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Texas Tech Offers Summer Financial Planning Course for High School Students

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How do you get more college students interested in a career in financial planning? You start early, according to a new program announced Friday by Texas Teach University and funded by Charles Schwab.

The Financial Planning Academy is a one-week summer program for high school students intended to nurture interest in financial planning. It starts this summer with 100 students on the Texas Tech University campus in Lubbock, Texas.

“It is never too soon to start raising awareness of what a career as an independent investment advisor entails,” said Bernie Clark, executive vice president and head of Schwab Advisor Services, in a statement announcing the academy.

The Charles Schwab Foundation is supporting the program with a grant and previously funded the university’s Charles Schwab Personal Financial Planning Technology Complex.

The academy is focused on reaching high school students before they attend college and choose a major because even at Texas Tech, “most students” in the financial planning program didn’t learn about it or the profession until after they arrived at college, says Deena Katz, associate professor of personal financial planning at Texas Tech.

The Financial Academy Program runs from June 12 to June 17 and is currently accepting applications from students. Teachers are financial advisors and doctoral students in financial planning. The cost is $150, and students have to arrange their own transportation to Lubbock, Texas.

“We’re looking for student sophomores through seniors who are interested in learning more about financial planning and coming together with other students … to increase their financial knowledge and know-how and give them team building and leadership skills,“ Katz tells ThinkAdvisor. 

The Financial Planning Academy is interested in not only nurturing potential financial advisors but also attracting more women and minorities to the profession.

“We need 30% more individuals by 2024 on top of the 250,000 advisors that exist today,” Clark tells ThinkAdvisor, and new advisors will need to be more ethnically diverse.

“We are way underrepresenting where wealth is headed in the future,” says Clark. “Forty percent of millennials are more ethnically diverse [and] women make up about 20% of investors and providers … For advisory firms to be successful they have to look more like their clients.”

The financial advisory industry has lots of potential to grow. The industry currently manages $4 trillion in assets, but there’s an additional estimated $23 trillion in affluent assets remaining outside the independent advisor channel, according to the statement announcing the Financial Planning Academy.

Given those numbers, there’s also potential for more programs to train investment advisors. Currently about 350 programs offer courses that qualify students to take the CFP exam, but only 180 are based in academia, says Clark.

— Check out Financial Illiteracy: The Local Solution on ThinkAdvisor.