I was shocked recently to discover that I had been demoted on the Kinder Institute (KI) website of listed life planners. Not only am I no longer listed as a Master Life Planner. I have been listed as though I am inactive.
I can assure you I am very much active. I have been life planning hundreds of people for over a decade. I life plan seven days a week, often as much as eight hours a day.
KI tell me that there has always been a rule (?) where if I did not continue attending KI Mastery classes (£375 for 8 hours) once every two years, that I will lose the designation RLP after my name. I cannot for the life of me remember such a rule.
Life planning is not like financial planning where the rules keep changing. On the contrary, I have discovered that the rules have long been written. In Japan, the practice can be traced back some 12,000 years. I am puzzled by this.
The listing is where you find a life planner. I was wondering if it might be a good idea to run an independent register. Lest we forget. I would appreciate your thoughts.
Here is the chain of correspondence:
On Mar 26, 2021, at 4:20 AM, Steve Conley <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I hope you are keeping well. I was wondering if you were aware of what has happened with your registration listings.
One of my members told me that I was no longer an active registered life planner on your website. I appreciate we all need to refresh our stance on listings and websites from time to time. And nothing is fixed in the long run. But this was disappointing news for me, as I actively promote your service to my members. And I assure you I am very much an active life planner. And have been since first registered.
Your RLP training programme was a significant investment for me at the time I became registered (and still is for new members). Being listed on your website was one of the attractions of joining your programme. I do not recall any mention of a requirement to keep investing in ongoing training with the Institute in order to stay registered or listed with you when I first made the decision to become a registered life planner. Or that I would be listed as if I was dormant if I did not regularly attend Mastery. I have even been downgraded from a Master Life Planner. As if the Mastery training I invested in for those early years counted for nought. I can confirm that I have remained very active these past 10 years, as I mentioned in our last communication. And, I have remained very loyal to you and life planning movement generally. I continue to talk highly of your programme to my members, and in the press now I am a columnist for Money Marketing, members and readers who are even now registering on your training programme on the back of my recommendation this year.
I am a supporter of the Institute. I remind you that I am not competing with you. I coach life planners one-to-one, when they are not intermediaries, to help them establish and develop a successful non-intermediating financial planning firm (using my proposition development skills learnt at HSBC). I provide ongoing one-to-one support. I use my own methods. I leave training groups to the likes of you and the other life planner trainers. I am often asked to recommend training programmes and have had no hesitation in highly recommending your training programme to advance the skills of my membership.
I just find your stance on listing misleading. It suggests to those people seeking life planners that unless you are recorded as “active”, you must be dormant. Perhaps, you can find another term for those who can continue attending Mastery training courses with you on an ongoing basis. Otherwise the RLP loses its value, for me and other RLPs.
Or maybe perhaps you can warn new applicants in bold writing that when they invest to become a Registered Life Planner, it is not a one off cost. That they will only be recorded as “active” if they continue to invest in your programme every year thereafter for a lifetime.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my feedback.
On 26/03/2021 19:37 Lora Woodward <email@example.com> wrote:
Many thanks for your email, and I’m so sorry that you did not hear directly from the Kinder Institute team about the changes to our continuing education program and Life Planner Search. I certainly understand your disappointment given the circumstances.
To bring you up to speed on the changes we’ve made:
- We found that the title of “Master of Life Planning” was causing some confusion around there being a separate designation that could be earned. There has always been just one designation and that is Registered Life Planner®. The Life Planning Mastery sessions are part of the continuing education program set up to maintain the RLP® designation.
- While it sounds like you were not aware of it, we have always had a continuing education program for the Registered Life Planner® designation. However, we have not always been very precise in checking for CE points because in many countries we first had to make sure we really offered enough opportunities to acquire the necessary CE-points to meet the requirements. We feel that that is the case right now given our ability to use Zoom to host global training modules.
- We announced this fall that at the beginning of 2021, those with the Registered Life Planner® designation were expected to keep their skills sharp by attending at least eight hours of continuing education every two years, and it could be achieved by any of the following means:
- Life Planning Mastery (8 hours) offered multiple times annually in alternating time zones
- Life Planning Mastery Shorts (2 hours) offered online monthly
- Inner Listening for Life Planners (up to 2 hours)*
- The Seven Stages of Money Maturity® Training (16 hours)**
- EVOKE® Life Planning Training (36-40 hours)***
- We offered a grace period to meet these requirements.
- If you became an RLP® prior to 2018 and a have attended eight hours of Life Planning Mastery between 2018-2020, then your status would be adjusted to Active Registered Life Planner® at the start of 2021, and those that do not meet that expectation, will be listed as Registered Life Planner®. [Steve, according to our records you last attended an LPM in March 2017.]
- If you earned the RLP® designation between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2020, then you will be listed as Active Registered Life Planner® at the start of 2021.
- If you fall outside of the requirement window for being considered “active”, we will update your listing to active if you commit to earning the 8 hours of CEs within the first two quarters of the year. [Steve, our next LPM is Friday 9th April from 9am to 5pm BST and will satisfy the CE requirement for the next two years and we will mark you as “Active” as soon as you commit.]
- Between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022, we expect everyone with the Registered Life Planner® designation to stay current on their skills by attending at least eight hours of CEUs within a two-year period.
*Attend a meditation retreat or series of meditation classes with George Kinder and we’ll count 20% of the time (not more than a total of 2 hours) toward the RLP® continuing education requirement. For example, if you attended a two-day meditation retreat with George Kinder that totaled 12 hours, then 2 of those hours would count as CE.
**Repeat the Seven Stages of Money Maturity Workshop® for 50% off the standard price, space permitting.
***Repeat the EVOKE® Life Planning Training for 25% off the standard price, space permitting.
We began communicating the updated CE requirements in our November e-newsletter and continued to include messaging in subsequent monthly e-newsletters and e-blasts to RLPs about our CE programs. We also held two Zoom Community Calls in December with RLPs so we could share the updates and address any concerns. Because we know that not all RLPs read the monthly and promotional communications nor could attend the Zoom meetings, Maryellen Grady sent two direct communications to you and all RLPs, “Announcements for the RLP(R) Community”, that offered a comprehensive update on the changes that were happening at Kinder Institute [emails are included at the bottom of this thread]. I say all this to show that we tried to reach you and others, but it seems that our approach still had some gaps.
We know that you are active in your use of the Life Planning skills you’ve been taught. The continuing education requirement is intended to ensure those who are active are using the most up-to-date practices as we continue to refine the EVOKE® method. We do let advisers new to our program know of the continuing education requirements when they learn about the Registered Life Planner® designation.
We value you as a leader in the Life Planning community and the broader financial services industry. You are a huge advocate of life planning, and we want to do right by you. What do you suggest? We would love to have you attend the upcoming LPM on Friday 9th April. Can you make it?
I hope this email helps clarify the thinking of George and the Kinder Institute team, and we look forward to continuing to have you as an advocate of our programme.
Please be in touch with your additional good thinking on how we can ensure that those who have supported us the longest are not missed in our efforts to provide the strongest programme possible.
Today I wrote
Firstly, let me say that I, and every RLP I have spoken to on this matter, have the utmost respect, admiration, and deep affection for George, and for everything he has done. We are immensely grateful for his work. And we all are deeply indebted to this remarkable man for what he has shared with us. He is undoubtedly the acknowledged father of the life planning movement. Thank you George from all of us.
Lora. Thank you for explaining the changes.
I have to say I am deeply saddened by the news. Not just for myself. But also for all those loyal RLPs who invested heavily in your programme and earned the converted badge, Registered Life Planner (c), over many years of practice and to be proudly listed on planner search results at KI. A place where the public might surely go first to find active life planners.
You see, this is not how “continuing education” works.
I can only give myself as an example. I will let other RLPs speak for themselves, although I will say that those few who I have spoken to about this are also deeply saddened by the news. You have some famous practicing life planners, and staunch advocates of KI, on the list of “inactive” RLPs, that may be equally insulted and also seem soon to lose their RLP status as well, should they fail to comply with your expectations. How very demoralising.
George, you wrote to me last year to check that my activities were not devaluing the status of the RLP badge. I assured you they weren’t. On the contrary, I elevate your proposition to my membership and readers. I have to say, you could not have devalued the status of a badge, one so courageously and relentlessly earned, any more than this.
Lora. You talk of rules that have always been. I apologise. I have been a member of KI for a decade, and I cannot recollect such rules. For example, if I am not mistaken I was actually listed on Planner Search Results as Master of Life Planning. I had expected that I had earned a badge for life, the RLP badge. Had I not thought this to be the case I might have hesitated for one moment at purchase. I thought I was buying, not renting.
I assure you my life planning skills are sharp and current. I have been an active life planner these past 10 years. I have researched the origins of life planning in many faiths, cultures, and traditions and traced back life planning practices many thousands of years. For example, in Shinto philosophy the practices I use now date back some 12,000 years. I have published my findings, and am therefore an authority on the matter. I life plan eight hours a day, every day, and include weekends. An RLP said to me when they heard the news of my inactivity, that I am probably the most active life planner you have on your list. Also, I could teach RLPs a thing or two about life planning from my extensive investigations and studies. I could probably teach more than be taught. If there was a PhD awarded for life planning, I would probably have earnt it. To suggest I am not sharp or staying current in my skills is rather insulting.
I would certainly not recommend the practice of giving with one hand as you take away with another, as this undermines your value of your proposition and ultimately the integrity of your brand. In the interest of finding a position that we can all agree on, not that you need agreement of membership. Here is a suggestion that might improve the integrity of your continuing education assessment process. Award CE-points for activities other than paid for KI training courses.
To do anything other than this suggests that you think you have a monopoly on life planning. That KI is the only authority on the matter.
Here is a definition of continuing professional development from the CII What is CPD? | Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Here too is an explanation of what constitutes Suitable CPD activities | Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Nowhere does it suggest that activities not provided by the CII are excluded.
Just a suggestion. In the meantime I will do my best to support the KI programme, but my heart is with those RLPs who fall short of meeting your expectations and requirements.