If You Went Back in Time to When You First Started Being a Financial Planner, What Advice Would You Give to Yourself?

The FPA Community Weighs in...

Next Generation Planner: November 2021


“Learn the tax return and start getting them from your clients from the start.”

Bradley Kolowski, CFP®


“This is a profession of ‘doing,’ not simply a profession of ‘learning.’ The letters that come after your name—all of the credentials, all of the continuing education—are worthless if you can’t find a way to ask the right questions of your clients and find a way to motivate them to do what is best for them.”

Neel Shah, J.D., CFP®
Shah Total Planning


“The best financial planning questions come from your clients’ personal financial documents and a place of authentic curiosity. Do not ask all of your planning clients the same questions. Finance is personal.

Since nearly every movement of money has a tax consequence, learn how to review tax returns and consider the EA designation coursework.

If you are managing your clients’ investments, do not assume they don’t want to know what you are doing and WHY. Our primary role as financial planners is to help families make their own well-informed decisions, not to simply tell them what to do or take full control. We are the guides, not the heroes.”

Cody Garrett, CFP®
Financial Planner and Educator, Measure Twice Financial


“I would have focused on risk management earlier in my career and been more open to ways to integrate insurance products with investments in client retirement income plans.

I would have also focused more on developing strong discovery skills and active listening versus trying to just give clients advice. Game changer when done well.”

James M. Matthews, CFP®, RICP
Financial Adviser and Director of Wealth Management, Consolidated Planning


  • “Always sell to interested parties.
  • Don’t care more than the client; those relationships are time consuming.
  • Find a niche and own it.
  • Be patient, hard work pays off.”

David F. Light, CFP®, CRPC, ChSNC
Financial Adviser and Certified Financial Planner, Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC


“Habits, structure, and process are the most important goals to succeed at.”

Michael Golosovker, J.D., CFP®, CLTC
Owner, Champion Financial Strategies & Insurance Solutions