By Carly Schulaka
Ask not what is the future of the financial planning profession, but who. NexGen is an FPA community for up-and-coming professionals who represent the future of financial planning. Membership in the group is limited to FPA members under 36, but anyone is welcome at attend the group's annual conference, which will be held immediately prior to FPA Anaheim 2009, Oct. 9-10 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
H. Jude Boudreaux, CFP®, with Bellingrath Wealth Management in New Orleans, is the current president of NexGen, and Joe Pitzl, CFP®, with Mindful Asset Planning in Apple Valley, Minn., is the 2010 NexGen president-elect. FPA recently asked Boudreaux and Pitzl to bring FPA members up to speed on the NexGen community.
NexGen's Purpose and Vision
About five years ago, when Michael Kitces, CFP®, of Pinnacle Advisory Group and Aaron Coates, CFP®, of Relevant Financial Planning, were attending FPA Retreat, they realized they were among only a handful of planners under age 40.
"They walked away with the desire to establish a community of young financial planners across the country to support one another, share best practices and ensure that the next generation of planners develops the strong leadership and commitment to carry financial planning into the next generation," says Pitzl.
Today, NexGen's vision statement is to ensure the transference of wisdom, tradition and integrity from the pioneers of financial planning to the profession's next generation.
"The underlying belief of our membership is that we all become better by openly sharing our best practices," says Pitzl. "At the end of the day, we want NexGen to be the breeding ground to develop the future leadership of the profession."
Issues Facing the Next Generation
According to Pitzl, one of the biggest issues facing the next generation of financial planners is career development.
"Massive numbers of clients are being served by planners who will be transitioning out of the business in the coming years," he says. "Every bit as much as the older generation has a responsibility to find new advisers for their clients, the NexGen community has a responsibility to develop the talent required to ensure a smooth transition."
Another issue facing these young planners relates to the responsibility they hold as the future of the profession.
"We need to increase the volume and sharpen the tone of our voice to let our regulators know that we will tolerate nothing less than a fiduciary duty for financial planners in the years ahead," says Pitzl. "The status quo of having a financially illiterate public without a fiduciary standard of care provides a situation that is ripe for abuse."
Elaborating on the topic of financial literacy, Pitzl adds, "Our membership is driven to close this gap nationwide and ensure that basic personal finance is taught in our schools. The more educated people become in personal financial matters, the more likely they are to recognize the value of financial planners and seek assistance."
Friendships That Last a Lifetime
Boudreaux says his involvement in the NexGen community has changed his life and his relationship with the planning profession.
"I now know exceptional planners with different focuses throughout the country," says Boudreaux. "Not only can we all learn from each other, I've met some of the best people I know through this group and really cherish those friendships. It is a very open and welcoming community, and there is always room for one more!"