The importance of smart financial planning
“You don’t need to be rich. You don’t even need to be smart. You just need to have the sense to realize that so much of what you want and need in life revolves around money. With the stakes that high, it only makes sense that you should consult a professional to make sure you are on solid footing.”
The assertions above come from information provided to prospective clients by member of the Financial Planning Association of North Alabama (FPA). The Alabama group is affiliated with the FPA national organization, based in Denver, Colo.
The FPA was created in 2000 with the merger of the International Association for Financial Planning and the Institute of Certified Financial Planners.
“The financial planning profession exists to help people reach their financial goals and dreams. FPA of North Alabama, which has over 175 active members—about 75 percent of whom hold the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification—offers practitioners access to a deep inventory of resources specifically designed to help them serve consumers with the highest distinction—placing clients’ interests first—and advance their professional careers,” says Rus Jordan, CFP®, CFS®, financial advisor with America’s First Financial and president of FPA of North Alabama.
The FPA is the principal professional organization for Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professionals, educators, financial services providers, and students who seek advancement in a growing, dynamic profession. FPA members adhere to the highest standards of professional competence, ethical conduct, and clear, complete disclosure to those they serve and take part in FPA’s One Connection for professional education, business success, advocacy, and community at the national and chapter levels. FPA is truly an indispensable force in the advancement of today’s CFP professionals, according to FPA material.
“Most people have goals they want to accomplish, such as save more for retirement or pay down debt, but they have trouble making progress because they don’t have a plan. The stakes are high because financial stress has a significant impact on individuals’ well-being, both at home and at work. That is why we are passionate about understanding individuals’ sources of financial stress and helping them connect the dots for a better way forward,” says Liz Rutherford, AIF®, President and Co-CEO, Johnson+Sterling.
With a network of more than 90 chapters, thousands of CFP professionals and members at large, FPA provides access to local opportunities including the following:
- Continuing education and networking opportunities with professionals in their area;
- Study groups for those who are new to the profession and mentoring opportunities for experienced professionals; and
- Extensive tools, training, leadership, practice management, and educational resources.
The primary aim of the FPA is to be the community that fosters the value of financial planning, and advances the practice and profession of financial planning.
Just as in a hospital setting, or a courtroom perhaps, there is a code of conduct that members of the FPA follow. It can be called standard of care.
- Put the client’s best interests first.
- Act with due care and in utmost good faith.
- Do not mislead clients.
- Provide full and fair disclosure of all material facts.
- Disclose and fairly manage all material conflicts of interest.
FPA engages with federal and state regulators and legislators to advocate for policies to benefit consumers and financial planning practitioners.
FPA’s current advocacy priorities are focused on:
- Fiduciary standard – Support SEC rulemaking that would ensure that broker-dealers put customer’s interests first when they are giving personalized investment advice to retail customers.
- Appropriate oversight of investment advisers – Support more robust oversight of investment advisers by directing sufficient resources to improve current oversight programs.
- Appropriate regulation of financial planners – Educate policymakers about the practice and the value of financial planning and the effect of policy decisions on practitioners and their clients.