If you want to be good at something, you have to work for it. You can’t expect to become an expert in a topic overnight or think that you’ll be able to reach all of your goals without a constant drive for learning, growth, and innovation.
This same idea can be applied to the work that we as advisors do for college-bound kids and their families. How can we expect to serve them in the best possible way without the right knowledge and practical application of that knowledge?
The short answer is: we can’t.
But this is where focused continuing education can benefit both you and your clients.
Let’s take a look at why continuing education will improve your work in college planning.
Are you ready to get started?
Class is officially in session.
Why continuing education?
Beyond the reality that continuing education will make you a better advisor, it is of course required by the CFP board to maintain your certification.
All CFP professionals are required to complete 30 hours each reporting period in order to maintain their status. Credit can be earned by completing course work, attending conferences, publishing articles, or teaching. This requirement gives advisors the resources they need to stay on top of industry trends and push them to provide the best level of service possible for their clients.
Continuing education provides the foundation for advisors to build their existing skills and add new ones for themselves and also their team. But furthering your own personal development is far from the only benefit of continued learning.
By committing to continuing education, you open your professional and personal pathways to grow and expand into a field that you are passionate about. Diving into new skills is also a great way for you to add more value to your client’s experience—a trait that is essential to growing and maintaining a successful financial planning practice.
Offering clients exceptional value can be done in many ways, but one profitable and significant way is through college planning. Our team seeks to help advisors grow profitable businesses in this important, often overlooked niche.
What the CFP training misses
As with any professional endeavor, one course of study won’t be able to teach you everything that you need to know about a profession. With the changing business landscape, staying on top of new ideas, practices, tools, and applications gives you the best chance to adapt to the changing needs of your clients.
The CFP training digs into the nitty-gritty technical aspects of what it means to be a financial planner. This rigorous training delves into many important aspects of the job like tax planning, insurance, estate planning, saving/budgeting/income, risk management, investment planning, retirement planning, and so much more.
But with its technical focus, it doesn’t give advisors the real-life practical application of that knowledge. The CFP training does touch on college/education planning but doesn’t have the time and space to cover this topic as in-depth as possible.
Our courses seek to fill those gaps in knowledge by providing advisors a blueprint for applying the technical information to the real lives of their clients. Our goal is to help make these concepts integral to advisors’ daily lives, equipping them with the skills to translate these difficult concepts to better serve their clients.
Our team recently spoke with a CFP candidate who confirmed this information gap. While the program does cover financial calculations, timelines, value, as well as filing and submitting FAFSA, all of the other specifics of financial aid, student loan planning, and other college funding topics went left unsaid.
How to maximize your continuing education
Not all continuing education experiences are created equal and nearly all of them require a big financial investment, making it crucial to select a program that will give you the most return for your money.
Choosing educational resources (course, conference, classes, certifications, etc.) wisely can minimize cost and maximize your skillset as an advisor, allowing you to provide a deeper impact on the lives of your clients.
It is important to us that you get the most out of the resources you invest in and that is why we have designed a program that will help you get the most you can out of it.
Continuing education in a marketable niche
As you’re determining how to continue your education as an advisor, it’s wise to choose topics or designations that will ultimately help you to grow your practice in a sustainable way. This can help to maximize your investment and to increase the profitability of your practice.
At College Aid Pro™, we recommend continuing your education in one targeted area of financial planning. We’re obviously biased, but college planning is the #1 concern of Gen X parents. If you want to sign more clients, an easy way to attract them is to focus on solving their primary financial problem. The college planning maze is difficult for families to navigate, and parents are terrified of sacrificing all of their hard-earned retirement savings to fund higher education for their kids.
Through the College Aid Pro™ Academy and user license, you gain access to both a software suite that helps to generate leads and perform college planning in a scalable way and the education and support you need to hone your expertise.
CAP offers a certificate once you have completed the CAP Academy Foundations course and passed the exam. For those advisors really looking to level up their education CAP supports the CCFC designation. The AICCFC program covers:
- Education funding
- Financial aid planning
- Planning with education tax deductions and credits
- Student loan advising
- Practical planning strategies for high income and high net worth individuals
- Practical planning strategies for business owners
- Practical planning strategies for divorced/divorcing couples and non-traditional families
- Practical planning strategies for grandparents
CAP can help
Education is an important component of a successful advisor and an even more profitable business. Further industry knowledge is one crucial way for advisors to not only stay on top of market news and best practices, but it also offers a space to grow and strengthen the skills you use each and every day.
But this isn’t something that you should have to do alone. Our bi-weekly roundtables and community of advisors at CAP are able to provide camaraderie, support, mentorship, and more to create a cohort of advisors passionate about making college planning a priority for their businesses.
Ready to see how CAP can help transform your business? Sign up for our demo today. We can’t wait to welcome you to our community.