There is no question that we live in an age of information sharing and unprecedented transparency. The past decade has seen explosive growth in the number and popularity of the online communities and social networks that provide an avenue for millions of Canadians to share the many details of their lives, thoughts and opinions. An August 13, 2013 headline in the National Post noted that “More Canadians use Facebook daily than anywhere else in the world”. In fact, at that time the Post reported that “More than 19 million Canadians were logging onto Facebook at least once every month — that’s more than half the population — while 14 million check their newsfeed every single day…”.
As Canadians, we talk about what and where we eat and what’s hot on Netflix; we offer cures for what would have once been embarrassing ailments; and much more. It seems like there are no longer any topics too intimate or too private to share — except perhaps one.
Most Canadians draw the line when it comes to discussing their personal finances — in this age of über-communications, money may be considered the last vestige of taboo subjects for Canadians. Divulging details of our finances has enjoyed an unrivalled tenure on the ever-shrinking list of “taboo topics”.
We don’t tell or ask each other how much we earn or what we owe. Most of us can only guess how much money our parents have saved . As Canadians, we take the “personal” in “personal finance” seriously. It’s one of the few things that we all care about, but very very few of us feel comfortable talking about.
However, we know through empirical evidence that when Canadians sit down across from a CFP® professional and bare all, they are likely to reap substantial financial and emotional benefit. The Value of Financial Planning study – commissioned by FPSC and financially supported by the Financial Planning Foundation – revealed that Canadians with comprehensive financial plans feel that their financial goals and retirement plans are more on track, their ability to save has improved, and that they are more confident they can handle the inevitable bumps in life. Further, those working with a CFP® professional universally report more positive feelings regarding their personal finances and their financial futures.
But Canadians will never realize these advantages unless they are satisfied they can trust a true financial professional with information related to their most intimate and personal matters – their financial affairs. That is why we do what we do. Canadians must know they can trust financial planners to help them achieve financial well-being, and financial planners must be worthy of that trust.
Canadians need to trust that those financial planners who have earned the CFP® designation have met internationally recognized standards of knowledge, skills and abilities and are accountable for and abide by a code of ethics that prescribes their duty to act with the due prudence of a professional and to put their clients’ interests before all others.
FPSC attests to the fact that those who complete CFP certification have undertaken an extensive approved education program, passed rigorous national exams, and obtained a minimum of three years’ qualifying work experience. To remain certified, CFP professionals must undertake continuous professional development and agree to adhere to FPSC’s Standards of Professional Responsibility for CFP Professionals.
It is not easy to become a Certified Financial Planner® professional, nor should it be…why should Canadians settle for less?
Money. It’s time we talked about it. With the right professional.
By: Cary List CA, CPA, CFP® President & CEO, FPSC
Cary leads FPSC as the premier standards-setter for the financial planning profession in Canada. He has spent most of the past decade working to ensure that CFP certification is recognized as the standard for financial planning and to see financial planning recognized in law as a distinct profession.