NexGen Revisited

Journal of Financial Planning: December 2018



Rachel F. Moran, CFP®, is a shareholder and senior financial planner with RTD Financial. She currently serves as FPA NexGen chair.

Ian Harvey, CFP®, is a financial planner at Financial Asset Management Corp. He serves as the 2018 FPA NexGen president and was named to the 2018 InvestmentNews 40 Under 40 list.

Autumn K. Campbell, CFP®, is a former counselor and teacher who now serves as a financial planner at The Planning Center Inc. She is the 2018 FPA NexGen president-elect.

Dana DeLance is a wealth adviser at Mariner Wealth Advisors. She serves as the 2017–2018 FPA NexGen organizational director and is director of NexGen for FPA of Illinois.

Over the last 15 or so years, the FPA NexGen community has evolved from a conversation at FPA Retreat, to a Yahoo message board, to thriving local communities across the country. We have experienced iterations of change over time and continue to evolve.

In November 2017, NexGen national leadership accepted the responsibility of serving as the home for the next generation of CFP® professionals. This has meant deeply integrating with FPA leadership and staff, creating synergies in programming to scale content delivery, and considering the expansion of our reach to individuals outside our traditional scope of membership. Collectively, we felt this integration could have a profound impact on the future of the profession that transforms lives through the power of financial planning.

In contemplating this new objective, it was necessary to revisit the underpinnings of our community. In July 2018, we held a retreat with select staff and national board representation. Our goals were clear:

  • Review NexGen’s current mission, vision, and strategic directive, considering our definition of membership;
  • Discuss FPA’s vision, values, and strategic directive, considering natural areas of alignment and integration; and
  • Propose to the FPA national board any changes to NexGen’s mission, vision, values, strategic directive, or definition of membership.

Over the two days in July (and the months that followed) we took an introspective look at NexGen. We opened our minds to what could be, and should be, the future of NexGen. We re-envisioned our purpose, our vision, and our membership. We would like to share with you the culmination of our conversations.

As a point of reference, below is the former strategic structure of NexGen:

Former vision: To ensure the transference of wisdom, tradition, and integrity from the pioneers of financial planning to the next generation of planners.

Former mission: NexGen is intended to be a community of the next generation of financial planners.

Former strategic directive: NexGen strives to provide members with a network that serves to:

  • Support, advise, and encourage one another in our professional advancement;
  • Promote, foster, and direct programs that aid in knowledge transference; and
  • Explore issues common to younger planners and seek means of accentuating the positives and finding resolutions for the negatives.

Revisiting Our Strategic Structure

Through our conversations, we found mutual understanding and pride in FPA’s primary aim to elevate the profession that transforms lives through the power of financial planning—it resonates with our community. There is clear intention, looking to the future with both inspiration and aspiration. As such, we consciously chose to align with FPA’s primary aim and adopt it as our vision:

NexGen’s new vision: Elevate the profession that transforms lives through the power of financial planning.

With our newly aligned vision in mind, we spent considerable time developing a strategic directive that captures the scope of NexGen within this vision.

NexGen’s new strategic directive: To educate, promote, and integrate the next generation of CFP® professionals.

NexGen enacts this directive through the following service lines:

Community: Foster inclusive communities dedicated to the development of the next generation of CFP® professionals.

Education: Provide high-quality content about the practice, business, and profession of financial planning.

Career success: Promote the growth and quality of the next generation of CFP® professionals’ careers.

Advocacy: Promote FPA and CFP® professionals as the credible voice in financial planning.

We believe these intentional updates broaden the opportunities for NexGen and FPA to collectively support the next generation of CFP® professionals.

Who We Serve

In the past, we’ve chosen to focus on FPA members age 36 and under. This distinction specifically left out non-member students and late-stage career changers, focusing instead on young planners. We felt the age limit, while a good barometer of membership, was limiting and exclusionary. In revisiting who we serve, we’ve chosen to expand our focus.

New membership focus: We serve aspiring and early-career CFP® professionals.

With a refocused intention of inclusivity, we look forward to the next age of NexGen. For us, it is helpful to consider the new member definition as a career stage continuum; where “T” is one’s entry into the profession. We think of NexGen as aspiring and new-to-the-profession professionals. A rough measure might be: T minus four years (aspiring) to T plus eight years (early career stage). This is not meant to be restrictive in any way but rather, illustrative to depict the theory behind the change.

Our hope is to remove the idea that a member can “age-out.” Instead, we prefer an opt-out method. We encourage those whose experience level exceeds NexGen’s career-stage continuum to actively mentor those who will follow.

This is a bedrock change for NexGen; one we feel will provide focus and increase inclusion.

The Future of the Profession

We have had many conversations about macro forces affecting our profession. In the past few years and even months, huge economic, cultural, and social shifts have impacted our views. As such, we chose to highlight three lenses through which we view the future of the profession. We hope that you would join us in embracing these lenses as we collectively continue to work on our profession:

The fiduciary standard. All clients of financial planners should expect and receive advice in which the clients’ needs are prioritized over those of the financial planner. This is not to say that one compensation model is superior to another but rather, we should collectively work toward being an essential profession whose principles prevail, as described by Dick Wagner, “often at the expense of apparent self-interest.”

The promotion and continual evaluation of access and inclusion within the financial planning profession. The financial planning profession should actively seek to create access for clients and professionals alike who are of underrepresented demographics. Additionally, those guiding the profession should continually be aware of and monitor the purposeful actions taken to this effect. The long-term goal is to proactively and inclusively serve demographics of the public.

Professional behavior within the financial planning profession. All profession members should expect and receive the same professional treatment. We should strive for a culture that denounces any mistreatment and allows for swift action in the case of definitive breach in the equitable treatment of any member of our profession; be it emotional, professional, and/or physical.

It is our belief that through these lenses, we can collectively be the profession we hope to see. Please take a moment to consider the ideas and changes outlined above. Consider the future of the profession, the planners we can reach, and the impact we can have as the next generation of CFP® professionals. We believe these expanded and inclusive updates will lead to improved relationships between all generations, leading to increased collaboration and more fruitful outcomes for our members.

Thank you for your trust and the opportunity to lead the next generation. We welcome your feedback and look forward to implementing these strategic updates in 2019.

Editor’s note: Send feedback to​.

General Financial Planning Principles