I am grateful every day that I work in a firm culture that both encourages and supports continuing education at every level. As a financial planning professional, I have specific requirements for continuing education that must be met to maintain my CFP® designation, and there are certainly many ways to get those credits. APC’s culture is one of “knowledge plus experience equals wisdom”. CE credits can certainly provide knowledge, but gaining experience (either our own or learning from the experience of others) is what allows us to have the wisdom to then do the best work we can for our clients.
Our professional team recently attended one of the premier annual “experiences” available to a CFP® practitioner. I say premier because it does require a significant commitment of time out of the office, and travel and attendance costs are not insignificant. I certainly understand that many of my professional peers find it difficult to participate, especially if they are not as fortunate to have a supportive workplace culture. Still, it struck me that even though the retreat was fairly close (outside of Atlanta), there was only one other planner in attendance from Knoxville, and just a couple of others from the surrounding area.
This particular conference is a national event, with international attendees, and has been going on for decades. The CFP® profession has over 77,000 members (1,300 in Tennessee) and yet, the few hundred that come year after year are largely the same. These planners are engaging in something deeper, more meaningful, and more significant for our profession — thought provoking workshops and rich one-on-one conversations about “real” financial planning. Light years beyond investment selection, topics include elder abuse and financial health, understanding generational differences in communication and financial behaviors, the student loan landscape, experience bias, emotional issues regarding elder care, intergenerational planning, charitable giving, new thoughts about health and productivity to be at our best for clients, and more. Wow!! (One of our sessions was actually titled “Managing your energy for Wow”).
The significance of all this is that a relatively small group of financial planners want to have these conversations; want to discuss both current issues and be a part of guiding the future of our profession; want to feel that deeper connection and meaning to the work we do every day; want to make a difference; want to share the passion about our profession; and want to spread the gospel to the masses through how we conduct our work that there really is a life changing difference between brokerage services and holistic financial planning.
I’m forever proud to be part of that secret society of real financial planners.