As I write this I am wrapping up a three day industry conference on insurance and investment planning. I make an attempt every year to attend at least one industry conference on top of the on line and classroom courses I can take in the financial planning profession every year. I enjoy learning; I always have so this has always been part of my day to day. There are people out there who do not want to crack another book or take another exam. While attending this conference I thought about why it is important to continue to learn and educate ourselves within our professional lives.
A person needs to continue to grow in their chosen field. Nothing stays the same. Not if you are a Heavy Duty Mechanic, a Nurse or a Doctor or an Advisor. Every field changes with the times. It is important to continue your education in your field so that you are informed on the changes that are happening, the new techniques available and trends that may positively or negatively affect your profession. Gone are the times where you started your job and there were no more books to read or courses to take. I have a client, 60 years of age, who has been a mechanic for 42 years. He said the reason he became a mechanic at 18 was that he was tired of school and just wanted to work on cars. He says now he takes more courses and takes part in more education than when he was in school! By the way, he loves it.
Maintain your professional license
I can’t speak for all professions but in my chosen field we need to accumulate enough CE credits (Continuous Education) to retain our licenses and designations. Every province has their own guidelines or rules to make sure we as Advisors report each year that we have earned enough to retain our licenses and designations for another year. By attending conferences, taking courses, both on line and in a classroom setting, we earn these credits to show our governing bodies that we have done what is required of us to continue to practice. It shows our industry that we are serious about what we do and that we are professional. It is mandatory. It wasn’t that way 20 years ago when I started. Once you received your licences off you went. You did not need to show you were taking courses or keeping up with changes. I think my generation looks at learning as part of our life. It wasn’t long though when they brought in the CE requirements which were a good thing. It made everyone accountable to continuous learning.
Responsibility to our clients
Continuing Education credits and designations show our clients, and the public at large, that we are staying on top of the changes, informed on the trends and remain knowledgeable on the planning and taxation tools available to us and to our clients. Our clients need to know that we are doing all we can to keep their best interests at heart and one way of doing that is showing that we are always learning, always searching out professional development.
We must continue to grow, learn and become better at our chosen fields. Not only does the education make us more proficient at what we do but it also helps our clients. Let’s face it; our clients are more educated on what we do than ever before so we better be as well.