Extend the reach of financial planning | Kiplinger
Kamila Elliott is the first black chair of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, a nonprofit organization that establishes and enforces CFP certification requirements. Elliott is president of GRID 202 Partners, a wealth management firm.
You said one of your main goals as chair of the CFP board is to increase the number of women and minority planners, while attracting more young people to the profession. How do you plan to do this? By raising awareness. I didn’t know what a financial advisor was until I was in college. My mom didn’t have a financial planner, and neither did my grandparents. The CFP Board just hired someone whose goal is to work with high schools to create more financial literacy and awareness. In the colleges, we have over 300 programs where we help people get CFP certification, and we want to increase the number of programs. We also aim to increase the number of programs registered with the CFP Board in HBCUs. [historically Black colleges and universities].
Are some university graduates discouraged by the cost of certification? We strive to remove any financial barriers people may encounter on the path to certification. We have several scholarships available for CFP certification training and exams, and we have mentorship programs for various people and women. Finance professionals have a higher median salary than the average college graduate, and you help people achieve their financial goals. It’s a job where you can do good for yourself and do good for others.
What can the financial planning industry do to reach people who need advice but don’t have a lot of money to manage? We’re seeing a bit more creativity in how companies structure their planning fees. Instead of using an assets under management model, they do things like subscription models where people pay a monthly planning fee. If you don’t have a lot of assets, you might not need as much complexity, so they create a structure where fees are commensurate with the level of planning provided.
At a time when individuals turn to everything from TikTok communities to Reddit communities for investment advice, how can the CFP board demonstrate the value of working with a CFP professional? On these forums, you don’t see much discussion of short-term and long-term capital gains rates. You don’t see conversations about whether you have the right estate plan. We’re happy when people talk about investing, but it’s us they’re talking to when they’ve made money. The more assets you have, the greater the complexity. This is a relatively new profession, and we would like to do more research to show the public that when working with a CFP professional, they are able to achieve personal goals faster and see a difference in returns on investment. Just like when you see a doctor you are healthier, if you work with a CFP professional you will be financially healthier.
The market was extremely volatile lately, especially in specific sectors. Any advice for investors? I spent most of my career with the Vanguard group, and the advice was always to “stay the course”. Your asset allocation should reflect your short and long term goals. If you have the right allocation, there is no need to make any changes to your portfolio at this time unless something has changed with you.