Enjoy the current installment of “weekend reading for financial planners” – this week’s edition kicks off with the big industry news that the CFP Board has stated it will “affirmatively oppose” any states that attempt to regulate financial planning, in light of the potential cost and regulatory patchwork that could otherwise emerge with different states that have different standards… but without actually setting forth what the organization thinks the ideal Federal regulation of financial planning would look like, and setting the CFP Board at odds with the Financial Planning Association, which has spent years building and deepening its state-level advocacy relationships and capabilities.
Also in the news this week were several other articles about the CFP Board, including the kick-off of the CFP Board’s public forums discussing the new Standards of Conduct to take effect next October of 2019 (and what CFP certificants want in terms of education, support, or simply clarification regarding those rules between now and then), and another article questioning whether the CFP Board has spent too much in time and resources promoting the high standards of the marks and not enough actually enforcing those standards to clean up bad actors (though the CFP Board indicates that it plans to enforce more effectively once the new standards take effect next year).
From there, we have several articles around cash flow and budgeting strategies with clients, including one on how to help clients better track and categorize their spending (based not on wants versus needs to determine what’s essential and what’s discretionary, but simply by helping them reflect on what they spent that actually brought them enjoyment, and what they subsequently regretted, and focusing there first to figure out what to cut), a second on how retirees might plan their retirement expenses based not on their estimated spending habits in retirement but instead based on how they plan to spend their time in retirement (and then figure out what those lifestyle activities will cost), and the last exploring what it really means to be “middle class” (and the challenges in seeing high-income households as “middle class” even though they work in a high-cost-of-living area that means their dollars really don’t go very far).
We also have a few additional articles around credit cards and borrowing, including a look at whether it’s worthwhile to have all clients freeze their credit reports now that it’s free (by national law) from all three major credit bureaus, the prospective benefits of “credit card churning” to rack up travel points with new-card bonuses, and why parents with college-aged children should be filling out the FAFSA even if they don’t think they’ll be eligible for financial aid (because many discover they actually were eligible after the fact, as even some merit-based aid programs also require a FAFSA to be filed!).
We wrap up with three interesting articles, all around the theme of building relationships (with friends, or with clients): the first looks at how the single greatest driver to turning an acquaintance into a friend and then ultimately a confidant is simply spending enough time (which could amount to dozens or hundreds of hours) to really deepen the relationship; the second offers up some better questions besides “What Do You Do?” to more quickly build rapport with someone you’re meeting the first time (in an effort to create more “multiplex” ties beyond just the context of work); and the last looks at what it really takes to create a powerful mentor relationship, which is about more than just finding someone who wants to mentor you, but finding someone who is just far enough ahead of you on the journey to be able to provide insight about what comes next, but is close enough to where you are now to still remember what it was like to be there, too.
Enjoy the “light” reading!