“The Challenges of a Financial Planner”

11 April, 2016

This spring semester at VIU, I discovered that the CFP courses (Certified Financial Planner) were being offered as part of the university curriculum. My more immediate interest and passion is towards the investing side of the business, but this

“The Challenges of a Financial Planner”

This spring semester at VIU, I discovered that the CFP courses (Certified Financial Planner) were being offered as part of the university curriculum. My more immediate interest and passion is towards the investing side of the business, but this convenient development certainly made it easy to choose my spring courses. 

Attending these courses reminded me again that this role requires such a vast knowledge base in so many different areas. To be an effective financial planner, you need to be knowledgeable in financial & estate planning, taxation, investing, insurance, credit and debt management, real estate, and have some basic legal understanding on many topics as well. Now, while we need at least a moderate understanding of taxation, we are not accountants. While we need some understanding of the legal side of financial and estate planning, we are not lawyers. In each of those areas that we require at least some knowledge in, those fields have corresponding professions where that is the only area of expertise practiced by that professional.  

We help tie all of that together, which is why we sometimes find ourselves working closely with our clients’ lawyers, their accountants, their mortgage brokers, and so on. Of course this also means that we need to stay on top of many different sides of the financial industry, which can change fairly often. There is always more to learn, and there are always new tools and strategies to acquire to maximize the value we can offer our clients. Personally, I love this about my job: my learning will never be complete and I will always be challenged. I’ll definitely never get bored of my job! 

Every once in a while I am asked if I am worried about ‘Robo Advisors’ and whether or not I see them as real competition. Robo Advisors are ‘do-it-yourself’ software programs that allow people to input information regarding their financial situation and create a basic financial plan. When I think of the diverse role that we play as financial planners, I have a hard time seeing our profession as one of those at risk of being automated. There are too many variables for it to be simplified that much, and software will never be able to replace the person working with you that genuinely wants to see you succeed. 

It’s because of this diversity that a big part of my job will be continuous training and education, whether I’m thirty years old or sixty years. I know that there will always be ways that I can improve the level of service we provide and add value to the experience I offer to my clients. 

And, really, who wants to master their profession by the time they’re in their forties? 

Written by: Kieran Johnson
Kieran Johnson