Founding Chief Exec of Academy of Life Planning. The world's first non-intermediating financial planning network. The Game Plan Coach. Mentor. Speaker. Trainer. Author of Your Money or Your Life: Unmask the highway robbers - enjoy wealth in every area of your life. Award-winning financial services professional since 1982. Financial educator. Investor advocate. Offering global fee-only remote financial planning, without financial intermediation. Twice winner of Best Financial Adviser Support Network 2020 & 2021 & Award for Outstanding Contribution to Finance 2020 & 2021.
Here’s a shocking statistic: Over 30 million people, ten per cent of the workforce, have quit their jobs so far this year in the US. It’s called “The Great Resignation”.
They are starting new businesses, joining the trillion dollars’ gig economy’ or following their passion and purpose in other ways. Millions more join the entrepreneur movement to build SMEs to re-imagine their favourite future.
Yet, the financial planners stand by and watch. They switch on their standalone financial planning software tools and produce cash flow forecasts to flog retail investments. Solutions that ignore what’s going on. That fails to address the short-term cash valley caused by the Great Resignation. According to UK ONS, the object of their attention (financial assets) forms less than 10% of total wealth when including SME business assets.
ONS/ WAS define assets as items of value that can be converted into cash or consumed in some way, now or in the future. They include financial assets, real estate, private pensions, business assets, and physical assets.
Financial Planners focus on selling regulated investment products to their clients whilst building recurring revenues by tapping AUM to generate business asset exit valuations to fund their dreams. Their plans are business asset building, whilst their clients tie in to get rich slowly schemes.
In the US, holding out as a financial planner only triggers Registered Investment Adviser if they are also a broker. Why peddle products? Why financially plan the regulated asset when you can financially plan total wealth? The whole financial ecosystem.
Turn the cash flow planning tools around to the problem 30 million people face—the cash flow valley created by the Great Resignation. As aspiring entrepreneurs reset, research, reskill, and rebuild their next wealth mountain. Answer the big question: “Have I got enough?”
Why bother continuing to create an expectation that the consumer will receive “advice services” requiring RIA and fiduciary duty. When consumers are more than willing to pay for fixed fees, you can cash flow model to answer the question, “Will me and my family be financially secure through this?”
Tell them what their financial future will look like when they improve their work-life balance.
Tell them to follow their passion and take on work that doesn’t feel like work, so they never wish to retire.
Create multiple nocturnal income streams and business assets for their financial future.
Yet, the closest we see in the US to proper financial planning is “advice-only” services that help consumers select the right purchase to implement. They still focus on the ‘solely incidental’ 10% of total wealth that is long-term. See the excellent example of Cody Garrett, the founder of Measure Twice Financial, an independent RIA based in Houston, Texas. Advisers, you can do better.
Why bother recommending others about the advisability of investing in, purchasing or selling securities when buying products is not the answer during this Great Resignation cash flow valley and only makes presenting problems (cash flow shortfalls) worse?
Turn the AI on the issue at hand, the 100% of total wealth pitted by the short-term cash flow valley created during the reset.
Use financial planning without being regulated as advisers at all, without violating Disclosure Obligations.
Why can’t financial planners offer comprehensive financial plans for a fixed fee? Be hired by the consumer to plan financially.
Financial planning is not financial advice.
If you are capable, well-trained, utterly unbiased, trying to render purely professional service for a fee. Be a fellow with competence and conscience, unlike the dealer financial planning for free in anticipation of commission.
Consider financial planning as a service unto itself.
Offer financial planning services to your clients and help them build back better.
Become non-intermediating financial planners.
The Academy of Life Planning is the world’s first network of non-intermediating financial planners. We are an award-winning SME that helps build financial SMEs to help develop even more SMEs through cash flow planning. Our proprietary modelling tool is HapNav – The Happiness Navigator.
Twice winner of the Best Financial Advice Support Network and twice winner of an Award in Recognition for Outstanding Contribution to the Finance Industry 2020 & 2021, by SME News.
In future, automation, globalisation, living wage constantly throws mid-skilled workers on the scrap heap. Whole industries will obsolesce. People will need to reinvent themselves repeatedly, often involving an intense period of exploration, experimenting, innovating, prototyping, and re-skilling. People must frequently fund these valleys of transformation from savings as they explore exciting possibilities to reinvent themselves through learning cycles.
As financial planners focus on the 5% of the population who are wealthy baby boomers with FPv3.0 for the foreseeable future, what happens to your financial planning business pre-2040, with £6.1 trillion intergenerational wealth transfer to Gen X, Y, & Z.
FPv3.0 goes like this. Accumulate wealth in a job for life for the best part of 40 years on the bet your savings will decumulate to buy you happiness in the last 20 years.
Why does your model need an upgrade?
If ever you want to engage the other 95%, that’s not how life goes.
Half of the people born today will be still alive at age 100.
The savings rate for 40 years to fund 50% final salary for 40 years is 50% of pay, give or take, considering inflation and charges offsetting returns. The unrealistic savings rate will mean that people need to remain economically active for 60 years, or more.
People may run portfolios of work: part-time work, gigs, and own businesses. The cash flow forecast will look less like a single mountain peaking at retirement and more like a whole range of mountains across an entire lifetime.
Due to scientific and technological change acceleration, periods of knowledge significance and work security are shortening. Transitions are more frequent. Not just in work life, but also in our personal life. New relationships. New locations. We need to upskill to stay relevant. We need a continuing life plan.
We need to build savings quickly. The future FPv5.0 may require delivering 2% alpha per month over 40 months rather than 2% alpha per year over 40 years.
Financial products v3.0 are less relevant.
Take pensions. A savings product that delivers 2% alpha per year over 40 years is outmoded. Illiquidity before age 55 is useless — steep drawdowns after 55 tax-inefficient. Annual allowance limitations prevent pots from being replenished as you attempt to climb the following cash flow mountain for the next transformational event in a few years. Lifetime limits are too low to fund a 100-year life. Many will still be working at the age 75 transition, when they take the tax hit.
We need a complete break from the past with different products for a different life journey.
Features of FP v5.0:
More planning than products.
“What if scenario” for our possible selves – cash modelling.
Building savings pots for the multiple valleys.
Multiple business plans, and foresight about market developments, needed to create assets from meaningful projects throughout a lifetime.
Products need to be flexible for repeat accumulation/ decumulation, forever accessible, allowing for contribution breaks.
We need life plans for the intangible assets: health & vitality, knowledge & skills, connections & diverse networks, reputation & brand.
We need a sense of identity – a life narrative that has coherence, continuity, and causality. We need a path that provides a sense of purpose and integrity for our life. Future stages are more likely to succeed if they are less threatening to our identity. A strong sense of who you are and what you value — continuity in the narrative about past, present, and future.
“The traditional life required only the lightest planning touch and little in the way of reflection since it had certainty and predictability baked into it.” – The 100-year life: Living and working in an age of longevity, by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott.
If you want to help people make the right choices, upgrade to FPv5.0 with the Game Plan.
Game plan accreditation is achieved through the Academy of Life Planning mentorship, providing on-the-job coaching and training to preserve competitive advantage.
In association with HapNav, the Happiness navigator.
Were you once a financial planner? Do you enjoy working with people, but not the regulation? Do you feel you have a few more years left in you? Could you do with the extra money?
If yes, setting up as a Non-Intermediating Financial Planner could be for you.
When you remove products from the equation, the whole client-planner dynamic changes. Many people think that what you do before selling a financial product is financial planning. That’s compliance. And people expect that for free. What your client will pay for is very different.
Here are the top ten must-haves for your value-adding NIFP service.
1: Know Your Client
Sounds straightforward and familiar. But we are not talking fact finds here. Here’s the thing. How can you know the client who doesn’t know themselves?
You can begin the planning process with self-discovery questions. We identify values and gifts. From which we determine life purpose. The true goal is to use skills in the service of others according to our values.
Self-knowledge makes a life worth living. The challenge for everyone is to know our true selves and live in balance accordingly. I call it checking we are facing the right direction before we begin.
2: Set Inspiring Goals
People aren’t inherently lazy; they fail to set inspiring goals.
If people don’t set their own goals, others will set goals for them. And what’s in it for them. Not much! Allow the client to set their own goals and make sure they are inspiring. Inspiring comes from in spirit.
The greatest regret is to live the life others expect of you and not have the courage to live a life true to yourself.
3: Think Whole-Person
Balance is key. Imbalance causes suffering.
Often people set off to achieve success in one area at the expense of failure in another. For example, many choose to pursue wealth at the expense of health and happiness.
The whole-person paradigm understands that we are multi-faceted beings. We are mind, body, heart, and spirit. Failure in one aspect is a failure in all.
Balance helps you live long and prosper.
4: Plan Your Client
Most planners know about life coaching and life planning – aiming to plan the client before planning the money. Money is a means to an end and not an end in itself. The point is the life you want to live. Plan your client.
It would help if you were a coach and a planner. A coach is someone whose job is to teach people to improve in life. A planner is someone who makes plans. If you want to improve things, you need a coach; if you’re going to achieve goals, you need a plan. Goals without plans are just dreams.
The crucial point is, the client is at place A; they want to get to a different place B, and need a plan to get from A to B.
If your client doesn’t want change, walk away.
5: Plan Your Project
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Let the plan do the work. Use project planning and management skills from business to up the ante and meet the bar. Don’t lower the bar to satisfy the ante.
6: Remove Asset Bias
The conversation stops being just about financial assets and starts to be about all holdings. We become asset-neutral and asset-friendly – removing all asset bias. We talk about property, businesses, occupational pensions, physical assets, non-regulated financial assets, do-it-yourself financial assets, intellectual property, and more.
It would help if you learned about these assets and how to plan them.
7: Forecast Wealth
Wealth will outlive people, or people will outlive wealth. It would help if you had a lifetime wealth forecast to know which one.
Unfortunately, the popular forecasting tools are for one-to-one meetings with a planner.
It would be best to have a user-centred planning tool for groups or as part of a Netflix-style subscription. That’s why we launched HapNav. The happiness navigator.
We put the tools in the hands of people.
8: Create Wealth
Nine in ten people have insufficient wealth for future financial security or freedom. The planning community underserves this group. What this market need is more wealth. Business plans create wealth, not products.
The plan might include a business plan that gives the best revenue growth for the least risk of failure. What the client needs is a solid proposition development framework.
Today, financial assets are commodities. Hand-holding is non-intermediating financial planning.
Technology can do intermediation for free in seconds. Do wealth with clients, not for them.
Execution is where those coaching skills come in.
These skills are all covered in the Game Plan of the Academy of Life Planning.
Our mission at the Academy of Life Planning is to make you happier, healthier, and better equipped to face the future – whatever it holds. So, I’m excited to announce that The Happiness Navigator (or HapNav, as we call it) is live.
HapNav is a financial planning tool for DIY investors. It’s an intuitive, touch-friendly experience that simulates your family’s financial future to help you navigate life on your terms. In other words, it empowers you to plan your finances and realise your full potential.
How simulation can help you navigate the future
Life is easier to navigate if you have a realistic view of what your future might hold. That means simulating realistic chances of real-world life events. HapNav’s simulation is based on what you tell us about yourself and your family, and other data from trusted sources. We use these inputs to model hundreds of different alternative futures for you.
Simulation is only part of the process. To help you plan for the future, we take the results of the simulation and use them to answer three questions for you:
Will we be able to do the things we care about in our future?
If not, why not?
And – perhaps most important of all – what can we do to fix it?
You no longer need to rely on complicated planning tools provided by banks and asset managers that are simply trying to sell you their products. You own the tool. You own the data. And you’re able to set your own goals based on your own unique circumstances.
Fueling a movement
HapNav complements Non-Intermediating Financial Planning (NIFP), an incredible movement that’s growing rapidly. Unlike traditional financial planning – which involves huge value leakage via multiple layers of intermediation and fees – NIFP enables people to plan for the future without paying through the nose for it.
This idea is so powerful, we’re building a business around it. Academy of Life Planning (AoLP) is the world’s first global digital support network for non-intermediating financial planners. We’re pioneering the NIFP movement with a disruptive business model that places information at the fingertips of the public. In an asset-biased market where information asymmetry can prioritise the distributor or provider, we’ve decided to put the end user first.
Plugging the advice gap
AoLP is asset-neutral and we don’t seek to manage financial assets for fees. We sell plans, not products. And we place the tools of financial intermediaries directly in the hands of the end user, enabling you to navigate Direct to Consumer platforms and alternative asset management strategies.
Launching HapNav is a crucial part of our vision to change the way financial planning is done. The product is designed for data to be inputted and owned by users rather than intermediaries. And economies of scale achieved by delivering financial planning to groups brings down the cost, making financial planning accessible and affordable for all.
Users can complement the planning tool by attending workshops and subscription models run by Academy members with any number of clients simultaneously, or they can opt to keep data private. By supercharging our disruptive business model with technology, we can plug the global advice gap and help a neglected segment of the population plan for a happier life.
To bring HapNav to market we’ve partnered with Envizage, a London-based fintech that’s reinventing the way people plan for the future. Envizage serves clients worldwide, helping them to engage their end customers so they can achieve better life outcomes.
Last week saw the publication of the FCA Consultation Paper CP21/13 “A New Consumer Duty”, calling time on unfair adviser charges. CP21/13: A new Consumer Duty | FCA. If you are a financial adviser, how might this impact you and what steps do you need to take next to deal with the challenges ahead?
The good news for regulated advisers is that it is only a consultation, and implementation of rule changes is a year away, July 2022. The bad news is this could be the last year you can take overly high recurring revenues for your practice, which could detrimentally impact the immediate valuation of your business depending on the fair value assessments.
The main impact are new “FEE FOR SERVICE” provisions. Fees must represent “fair value”. The benefits consumers receive must be reasonable relative to the price they pay.
The consultation proposes wide reaching reforms, with the introduction of a new Consumer Duty as a Consumer Principle, Cross-cutting rules, and Four Outcomes for Communications: Products & Services, Customer Service, and importantly Price & Value. There is also the suggestion of a private right of action (PROA) for breaches, potentially leading to another suite of CMC claims sweeping the market.
It suggests that some firms may be exploiting consumers’ weaker bargaining positions, asymmetries of information, lack of understanding, or behavioural biases (such as 4.83 Optimism Bias: unrealistic expectations about a reasonable level of investment performance).
Firms must not disguise risks through misleading framing, omission, or burying key terms in documents they know customers won’t read. Vertically integrated firms are included in the rules. Parties in the chain receiving remuneration which appears to significantly exceed the cost incurred in distributing the product are all held accountable, regardless of whether they are customer facing.
On Pricing and Value, key takeaways:
Must represent fair value
Must be a clear and consistent approach
Benefits must be reasonable relative to price (4.77)
Given throughout the lifetime of the product/ service relationship
Considering the extent of cost and charges the consumer may pay over the full term
Considering the overall value chain (platform + funds + advice) and the higher overall fee
Considering outcomes for different groups (4.96)
Servicing fees charged as a percentage of the value of the product are NOT automatically assumed to be fair value (4.97)
Senior managers to be held accountable (4.100)
Firms are expected to amend prices accordingly (4.102)
It is not applied retrospectively or judged with the benefit of hindsight. Private rights of action may apply. Terms to come into effect July 2022.
You have work to do if you or your firm are charging one customer significantly more than another for the same level of service, as can often happen on a percentage of assets fee. Your ongoing service must also be fit for purpose in delivering the benefits that consumers reasonably expect (this could be the end of fee-for-no-service), and you should not be using optimism bias to justify prices (those annual investment performance meetings you’ve been having).
Deadline for response to consultation is 31st July 2021.
The regulator is letting the firms and senior manages off the hook somewhat by giving notice that rule changes are to take effect from July 2022, with no backdating. That is not what happened in other markets.
I can see the naming of advisory services also being impacted by rule changes, with advisers having to better label their services consistent with the service they actually deliver. For example, where a consumer reasonably expects financial planning, and they receive instead advice on a particular investment. The preferred label might be “Financial Planner AND Independent Financial Adviser”, rather than simply “Financial Planner”. I am not sure a regulated adviser will be able to call themselves something outside of the FCA’s perimeter without it possibly being considered misleading.
If you want to become a non-intermediating financial planner contact us today to find out how the Academy of Life Planning can help you.
Here are the kind of text messages you might expect when you tackle a scammer. Tackle them anyway.
“Fraud is now costing the UK economy as much as the entire NHS. The annual figure for fraud given by the National Crime Agency is over £190Bn based on figures from three years ago. This is almost certainly an underestimate. The NHS in the same year cost £197Bn a year.”
This quote is an extract from a recent event run by the Transparency Task Force (TTF), featuring Anthony Stansfeld, Police Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley Police.
I am writing this blog as a post I can link to on Google. I do this to defend my name; when scammers attack me or my businesses publicly, and make false disparaging comments on social media in retaliation for the significant work I do combating financial crime.
“Little is done to combat major fraud. Less than 0.03% of the amount lost is spent on countering fraud. The Serious Fraud Office receives around £50m a year. Action Fraud, which has been shown to be largely unfit for purpose, receives £16m. Police Forces have neither the time, capacity, nor capability to take on fraud. When fraud cases are brought to their attention, they are either sent to Action Fraud, where mostly they seem to disappear into an administrative hole never to be heard of again; or are classed as a civil matter. The few that are distributed back down to police forces are rarely investigated. Less than 2% of fraud is investigated properly, and only a fraction of that brought to justice.”
“Despite the scale of the problem, there has been little effort or no enthusiasm by the many regulatory authorities, notably the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulatory Committee, the Serious Fraud Office, and the Financial Conduct Agency, to either stop these frauds or bring the perpetrators to justice.”
“There are mountains of evidence showing that fraudsters have ruined thousands of companies, farmers, and families, and the lives of thousands of individuals. A great number of jobs have been destroyed. Companies, homes, farms, and possessions have been repossessed on forged documentation across the country. The damage to the UK economy has been massive.”
“The UK needs a profitable financial services sector that is well-governed and free from widespread scams and fraud. We are a long way away from that.”
With public deterrents failing drastically, we might choose to tackle matters as individuals. To each do our bit. Tackling fraudsters and scammers privately is not without risks. They strike back. For example, they send threatening messages and attempt to discredit you on social media.
When a scammer disparages someone on social media the law does not currently require the host platform to remove it. The platforms claim to have reporting procedures for removing offensive or defamatory content, but these procedures are ineffective, and hosts are terribly unhelpful. Often, the platforms simply refuse to remove offensive content. I am advised that the legal costs to remove defamatory content placed by a fraudster or scammer in a private action through the courts is over £20,000.
Thankfully, this year we see the on-line harms bill which will strengthen public power to mitigate the risks posed by harmful activity and content online to hold internet hosts more accountable for the part they play.
Hopefully Google will listen to me one day and delete the scammer’s messages on my profile.
This exchange of emails between AoLP and KI was made at the request of KI.
I hope you do not mind me addressing you directly; given our close work history.
I offer an apology for failing to read the small print on KI training as an olive branch. I simply wanted our disagreement on this matter to end.
As a fellow Transparency Taskforce Ambassador, I had hoped you might understand and welcome my feedback on the CE-Points system. I dislike rent seeking systems, and campaign to remove them. Such as, fee-for-no-service or asset raking.
The small print on KI training T&Cs I would bring to your attention is as follows: 1) Intellectual property limitations mean RLPs cannot use what is taught without your consent. 2) Your CE-Points system appears to me to be rent seeking, and I thought you should be made aware.
You may recall you wrote to me last year on the IP matter. You wrote: “There’s a rumor that you are downplaying our EVOKE® method to your clients at The Academy of Life Planning. Could that possibly be true? Also, we just want to make sure there is real clarity in your participants’ minds that they are not getting trained in EVOKE® or our Three Questions through your program. Otherwise, we are concerned that our Registered Life Planners® will be very unhappy.”
I assured you then that I was not downplaying, or training on, your copyrighted methods. These past five years, I have had no need of Life Planning Mastery day-long courses as I cannot use what you teach without your consent, and therefore can no longer find what you teach useful.
Why would I pay to attend a programme that was not useful? Clearly I would not. Which is why I am unable to accept your invitation to your next Life Planning Mastery.
Instead, I have had to produce my own copyright free system which I can share openly with my membership. The Game Plan is free to use, modify, and share with any audience. We can use it with groups and for clients on a subscription basis. We can use it freely with consumers and planners.
The Game Plan differs considerably from your EVOKE® method. Not only to avoid copyright infringements, but also because I discovered a way of planning that avoids rent seeking. It is devised for non-intermediating financial planners. The aim is to create wealth, as opposed to gather it for rent. Wealth in every area of life, not simply investment accounts.
I coach planners on a one-to-one basis on my methods, and tailor a unique value proposition for each member. The Game Plan accreditation is for life. There is no continuing education requirement to retain accreditation or be described as “active”. Whilst planners can remain members of the support network, accreditation is not conditional that they remain so. Life planning for me is like love, an ever-fixed mark, a lighthouse which looks on tempests but is never shaken.
The Game Plan is based on a viewpoint that is many-thousands of years old, from long before nobility appropriated people’s traditional rights of access to the commons. Long before nobles even termed intellect … property. Long before the rent seekers sought rent.
I believe when we bring integrity to our value proposition, the need for rent disappears. When a “wall is placed between advice and distribution” I have found those rent seeking methods are neither valued, nor paid for, by clients. The system fails. A clear example of this is the Indian market where the regulator built such a wall.
Rather than depriving investors of rights by co-opting them into contributing to a tragic state of affairs, I instead focus on delivering real freedom in a commoditised market, where value propositions are eroded by regulation and rising consumer awareness relating to rent seekers.
Instead of co-opting planners into compulsory continuous education systems, I help them set up their business and see them on their way. Free to return should they find value in an ongoing service.
I have updated my blog post accordingly as requested. Kind regards, Steve On 31/03/2021 20:24 Lora Woodward <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Many thanks for your email. It seems we have come to a resolution around your concerns. We are aware that you have shared our email exchange in a recent blog post on your website. Given that you have moved this conversation from a private matter to one that it is public, we would appreciate it if you take one of the following steps: a) please post our continued email communications that show a resolution or b) delete the post.
We look forward to seeing you at future Mastery programs when you are able to fit them into your schedule.
Hi Lora, Firstly please accept my apologies for mis-spelling your name.
It is my fault. I thought that the RLP was a lifelong designation. I know now that other members were aware of the continuing education requirement, where I was not. My oversight. I was aware and attended many of the Life Planning Mastery courses in the early years, and was aware of that part of the programme. It helped me to grow my competence and confidence in life planning, and I thank you for it.
It would be a blessing if I was able to retain the RLP status. But can see that if I am unable to attend the Mastery that may not be possible, as I cannot see me being able to attend 8 hours of CEUs in the next two years. Due to how busy I am as a life planner, and also I am not using the EVOKE process. I can see the benefits of attending for social and networking purposes, though that is not currently my priority.
Loving kindness to you all, and apologies if my outburst has caused any additional work or inconvenience.
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. Many thanks for this acknowledgement. George is incredibly proud of the curriculum delivered by Kinder Institute of Life Planning and the advisers we’ve trained globally. Thank you for explaining the changes. You’re welcome. It would have been even better had we had a chance to dialog with you around the adjustments when they were released in the fall.
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. We’re so sorry again that you did not see the announcements we shared earlier on. To be clear, we are not talking about taking away the designation of Registered Life Planner® from anyone who has earned it, although it has always been our principle that to maintain the RLP® designation requires continuing education. The Life Planning Mastery day-long courses have been offered as a form of continuing education since 2009. Those planners that choose to deepen their skills through our continuing education program are listed at the top of our Life Planner Search becaue we can best vouch for their skills. We know they are using our latest methodology.
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. There is no indication on our website that someone is an inactive or lesser life planner. We simply are listing the individuals we know to be actively practing Kinder Institute of Life Planning’s brand of life planning first. Most of the feedback that we have received on the adjustments has been very positive. Enforcing the continuing education requirement lends credibility to the program and shows that we are committed to excellence in our standards for the designation of Registered Life Planner®.
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. We are sorry to hear that you believe that the designation has been devalued. We couldn’t disagree with you more. For consumers, the press, and advisers, listing the professionals that have earned Registered Life Planner® and who are committed to continuing education first emphasizes the value and integrity of the designation.
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. We have been offering continuing education in the form of Life Planning Mastery day-long trainings since 2009. It is from those programs that the term “Master of Life Planning” was created; it signified that a planner was actively advancing their education in life planning through our continuing education programs. It’s always been a temporary title describing the professionals who earned the RLP® designation and who remained current with their continuing education. The purpose of our Life Planning Mastery and other continuing education options has been to ensure consistent delivery of the life planning skills we teach and the highest caliber of quality among our members. We didn’t feel it would be right to have someone listed in our directory as a “Master of Life Planning” if they didn’t continue to advance their skills through our continuing education program. Additionally, we discovered that there was confusion among our members that the term was viewed as a separate designation. There is one designation and that is Registered Life Planner®. It seemed prudent to the consumers, media, and other professionals that use the search that they should be able to easily distinguish the planners delivering our latest methodology to their clients. To disambiguate the term, we now use “Active Registered Life Planner®” in our Life Planner Search to identify those planners who earned the RLP® designation and are actively continuing their education with us.
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. We do not mean to insult you and there is no suggestion that you or anyone else in our listing is not sharp or inactive in their profession. Far from it. We value you as a Registered Life Planner® and your contributions to the broader field. Our continuing education and the concept of remaining active may not be for every planner that has earned the RLP® designation, though we certainly would want it to be. Our continuing education is based on the methodologies we teach in our training programs. If you and other professionals that have earned the RLP® desination wish to demonstrate your activeness through our Life Planner Search, then it makes the most sense that you would choose to attend our continuing education options.
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. The RLP® designation and listing on the Life Planner Search are part of the brand of Kinder Insitute of Life Planning. We are not an umbrella for everything that falls under the term “life planning”. We are leaders in the life planning methodology that George Kinder developed and that Louis Vollebregt, Ed Jacobson, Mary Zimmerman, and other trainers refined. It only makes sense that we would accept CE-points for programs we deliver. We have also made the CE-points easy and economical to earn over a two-year period. These are not onerous requirements.
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. We do not think that we have a monopoly on life planning. However, we are the only company that delivers the Registered Life Planner® designation, and we are the only authority on the methodology we teach.
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.
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. Kindest regards,
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.
Life-Centered (Centred – if UK) Financial Planning (LCFP). This is a great book for all non-intermediating financial planners. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I could not put it down until I had read it from cover to cover. I would highly recommend it as essential reading for any financial planner looking to be resilient and future ready.
Money-centred financial planning value propositions are unsustainable and eroding in value, due to technology and algorithms being widely available for little or no cost. The cult programming of a product sales mentality is declining. So too has prognosticating and soothsaying. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Reward mechanisms have distorted consumer outcomes, no doubt.
We should all de-commoditise our value propositions. Advisers must human up to survive in this digital age.
Advisers must understand their clients to make suitable recommendations
Advisers should be biographers. Echoes here of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey: Act 1 Where they’ve been, Act 2 where they are at, Act 3 where they are going. Understanding backstory and history, making forward planning meetings, and creating a client’s personal timeline of life transitions.
The greatest skills of an adviser are humility and gratitude.
NIFPs and LCFPs agree. There does not need to be discussion about specific investments or products in a commoditised market. When a NIFP creates a client asset (not under adviser management) through a plan then no funds or products need to be sold. NIFPs go a step further than LCFPs.
NIFPs produce a financial plan to create wealth. The business plan of you. Extremely helpful for those 95% of prospects falling under the net worth threshold. We overcome the “can’t afford the fee” argument with masterclasses and subscriptions.
Wealth management is for the wealthy, with those asset minimums and net worth thresholds (spending, saving, protecting, investing, giving).
Products manage wealth of the wealthy, plans create wealth.
NIFPs do not need to dismiss client assets not under management as irrelevant. The business. The inheritance. We treat an asset as an asset. LCFPs dismiss these assets in the cash flow forecast.
NIFPs would add Wisdom (education/ literacy) and Legacy (inheritance/ succession) either side of the Security and Freedom objectives. As wealth grows. Suffering to Wisdom. Wisdom to Security. Security to Freedom. Freedom to Legacy.
NIFPs would add “service to others” to areas of life to be considered. Everything else under The GAME Plan compass appears under ROL. On the basis that NIFPs are purpose coaches and “our purpose” is to use our gifts in the service of others. We often spend too long in life as the perpetual pupil and forget to be the teacher.
An NIFP would add “making the world a better place” to desired lifestyle. That is, add self-transcendence to self-actualisation (in the words of Abraham Maslow). Otherwise, life-centred seems self-centred.
Where NIFPs differ from LCFPs most is the order of planning. NIFPs consider where the client would “like to be”, with more emphasis, and before they consider “where they are”. Goals are considered before life transitions.
If we start “where they are at”, we may misjudge where they “want to be”. We risk dismissing the goal, as an unrealistic expectation (too big a step in the short term). We say it is not realistic. Or achievable. We risk excluding it from our planning too early in the process. This is what NIFPs call the exhaustive cycle. Outcomes diminish as the client “gets the best life possible from the money they have”, rather than opening the box of boundless possibilities and considering the money the client could have or create. Wealth creation planning. Productive cycle.
Transitions are often obstacles, and we need the inspiring goals to overcome them. For example, caring for an elderly parent (transition) can often be an obstacle to a strong desire to travel (goal). Dare to dream and create the vision. Then produce the project plan whilst we are inspired. While our light/ lamp/ torch is lit. Open the box of possibilities.
In short. The LCFP excludes important wealth creation planning (to bridge the gap) from the value proposition (i.e., a business plan for that dismissed business asset).
The LCFP seems to be fee-only. Rather than asset based. But then there were some references to do this LCFP and, “they will trust you with all their money”. Or “The assets will come”. This is not an objective for a NIFP.
Things to say you do at a cocktail party to avoid embarrassment, I think NIFP works for me more than LCFP. Though I don’t get invited to many parties to put my theory to the test, especially nowadays. Maybe less so after LCFPs read my review. And then there’s living in Spilsby.
Bringing together NIFP and LCFP.
Get the best life possible and leave the world a better place with the money they have and can create.
If you want to become a non-intermediating financial planner contact us today to find out how the Academy of Life Planning can help you. https://lnkd.in/eK-zG6u ☎️ 07850 10 20 70 📧 firstname.lastname@example.org 📲 Direct Message
We want to put people in control of their finances. We have the technology and a start-up pursuing that goal. HapNav, the Happiness Navigator. Can we succeed?
We want to re-make the wealth cyberspace for people. We want to fix some of the problems that have handicapped the financial industry for decades. Too much power and too much personal data, reside with the “product silos” – the big Product Providers and their Distributors. People are fed up with the lack of controls.
“I spent my entire career championing information sharing, openness and personal empowerment online — but I have become increasingly concerned as power in financial services is weighted against the individual and stacked in favour of providers and their distributors.” Steve Conley, Founder CEO HapNav Ltd and the Academy of Life Planning.
We need a push to give individuals greater control over their data.
We need to offer a portal where people can use a single sign-on for any financial service or product and personal data to be stored in “pods,” or personal online data stores, controlled by the user.
That is why this new, updated wealth tech app, HapNav, will enable the kind of person-to-person sharing and collaboration that has helped make the wealth industry so successful over the years, while leaving the user in control.
It is rather like in the NHS. Imagine addressing the long-standing problem of incompatible medical records. What if the NHS could give everyone an “All About Me” form with various doctors and other service providers able to update that record even as it remains in the user’s control? Now imagine that for your finances!
Regulators worldwide have voiced similar complaints. The product silos are facing tougher new rules where they are challenged on locking clients into service through control of data, then tapping into assets and charging fees without delivering services.
Our answer to the problem is technology that gives individuals more power.
“Pods,” personal online data stores, are a key technical ingredient to achieve that goal. The idea is that each person could control his or her own data — cash flows modelled, open banking platforms, product comparison sites, risk metric questionnaire — in an individual data safe, typically a sliver of server space.
Companies could gain access to a person’s data, with permission, through a secure link for a specific task like processing an investment application or delivering a personalised ad. They could link to and use personal information selectively, but not store it.
Our vision of personal data sovereignty stands in sharp contrast to the harvest-and-hoard model of the big product companies and their distributors.
This is about making markets thrive. Personal data in pods can be linked with public and private data to create new applications. Start-ups can play a crucial role in accelerating the adoption of this new technology. Technology has become faster and smarter — and pressure on the big tech companies is mounting.
So why not offer individuals better ways to control their data.
Our goal is to improve wealth and wellbeing for the client. And it is a fundamental change in how we share information in financial services.
This is a fix-it project. Our long view is a thriving decentralized marketplace, fuelled by personal empowerment and collaboration.
This is not a pipe dream. This is already happening!
Check out what Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the grandfather of the world-wide-web has to say in the links below.