Takeaways From the 2016 XYPN Conference

I returned from San Diego late Wednesday night after spending a few days at The XY Planning Network's (XYPN) annual conference. Here are some of my takeaways:

  • There are a lot of planners excited about improving the financial planning profession. I believe the XYPN had about 100 members in 2015. The network has grown to more than 300. And we will act in our clients best interests. Not because we're forced to, but because we want to. And it's the right thing to do.
  • Student loans are a big problem. There are millions of people who need who need help navigating confusing loan types as well as their repayment and refinancing options. I've started work on a project to address this problem.
  • Robo-advisors, such as Betterment and Wealthfront, cannot replace a human. Sure, they can invest efficiently, but their algorithms can't handle disruptions in financial markets (Brexit) nor can they hold their clients' hands while on life's emotional roller coaster. And a human financial planner augmented with a computer? That's a force to be reckoned with.
  • This next generation of planners is willing to work hard for their clients, but they also want time with their families. The panel I was on, "Full-Time Parent, Full-Time Owner" was well-attended by planner/parents looking for advice on how to juggle work and life. I can't speak for the other planners on the panel, but I don't consider myself an expert on this subject. It's a work in progress. That said, judging by the responses from planners in attendance, I think we are on the right track.*

*True story:
I told the audience my wife and I came to an agreement when I started my firm: She was now the primary breadwinner and working a demanding job at a public affairs firm. Naturally, my income had decreased because I was building my firm. I may not have been able to contribute to the household financially, but I could contribute in other ways. I could drop-off and pick-up the girls from school and take the lead on laundry, grocery shopping, and cooking. So that is what I did.

Later that day, one of the attendees approached me and said he called his wife after attending my panel discussion. He told her that while launching his firm he was going to take over drop-off and pick-up, laundry, grocery shopping and cooking.

Well done, Sir.

Listening / Reading / Watching

Here's what had my attention this week:

  • Loads of great information about all aspects of financial planning.
  • Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X. This long-running reality show has become something of a family tradition in our house. The four of us enjoy watching the physical challenges, scheming, and strategies every season. In addition, our nine-year-old has declared that she plans to win when she's old enough to compete. Oh, and that's after she wins American Ninja Warrior. And becomes a professional soccer player.