Redefining Financial Planning

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If you have LGBT clients, you need to read Liz Gold's article, Wealth Management Firm Meets Needs of LGBT Clients. In this article, Jen Hatch of Christopher Street Financial shares many of the issues faced by members of this group, and she discusses solutions and planning techniques that are specific to the LGBT community. We also have an inspirational story about members of the Ohio Society of CPAs working with young students in their state to teach basic financial planning techniques. With this in mind, I have a reader request.

I've taught an online financial planning course for several years. For the most part, my students fall into three categories: young people just out of school who are trying to manage their finances for the first time; women who are unexpectedly on their own, either because of a divorce or loss of a spouse, and who have never had credit, paid bills, or managed money; and people of all walks in life who are suddenly facing a financial crisis and don't know where to turn. Almost without exception, people come to my class because they’re worried. These aren’t the people who would visit a financial planner or an accounting professional – they're pretty sure they can't afford the services these professionals would offer.

I find that basic education and reassurance that there are solutions to financial problems are the main things that my students need. This group doesn’t represent a minority of our society – my guess is that the majority of people need help with financial planning but don't know where to start. Any outreach you can offer to the members of your community will pay itself back many times over. By helping people get on a path to financial security, you develop future clients. As you make your plans for 2013, please consider community outreach as an option. You have the knowledge and the ability to make a difference in your community.

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I taught a financial planning course at our local community college. I was amazed at how many questions the students had. Not all were the 18,19,20 year olds.
Incidentally, Edelman Financial is just about to introduce fee-based financial planning for those with as little as $5000 in the household. And they do referals for credit counseling for people who don't meet the their threshhold.