Becoming Consumers of the Profession We Practice

Kahler, Richard S.
November 2008
Journal of Financial Planning;Nov/Dec2008, Vol. 21 Issue 11, p56
Academic Journal
• While many financial planners want to establish planning as a profession, few embrace one of the trademarks of professions such as law or medicine: becoming consumers of their own professions services. This article discusses why few planners are planner-clients, the personal and professional benefits of being a planner-client, and how to select your own planner. • Planners' reasons for not hiring their own financial planners—questions of trust, fear of being shamed, fear of loss of control, questioning competency or value, cost, and spousal issues—are largely the same as any prospective clients. Even the most common objection from planners—why should I pay someone else to do something I can do myself?—echoes the objection of many prospective clients. • Yet the personal and professional benefits for engaging one's own planner are many. On the personal side, it helps planners address their own incomplete financial planning issues and blind spots, involves their spouses, enhances their own relationship with money, creates accountability and develops and refines life aspirations. • Perhaps most surprising for planners who have become planner-clients are the professional benefits they realize. These include increased understanding of the client experience, deepened ability to communicate the value of financial planning, experiencing another planner's processes, and creating new ideas for one's own practice. • Selecting a planner should entail more than simply choosing a colleague the planner has known and trusted for years. Interview at least three planners and discuss investment philosophies, agree how to manage investments and implementation, discuss concerns about disclosure, value, and trust, and agree on fees and payment.


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