Right before Thanksgiving, more than 200 professionals gathered in Miami, Florida for the annual conference sponsored by the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners. ACP is a national, not-for-profit, membership organization and a pioneering community of fee-only financial planners who are committed to providing service to clients in a true, fiduciary model.
Was it a rip-roaring fun time filled with soaring, thought-provoking speeches and deep conversation about transformation and inspired risk-taking?
You bet. And here's why.
As I’ve done for the past 15 years, I registered and planned my trip as soon as the event website was posted. This is a must-attend event for me and my Blue Blaze team, not only because it’s one of the best opportunities to stay current with new financial planning tools, best-practices in our field and to meet and connect with like-minded professionals, but also because this organization is at the forefront of a movement that is poised to transform our industry -- financial life guidance (FLG for short!).
If you haven’t heard of financial life guidance, I’m not surprised. Traditional financial services firms, the ones who charge clients to recommend specific products and are commission-based advisors, are heavily invested in tamping down the conversation since the focus of financial life guidance is squarely on our clients and their best interests.
Thankfully, because of organizations like ACP and our allies, we’re all going to be talking more, learning more and knowing more about the principals and promise of FLG. For financial services professionals who are deeply committed to the values inherent in our fee-only, fiduciary model of service, financial life guidance is our opportunity to work with clients to help them achieve their own, optimal life.
How do we do this? By leveraging the best of what we know as financial experts in a holistic planning model that includes teaching, advising, coaching and facilitating components -- all connected through proven, successful principles of behavioral psychology.
And why do we do this? Because we are convinced this is the best, most ethically sound and responsible way to work with people and help them live their best lives -- lives filled with cherished moments, bursting with opportunities, and fortified against the worst consequences of inevitable complications or the unforeseen circumstances that visit us all.
So, that’s why I bought tickets and rented hotel rooms for my entire team to attend the ACP conference this year -- because this is one of the few places where we are all speaking the same language...rowing in the same direction.
Not only was it my privilege to participate as a speaker on how financial professionals are leveraging tech to deliver more and better value to our clients, I got to watch my son and business partner (and president-elect of ACP…#humblebrag) moderate the panel where George Kinder, founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning and rightly acknowledged as the father of the financial life guidance movement, shared about life planning, mindfulness and his new book, A Golden Civilization.
Our other team members, John Munley, who earned his CFP this year, and Kevin Talty, CFP, EA, were equally engaged and enthusiastic. All week long, we were delighted to hear positive feedback from fellow professionals about Blue Blaze’s work to help build this new, integrated financial life guidance model -- viable for small to medium sized practitioners, and able to deliver services and value that exceeds what’s currently available from traditional firms.
We listened to huge talents like Rob Jolles -- a lion in the sales industry and world-renowned business strategist -- speak about why listening is so important, and why tools like appreciative inquiry are essential in the FLG toolbox. Rob also confirmed something many of us felt, but often have a hard time putting into words, that financial life guidance is right and right now, not for everyone, but for those of us who know that we want more from life -- those of us who know that even though we are generally satisfied, there’s something else, something more we need. Thanks, Rob!
We heard from thought leaders like Marie Swift, President & CEO of Impact Communications, who delivered powerful insight about how professionals in the financial services industry can best communicate with each other and the wider community -- including potential clients -- about their values and the impact of their work.
Every session we attended was another acknowledgement that the time is NOW for financial life guidance.
2018 has been an incredible year for us all, both personally and professionally. We expect 2019 to be even more exciting. If you, like us, are excited about the promise we see in the future and are willing to invest the time in yourself to grab onto that promise and feel it -- live it -- walk the path with us...and follow the Blue Blaze.
Ready for your optimal life? We're ready to blaze the trail with you.