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Nowadays financial planners are feeling more pressure to prove their value and trustworthiness in an environment where investment fraud occurs, deals go bad and some who call themselves investment specialists are just plain old crooks. Fortunately, those who have earned the CFP certification already know they have the skills and education to serve their clients well, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more that can be learned to be increasingly useful and valuable to those clients while proving honesty and integrity.
For a certified financial planner in Canada, there is a continuing education component required in order to maintain certification. While many aspects of furthering their education will count towards maintaining the CFP certification, not everything that is a beneficial source of information will. It’s important to continue to look at the options and resources available, listen to one’s clients and understand their needs. There is always something to be added to the skillset and to the knowledge that can benefit the clients.
We’ve taken a look at some of the resources noted on the FP Canada website in their Toolbox section and have pulled out the top four elements we think everyone with a CFP certification can benefit from. Being a certified financial planner in Canada isn’t just about getting a designation and hitting cruise control. It’s about making a commitment to continuing to advance skills and knowledge to make your clients successful. Consider these four resources as your starting point to digging deep into more powerful tools that help and showing your clients that you understand what they are experiencing.
1. Call it a wake-up call or call it a shock therapy, the cross-country checkup found on the Financial Planning for Canadians website can be a fabulous place to start the conversation with potential clients or those who simply aren’t sure if they need a financial plan to reach their goals and dreams. More than 1,500 Canadians were surveyed in November 2018 in the 10th annual poll and the results can be alarming.
For example, 28% of Canadians are not confident they will meet their financial goals. Two-thirds of Canadians have not engaged the services of a certified financial planner in Canada and many of them have not done so because they feel the value of their investments are too small for a financial planner.
Reading over the checkup and reviewing the resources available on the website will give a keen insight into what many Canadians are thinking and feeling and how you can best reach them and serve them.
2. Women are an underserved market for financial planners and a still untapped opportunity. Also from the Financial Planning for Canadians website is the women and financial independence study. With nearly four in 10 women admitting they have very little knowledge about finance and investments, this gives financial planners a number of options. Not only can a planner who wants to work with women do so to the point of excluding non-women clients, but they can also create a business as the financial planner who helps to educate women on finances, investing and financial matters that are important to everyone. With more than half of the 1,000 women surveyed for the study stating they don’t have a financial plan, there is more than enough opportunity for financial planners to make women of any age a viable part of the business if not the entire business.
3. If someone could help you sleep better at night, wouldn’t you appreciate that kind of support? We’re not talking about a better mattress here or even fancy pillows, but about the financial issues that are keeping many Canadians up at night. Another study is called “Why Canadians Worry About Money”. This study is exactly what you’d think. It details the issues and areas where Canadians are finding concerns about their money.
Similar to the cross-country checkup, this study allows a financial planner to gain insight into the inner thoughts, feelings and concerns of the average Canadian. This can assist with marketing activities, ways to talk to others when networking and identifying the pressure points that clients want to fix first when dealing with a financial expert. For example, four out of ten Canadians find that money is a daily concern. Seven out of ten Canadians noted their financial situation has stayed the same or gotten worse over the past five years.
Financial planners absolutely can help alleviate some of the concerns keeping Canadians up at night. It’s time to find the best ways to reach out to them when money worries take over.
4. A similarly titled study “Canadians are Worried About Money” focuses on the fact that most Canadians do not have the confidence, skills or abilities to take action to achieve their financial goals and dreams. This is a key insight study for financial planners to see that they are the experts who can help. If a tooth gets chipped, people see their dentist. If the dog is sick, we head for the vet. If our financial picture isn’t what we’re hoping for, it’s time to engage a financial planner we know, like and trust in much the same way as we trust our dentist or vet.
This was a global study involving 19 countries and more than a thousand Canadian adults. The study showed that eight out of ten Canadians don’t feel successful at sticking to their financial strategies. This could be for a wide range of reasons, including a lack of confidence, ability to trust the plan when the short term doesn’t prove the desired result or feeling as though their financial situation is inadequate for a financial planner.
These four resources are just a few of many that can help financial planners open a conversation or attract potential clients who need help to make their financial dreams a reality.