• Why Credentials and Education Really Matter

    by David Strege CFP® CFA CKA® Senior Financial Planner | May 25, 2020

    I’m the type of person who craves knowledge and seeks education in just about every area of my life. And I want knowledgeable professionals who present the information in a clear and relatable manner.

    As in the case of financial planning, credentialed financial advisors are a good indicator that clients are likely to receive sound financial education in an understandable manner. Your financial future is worth taking the time to find and work with a credentialed advisor. For 10 questions to ask a financial advisor, read this article

    One of the most important credentials to look for in a financial advisor is CFP®, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner. We encourage each of our professionals at Syverson Strege to pursue the CFP® credential.

    A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification is the standard of excellence in financial planning. CFP® professionals meet rigorous education, training and ethical standards, and are committed to serving their clients’ best interests. According to the CFP® Board website, there are 87,200 CFP® professionals in the nation. According to a Chicago Tribune article, only about 20% of financial advisors have the CFP® designation.

    A smaller number (approximately 3,000) of CFP® professionals are also members of NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. NAPFA is the country’s leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors—highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interests of those they serve. They have developed high standards and each advisor must sign and renew a Fiduciary Oath yearly and subscribe to their Code of Ethics.

    I am honored to be both a CFP® and a NAPFA-registered Financial Advisor. To maintain these credentials, I am required to complete 30 hours of education every two years for CFP® and 30 hours annually for NAPFA. My CFP® renewal is at the end of this year and I am thankful I already have the 30 hours needed. The heavier requirement by NAPFA takes more diligence to fulfill.

    On May 7-8, I attended the NAPFA convention which was held virtually because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The virtual conference concept is not entirely new. After 9/11, there were many conferences that were cancelled because of travel restrictions.

    A few years after that, NAPFA made some of its live conference sessions available virtually. This saved attendees both travel time and expenses. As someone who leans more towards being an introvert, I enjoyed the virtual learning environment. NAPFA has done a very good job of blending these approaches.

    A number of years ago the national Capstone Study Group, of which I am a member, started having one of three annual meetings virtually. Having virtual meetings saved members from travel wear and tear and prepared us for such a time that we are now experiencing. Virtual platforms provide us the opportunity to learn from each other and various presenters.

    To fulfill my education requirements, I always look for top-notch conferences and sessions that include certain speakers whom I respect. One of the speakers at this year’s NAPFA virtual conference was a medical doctor, Dr. Carolyn McClanahan, who also became a CFP® professional. I had the privilege of being in the same national study group with her as well. She does a great job covering the medical components of clients’ financial lives.

    As a physician and financial planner, Dr. Carolyn McClanahan pays attention to the intersections of health and personal finance. In her session at the NAPFA convention, she brought us the latest questions posed to her by advisors, and reviewed issues she sees on the horizon. Since the virus is the news of the day, she covered the latest information about Covid-19, health insurance issues surrounding coronavirus, getting ACA tax credits, changes in delivery of long-term care, and a quick update on health care reform.

    Having the proper credentials and updated knowledge allow us as financial planners to serve clients well. I usually exceed the CFP® Board and NAPFA education requirements, but the extra time spent allows me to absorb knowledge and share it with other professionals at Syverson Strege. This allows each of us to further help our clients have enriching and empowering lives.

    David Strege CFP® CFA CKA® Senior Financial Planner
    David Strege serves clients as a Senior CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner at Syverson Strege in West Des Moines, helping individuals and families lay out an integrated personal financial plan to efficiently get them from where they are to where they want to be. He also serves on the investment committee and is chairman of the board of directors. David earned a B.S.B.A. in Finance with a concentration in personal financial planning from Drake University. He earned his CFP® certification in 1982 and in 2008 served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the U.S.A. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. In 1987 he received the Chartered Financial Analyst® certification to better assist clients with their investment portfolios. He earned the Certified Kingdom Advisor® designation in 2017. David served on the Board of Directors for the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) for nine years and served as Chairman in 2018.

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