I’m one of those people with several credible professional certifications and a couple of educational degrees. When people ask me about the alphabet soup on my business card, I usually say, “it just proves I used to know something.” My joke is pretty worn out but I do believe that current knowledge is more important than knowledge gained a long time ago.
I was reminded of this premise recently when I spent 2 ½ days in a Flight Training Device (a simulator) at an intensive Pilot Recurrent Training program to maintain my skills as a commercial pilot. The simulator allows a pilot to practice scenarios one would prefer not to experience in a real aircraft. Learning and relearning how to perform under adverse circumstances gives one confidence in his or her ability to manage a real life scenario. Even when a pilot flies actively, skills may fade and staying current, not just at the level required to maintain flying certificates but to maintain our knowledge and skills, keeps us competent.
Professional pilots are required to participate in simulator training once or twice a year to stay sharp, in addition to other annual qualifying training and examination.
If all financial planners had the same commitment to continuing education that professional pilots have, I think clients would be better served. At a minimum, depending on one’s financial certification, only 15 to 20 hours of continuing education a year is typically required to maintain the use of the certification marks. These hours can be accumulated through local meetings, online courses, magazine quizzes or attending a variety of courses and conferences. Truly remaining current on techniques requires one to have a commitment to continuing education.
Here are five attributes I believe are important for clients to know about an advisor before engaging them:
- The advisor practices financial planning full-time.
- The advisor takes fiduciary responsibility for the advice they provide.
- The advisor has credible credentials.
- The advisor is committed to continuing education.
- The advisor is experienced.
I’m pretty sure no one wants to know that their advisor “used to” know something but rather that they continue to learn and build on their knowledge to better serve their clients.
For more information, visit our website at www.makinglifecount.com or contact Stewart Koesten at 913-345-1881 or firstname.lastname@example.org.