes to move. This gives the financial planner the opportunity to guide the clients through their values and see if taking or leaving this opportunity makes the most sense for their life planning.
Financial life planning looks beyond the hard numbers, and interrogates the deeper values of the couple who has an important decision to make.
Life Planning: People Over Product
Financial planning is moving from advisors being the beholders of the right answers, towards planners being the guides of helping people make confident, informed choices throughout the uncertainties of life.
The highest value of a financial planner lies within their ability to manage people, even more than their ability to manage money. With this new way of serving clients, comes the need for new skills. Skills of searching for deeper meaning in conversation, reading body language, open ended questioning, and allowing time for processing, breathing, and emotion.
People searching for a financial planner are looking for a partner in making financial decisions more than ever before. The days of discrete investment management or solely insurance sales are fading, at least for the profession of financial planning.
As the profession moves towards a more holistic approach, planning professionals are moving towards an expanded and redirected skillset. We are no longer convincing clients of the right decision, but rather giving them the tools and knowledge to make decisions for themselves, with us as a partner through all the implications their choices bring.
Financial life planning was created and influenced in large part by the teachings of Richard “Dick" B. Wagner, George Kinder, and Roy Diliberto. In contrast to the traditional financial services offerings, the profession of financial planning offers a way to work with people and considers a holistic approach to financial planning and accounts for the inextricable emotional components that come with financial decisions.
Get Involved & Learn More
There are growing communities that focus on financial life planning and include both the art and the science in their work. Below are some organizations leading the way in training planners to be skilled in guiding clients through many of life’s most important decisions:
• Kinder Institute - “tools and training to make it possible for financial planners and individuals alike to cultivate a Life Plan designed to deliver the most meaningful kind of freedom.”
• Sudden Money Institute - provides “process and tools for the personal side of money and for clients going through transitions.”
• Money Quotient - teaches “financial professionals how to bring science to the art of relationship.”
• The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA) are national organizations dedicated to serving financial planning professionals.
• The app “FPA Next Generation Planner” - made specifically for financial planning professionals in their first decade in the profession.
• Facebook group “FPA Activate," a community of over 2,500 people interested in learning and sharing with others in or moving into the financial planning profession.
• “FPA NexGen Gathering,” the annual conference dedicated to advancing the community and knowledge of financial planning professionals in their first decade in the profession.
Autumn K. Campbell, CFP®, is a Pacific-Northwest native who now resides in Tulsa, OK after a few years as a teacher and counselor in Dallas followed by a financial planning residency in New Orleans. She is a lead planner at Facet Wealth, a virtual fee-only RIA that connects clients with a dedicated CFP® to do goals-based financial planning at an affordable price. She is the current FPA NexGen Chair and is an active alumni of Teach For America and Junior League member. For social activities, she loves sports such as triathlons, flag football, rugby, weight-lifting and obstacle courses racing and is a strategy board game enthusiast.
FPA NexGen, a community of the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), aims to provide support and collaboration for those professionals new to the financial planning profession. With more than 2,500 like-minded young professionals, members of FPA NexGen are ready to share their experiences and further the future of the financial planning profession. Learn more about our engaged community and join the conversation on Twitter.
Here are past NexGen columns: