As a CFP® and member of the FPA, I am a big believer of educating individuals and families on the meaning of financial planning. I am also a big believer in taking the opportunity to volunteer my time to help educate the public and share information about financial planning to promote our profession and establish ourselves as the experts in the subject. That is why I was excited to learn the FPA of Greater Phoenix hosted one day out of the year to provide pro bono advice and service to a community in need of help. I had been looking for opportunities to volunteer around town, and I came to find all the opportunities I wanted were available right under my nose. I wanted the chance to give my time and knowledge first, but I also wanted to challenge myself to test my skills to see how “good” I was at being able to provide advice to an underserved community.
The Clients We Commonly Serve:
Most of us are used to working with prospects and clients that, to some degree, have done a lot of the right things when it comes to managing money. For example, we know how to talk about investment strategies, tax planning, and estate planning, because that is what these clients need and want. We are used to speaking to clients who might have a higher level knowledge about financial literacy and financial planning. In our everyday lives we talk to people with money who can afford the services we provide, and we do a great job of just that.
The Clients We Don’t Commonly Serve:
The other type of client I am referring to is the underserved. These are people who may be living paycheck to paycheck or struggling to pay their bills. Rarely, do we talk to clients or prospects that may have financial planning needs such as needing help with managing credit card debt, budgeting help, or understanding how to save money. In my opinion, they have a greater need to work with a financial planner because these type of prospects might not have the education, experience, job, background, or money to even pay for the services of a financial planner.
Financial Planning Day: Professional Outreach:
For one day we have an opportunity invite the community of Greater Phoenix to come visit us, where we provide pro bono financial planning services. At the event, we offer one on one sessions and group presentations on the various topics of financial planning. Last year, I elected to volunteer for the one on one sessions, and I worked with five cases during my time. We were briefed on the clientele we would be speaking to, we were given material packets to help guide us through the meetings, and we each had our individual desk space to work.
Meeting a Diverse Community:
The types of cases I worked on were extremely diverse. I worked with a young woman who wanted help reviewing her retirement plan. I worked with two different men preparing for retirement and needing help with comprehensive financial planning. Two cases were focused on helping families with budgeting and credit advice. Each session is designed to last about 30 minutes, so there is time to address their main concerns and provide fiduciary solutions.
2015 Financial Planning Day Impact:
FPA Day 2015 was a huge success. In total, we served over a hundred families, with more than 40 CFP® volunteers. I personally walked away from the experience with a heightened commitment to do more of this work, and that is why I wanted to step into the role of Committee Chair for Public Awareness in 2016. I believe we can do more to support our community, and this is a huge step in the right direction.
For Financial Planning Day this year, our goal is to serve even more families in need of pro bono financial services. With your support we can turn that vision into a reality. Maybe you have volunteered in the past and you would like to volunteer again, or maybe you have been wanting to volunteer but just don’t know how to go about getting involved. Whatever the case, I encourage you to join one of the upcoming learning sessions to hear more about Financial Planning Day, the role as CFP®s to serve the community, and how you can participate to help educate our community on the importance of basic financial literacy and the value of financial planning.
Personal financial planning is essential, regardless of age or income, and it is vital to meeting life goals, such as buying a home, paying for college or achieving a secure retirement. There are millions of Americans with pressing financial questions that need answers, and unfortunately, many have not had the opportunity to discuss those questions with competent and ethical financial planners.
Rio Solado College in Tempe, AZ 2323 W 14th St, Tempe, AZ 85281 9am-1pm Personalized Counseling Free one-on-one personalized financial advice. Bring a friend!
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Free financial workshops Topics Include: Budgeting, Credit & Debt, Investing, Retirement, Taxes, Home Ownership, Estate Planning, Insurance, Employee Benefits, Education Savings and more!
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