So, you’ve established yourself as a financial planner. You like the firm where you work and your co-workers. Things are going well.
But not, perhaps as well as you wish. You want to grow and advance in our field and eventually assist clients with even larger investment portfolios.
This restlessness is good. The desire to improve your talents and increase your skillset is a sign of personal and professional growth. As Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson puts it, “Don’t be afraid to be ambitious about your goals. Hard work never stops. And neither should your dreams.”
So, how do you get to where you want to be? The answer is easy: Get more involved in your profession.
Our field has several professional organizations that can assist you in developing your career, networking with others, and frankly just plain having a good time socializing with others who spend their days doing the very same thing you do. These groups can also provide you access to new resources, mentoring opportunities and even offer new perspectives on your job and how you perform it.
Let’s look at some of the leading groups out there and what they have to offer.
The Financial Planning Association (FPA) is a leader in the profession. It is open to anyone at any stage of their career, from college students preparing to enter the field to longtime veterans. The FPA has 85 local chapters and state councils and hosts national conferences and special events.
One of FPA’s signature benefits is Coaches Corner —available both live and virtually —where members can get coaching from the industry’s top leaders and coaches. Another feature is PlannerSearch, which connects consumers with financial planners. FPA MediaSource matches financial planners with journalists who are writing stories on personal finance topics.
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) boasts a widely diversified membership ranging from local mom-and-pop firms to international entities. Its goals are to provide independent, objective financial advice, to serve the public interest, and to be the financial planning profession’s standard-bearer. Members must sign a fiduciary oath and support the association’s code of ethics.
You might also consider the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), which bills itself as “the only organization serving and representing insurance and financial advisors regardless of the products they sell, or the focus of their practice.” That’s why you will find insurance agents, financial advisors, independent advisors, multiline agents, and employee benefits specialists in its ranks.
NAIFA sponsors monthly meetings, provides access to its virtual library of practice management resources and prospecting tools, and includes members in its Advisors You Can Trust website marketed to consumers.
AFP, The Association of Financial Professionals, is of special interest to corporate financial planners because the group’s mission is to support treasury and corporate finance professionals. It does that by administering the certified corporate financial planning and analysis (FP&A) professional credential.
Additionally, AFP provides its members with both online and in-person training sessions; access to a massive number of tools; industry research and support services; assistance in nurturing and growing your career; plus, an annual international networking conference that brings together more than 7,000 corporate financial planners.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
Now here’s the thing: These valuable and worthwhile groups will not come to you. You must make the first move to get involved. You know how to use Google to find these groups. All you need to do after that is reach out with an email or phone call. They will be more than happy to answer your questions and help you determine which organization is the right fit for you.
Remember, it’s essential to have the ambition and desire necessary to take your career to the next level. But you must add action into the mix to make that happen.
Getting active in a professional organization will show to your boss, your colleagues, and most importantly yourself, that you are serious about reaching your full potential as a financial planner.