NexGen: The Next Generation of Financial Advisors
By Laurie Belew
In Part I of this article, I described what NexGen is: a vibrant community of young (age 36 and under) financial planning professionals. We connect throughout the year in a variety of ways, and the FPA-NCA chapter is taking steps to better integrate NexGen professionals. We hope you will begin seeing more NexGen participation at our chapter events. So, who is the NexGen Advisor?
The “age 36 and under” requirement certainly captures a wide range of experience levels. Many are recent entrants to the profession, perhaps graduates of CFP® Board registered financial planning programs, and are eager to learn from peers about getting started in the profession. Others are professionals with close to 15 years of experience as advisors. NexGen members are paraplanners, brokers, advisors, associates, operations processors, compliance professionals, and business owners.
NexGen members are also leaders within the profession. Mike Branham, current president of the FPA, is a former NexGen President. Three members of the 2013 FPA Experience task force are past presidents: Sabrina Lowell (task force chair), Caleb Brown, and Tara Scottino. Mike Anderson, FPA Retreat 2013 task force member, is a former NexGen leader.
NexGen is also represented by thought-leaders in our profession. Michael Kitces, a NexGen founder and author of The Kitces Report and Nerd's Eye View, was named one of the 25 most influential people in our industry by Investment Advisor. Tim Maurer, author of The Ultimate Financial Plan: Balancing your Money and Life, has been active in NexGen. Caleb Brown, current Chair of NexGen, created a firm which specializes in job placement for financial planning students. And let's not forget the NexGen members successfully starting financial planning degree programs at schools such as William Patterson and Saint Joseph’s University, both in our backyard.
As may be expected, many conversations among NexGen members are related to finding early success in the profession, gaining acceptance of the generations before us, and helping clients see past the lack of gray hair. But conversations are also related to starting one's own practice or stepping into a partner role at a well-established firm. Several NexGen members, both past and present, own their own practices, while others have found a path to partnership within their firms.
Regardless of age, NexGen members want to have an open dialogue with members of the financial planning community. After all, the idea for NexGen was a result of the mentoring relationship Aaron Coates, a young professional and NexGen founder, developed with Ben Coombes, a pioneer in our profession. They saw NexGen as a way to bridge the generation gap and transfer knowledge to the next generation of financial advisors, continuing to move the profession forward.
I hope the two NexGen blog articles have provided a new perspective about what NexGen means and about who we are. Please support the FPA-NCA in its efforts to integrate NexGen advisors into our profession and our chapter. You can help in many ways. Attend one of our networking happy hours, mentor a young advisor, volunteer to speak at a local NexGen study group session, or consider how a next generation financial advisor may fit into your firm. And please, share your experiences as a seasoned professional with us every chance you get. One challenge in transferring information from one generation to the next is getting the conversation started, so hopefully this series will make each of you more comfortable having conversations with those inside your firm or with someone you meet at an FPA-NCA event. We are eager to have a conversation with you!