August 2021: Voice

Journal of Financial Planning: August 2021


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Remote Connections Can’t Replace Community

2021 is a unique year. We’ve emerged from the worst stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, attempted to achieve a new normal in the aftermath, and have moved optimistically into a bright tomorrow, forever changed as individuals and as part of an effectively rebooted Financial Planning Association (FPA). As I sit and reflect on how last year affected my life, as a business owner, a husband, a father of five, an advocate, and an FPA chapter president, I continue to arrive back at the same thought. Despite all the advances in technology and all the changes that have transpired over the past two years, there is not and never will be a substitute for real, in-person interactions. In a word, what we cannot replace is community.

We can deliver our advice to clients through any number of remote communication methods—email, video, text, phone, and even U.S. mail—but the personal, human connection is what ultimately matters, both to us and to our clients. No amount of Zoom calls can replace a conversation over the kitchen table or office desk. I learned that lesson when I began my career at Edward Jones and retained it when I went independent almost a decade ago, and it applies today more than ever.

In my view, our experience as FPA members is no different. We belong to a community of serious planners committed to being the best versions of themselves as professionals and people, and we have a library of virtual resources as members of FPA to build our knowledge and improve our advice. Ultimately, however, the community grows strongest with its members gathered together under one roof to share a common experience. There simply is no substitute for the live event. We learn, but we also meet people: seasoned advisers graduating out of the business, new advisers looking for ways to be better, partners who can make our practices more vital and more efficient.

Simply put, we get better when we get together.

As a Central Ohio native, I and my fellow FPA local board members are ecstatic to welcome you all to this year’s Annual Conference in Columbus! It will be our first opportunity as an organization in nearly two years to share in this electric FPA experience. We’re excited, and we hope you’ll share in the experience with us. We also hope you’ll extend your visit to absorb all that Columbus has to offer. We truly have anything and everything you could want from a megacity—arts, cuisine, sports, breweries, green space, nightlife—with the Midwestern friendliness and affordability typically reserved for much smaller towns.

We look forward to you joining us as we conscientiously resurrect this most essential part of our FPA member experience: personal, face-to-face community

Securities offered through Securities America, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.  Advisory Services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc.  Silverling Financial and Securities America are separate entities.