Accessibility for All
Is freedom just for those with seven-figure account balances? As many of the industry's top practice management consultants tell us, we should raise our investable asset minimums to $1 million in assets or more. That seems to be the message the financial planning profession is sending to the general public. Freedom is only for those who can pay our fees!

If we focus our efforts just on the well-off, though, I'm afraid we fail the integrity test and do ourselves and the broader community a great disservice. The freedoms we're discussing are so powerful and so life-changing that everyone should be able to achieve them. Our ability to help clients achieve that freedom is not always so complex. It doesn't require much time or expenditure of resources. Still, we in the planning community have no real mechanism for doing it broadly.

Organizations such as the Garrett Planning Network and the Cambridge Alliance do help offer quality financial planning services to middle-income clients, and many practitioners provide some pro bono work. But it's hardly enough. In the U.S., the FPA and NAPFA have been wrestling with this problem. How will we leverage our substantial skills to lift as many people as possible from financial bondage to financial freedom?

Currently, the way forward isn't clear and many paths include regulatory hurdles, compensation challenges, time and funding obstacles and gaps in responsibility. It is a discussion we must earnestly address as we create the standards for our profession.

We work in a field that has the power to transform lives and deliver true freedom to people from all walks of life. We deserve the highest reputation among our communities. I am convinced that if we use the four principles I've outlined as our guides, we can build a stronger professional stature, one that can take market upheavals in stride and deliver an outstanding customer experience. We should ask nothing less from ourselves or our colleagues.

George Kinder is the founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning and author of three books, most notably The 7 Stages of Money Maturity and Lighting the Torch. He leads trainings globally on relationship skills, the client delivery process and financial life planning. Learn more at

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