In a media roundtable during the Financial Planning Association’s recent national conference, FPA President Elect Paul Auslander made a cogent point: Until financial planners figure out a way to provide advice to all Americans, they cannot consider themselves members of a true profession.
President Marty Kurtz argued that “regardless of net worth and income, everyone needs a third party to help them deal with the issues of life and money.”
Matching those lofty goals with practical acts, FPA and its partners are infusing national Financial Planning Week (Oct. 3-9) with a host of free clinics and other outreach efforts during the month of October to provide such advice to thousands of individual consumers. Ten FPA chapters and 200 volunteer FPA members are participating in Financial Planning Week activities serving an estimated 2,000 consumers.
In partnership with the CFP Board, the Foundation for Financial Planning, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, various media outlets and local FPA chapters, there are events planned in 27 states across the nation and 31 cities, including a number of Financial Planning Days, where FPA and non-FPA volunteer planners provide free advice to individuals and conduct public workshops on specific financial planning topics. (See the FPA website to view events in specific states and cities.)
According to the FPA, an estimated 500-600 volunteer financial planners, including FPA members and non-members, who are CFPs, are participating in the multiple Financial Planning Day events, providing financial planning services to an anticipated 3,000 to 5,000 individual consumers.
In that September meeting, Kurtz (left) noted that even experienced FPA members have to attend a pro-bono “boot camp” prior to volunteering at Financial Planning Days. “It’s a good way for us to keep abreast of the issues consumers are dealing with,” Kurtz said then. “For instance, last year it was all about mortgages and home values. And we’re able to break it out into different areas, meaning we can group it by subjects like credit, retirement, etc. Volunteers are required to attend a ‘boot camp’ for pro-bono training prior to volunteering.”
In addition to day-long events, such as the FPA New York chapter’s Financial Fitness Workshop held at NYU’s School of Law on Oct. 1, there are financial planning telephone “hot lines” manned by FPA members, and various media outlets presenting information for consumers, such as in Hawaii, where television station KHON-TV2, where video interviews are being aired on news programs and programs aimed at older people.
See AdvisorOne's complete coverage of the FPA Experience 2011 national conference.