As discussed in our March newsletter, the theme for the second quarter of 2022 is Risk Management. I’m going to take this discussion in a slightly unconventional direction. You might expect a discussion about insurance or emergency funds or even personal directives. But I would like to, instead, discuss Risk Management in the advisor’s career path.
In late March, we started a new intake of Core Curriculum students. Ideally, 24 months or so from now, this entire group of students will have completed either their QAFP™ or CFP® Certifications. However, I know that’s not likely. Students set down this path with the best of intentions and a wide open calendar and pocketbook. Unfortunately, stuff happens along the way. When this group gave their introductions, about 1/3 of them had previously started the program.
Some of the stuff I have seen go wrong includes:
- Serious health problems.
- An illness in the family.
- Acquiring a block of business.
- Staffing issues in the advisor’s business.
- Sitting in the lectures, but never doing the course work.
- Running into a block at exam time.
Some of these are easier to solve than others. The Risk Management steps I believe students can take are described below. I don’t think these just apply to the financial planning curriculum. Advisors are notorious for not finding time to work on their businesses. The steps outlined below will help with any activity you’re pursuing that’s not directly client-facing:
- Know what you’re getting into. Establish your path to certification. Know what steps you’re taking and when. Take control of your student journey.
- Know your Why. Just as with your clients, if you don’t have a clearly established Why, it will be very difficult to maintain motivation.
- Use behavioural nudges. The most obvious nudge available to you is the calendar. Use your calendar and block off 30 minutes (or some amount of time) each day for study and assignments.
- Get your whole team on board. Make sure your spouse and kids know what you’re up to. Without their support, this is a very challenging undertaking. Consider the same for your staff and maybe even your clients.
- Build a team. Find a study partner or a small study group to work with. If this isn’t an education pursuit, but a business-building pursuit, find a mastermind group or a tiger team to work with.
Any goal is achievable, but you have to give yourself a realistic means to achieve it. Taking the steps describe here will increase your chance of success.