Dave Yeske, on the 50th anniversary of financial planning, notes its achievements and challenges in a balanced and thoughtful piece. Dave concludes, “We have at least begun to embrace the imperatives of a true profession and are working to make them real.”
A Stranger to our profession—or even a newcomer—might rightfully ask why we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary now. The 50th anniversary of what? Unlike most professions, ours can actually point to a precise founding date: December 12, 1969, when Loren Dunton convened a group of financial services executives at a Chicago hotel to discuss the possibilities for a new way of delivering financial advice.
Out of that gathering came the seeds of what would become FPA and CFP Board. More significantly, however, out of that gathering came a vision for providing integrated financial advice to individuals and families. Not because no one had been advising people on tax planning strategies before that, or budgeting, or risk management, or portfolio management. But because before that you had to go to three or four different advisers, and their advice was myopic; it was tax-focused, or insurance-focused, or investment-focused. If you wanted to retire, your stock broker would sell you a mutual fund or your insurance agent would sell you a whole life policy; everyone had their particular hammer and every problem looked like a nail.
After the Chicago confab, however, there was the possibility of talking to one adviser who could make recommendations that spanned all those silos, melded their possibilities, and offered integrated solutions.
Thus were we born as a new profession.
The early years saw the tools of finance and economics translated from the corporate realm to that of the household. Financial statement analysis, tax planning, time-value-of-money, portfolio optimization, and risk management techniques—part of the traditional toolkit of corporate analysts and consultants were now reconceptualized to meet the needs of individuals and families.
Not that there wasn’t a dark side to the profession in those early years. For many financial service enterprises and for many practitioners as well, financial planning was nothing more than a delivery system for financial products. And though many would proclaim that, “financial planning is a process, not a product,” this perspective was not the dominant feature of the landscape during those early years.
You can read the rest of the article at OneFPA.org.
Dave Yeske, DBA, CFP®, is managing director at Yeske Buie, past chair of FPA, and practitioner editor of the Journal of Financial Planning. He earned a bachelor’s degree in applied economics and a master’s degree in economics at the University of San Francisco, and a doctorate in finance at Golden Gate University, where he holds an appointment as distinguished adjunct professor and is director of the financial planning program.