The History & Future of Financial Planning, in Academics and Practice with Dr. Nathan Harness [Ep71]
Welcome to episode 71 of The Innovating Advice Show.
I’m joined by Dr. Nathan Harness who’s the Director of Financial Planning at Texas A&M University.
In this episode, we discuss how the financial planning profession has formed and some of the challenges that presents. Dr. Harness shares how financial planning is still sort of the wild west and the inherent solution biases most people have based on their area of expertise.
We chat about the need for more academic research and he provides a great example involving a wine list.
And listen until the end where he describes the need for normative standards in the profession and talks about the delicate balance between the art and science of financial planning.
Dr. Harness received his Bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Central Arkansas, Master’s degree in finance from Texas Tech University, and Ph.D. in personal financial planning from Texas Tech University.
He currently serves as the TD Ameritrade Director of Financial Planning at Texas A&M University and teaches the Fundamentals of Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, and the Investments for Financial Planning courses.
His research interests include household heuristics and wealth accumulation, gender differences in financial planning, and retirement decision making. He has published in Applied Economic Letters, Financial Services Review, International Journal of Business and Finance Research, Journal of Financial Services Professionals, Financial Counseling and Planning, the Journal of Financial Planning, and the Journal of Personal Finance.
00:50 - Introducing Nathan Harness
02:15 - The history and the future of financial planning
08:20 - Building a collaborative profession
10:20 - The logistics of niching down and working together
11:50 - Not everybody needs to be a specialist
13:00 - The skills that will be required in the next few years
16:27 - The value that traditional academics and real-time data could bring into the process of planning
22:35 - What normative standards are and how financial planning is still the Wild West
26:35 - Are there right and wrong solutions?
32:35 - Building trust with the public
38:00 - How do we differentiate ourselves without denigrating the profession as a whole?
Kate: Hi, Nathan. Welcome to the show.
Nathan: Hi, thanks for having me.
Kate: It's a pleasure to have you here. We are going to be talking a lot about the future of financial planning and coming a lot from the academic side, because you are the director of financial planning at Texas A&M. So you are helping to shape the future leaders and doers in this profession. And I'd love to hear from you. What have you seen over the 13 years that you've been teaching and then we'll look at what is the future looking like.
Nathan: Sure. Yeah. If you think about the industry of financial planning and just the evolution that's occurred in the last 25 years, I think we like to claim that financial planning is about 50 years old this last year. I think that was the statement that we were making that financial planning is 50 years old. It's kind of hard to put a origin of where was the beginning and where are we today If it is 50 years old, I'd say the largest growth has really come in the last 25 to 15 years.
Nathan: That doesn't make us very old. When you stack us up against other professions, medical profession, really, in its formality in the United States, you're looking at the 18 hundreds. You're looking at something like accounting, which is really, you know, the early 19 hundreds. So a lot of these professions have a whole lot of time out in front of us to develop not only, the functionality of a profession, but also the training of the generations that come into a profession.
Nathan: So if we look at financial planning, one of the things to me that that makes it very, very unique in how we define what a profession actually is, is its formation. Most professions grow from generalization to specialization. So let's just look at the medical profession. Most doctors in their training early on are trained in a very generalized way. Everybody's trained to be a generalized practitioner of medicine. Then they go on to specialization and that's been the evolution of that profession. It originally, every doctor basically was trained and functioned in a very similar way. And then we get into specializations where you have somebody who works with just a very specific kind or type of cancer. I mean, extremely specialized doctors.
Nathan: Our profession has been different in its formation, and it's created some of the conundrums that we now have in how we move forward in the future.
Nathan: I've heard it said by one of my former professors, that financial planning is the tree that grew backwards. It has moved from that specialization now backwards to generalization. So think about that. If you're a lawyer who is interested in the financial planning side, you got a specialization in law. Many of us, including myself, were specialists in wealth management or specialists in portfolio management or stock selection, some may be have come in from the accounting side, they're CPAs by nature, taxes, what they've looked at most of their career. And now they see the value in the holistic side of planning. So we've got a bunch of people who together form a profession who come from a formal training standpoint in very specialized sub areas of financial planning. Now we are beginning to recognize the value that comes in the amalgamation of forming a metal that hardens with all the sub areas of financial planning, of retirement, of tax, of investments.
Nathan: We find that some of the real value that we bring, the alpha that we generate for clients comes in the overlap or the overlay of each one of those sub-fields. Here's where the problem comes into play. And I see this as an educator, especially because I educate in two ways. I have a traditional undergraduate program. And I also help people come into the industry who are maybe in a different industry, or maybe they're looking for, the ability to set for the CFP exam. So they're looking for that comprehensive financial planning curriculum. So we have non-traditional learners that we teach as well. We're gonna have a non-traditional learner who comes into the classroom and I'll pick on one in particular. I love tax and I feel like it's one of the greatest value adds that we can bring to financial planning. I think it's exceptionally valuable.
Nathan: However, when I have a CPA that comes in, especially one that challenges the CFP, they still have to take capstone, but they want to challenge the CFP exam. When I look at the plan. So everybody has to write a holistic financial plan. When I look at the plan that a traditional CPA writes most solutions that they come up with are tax based solutions. They struggle to be able to see the value, maybe let's go to another traditional area of an investment reallocation strategy. Instead, all the values in asset location, not allocation. They begin to think in terms of their specialization, not generalization. So as our industry continues to evolve and recognize the power of holistic financial planning, we are formed currently by the majority of individuals who now call themselves certified and, or just holistic financial planners who see all the merit of planning coming from their specialization.
Nathan: So as we move forward and we say, what is financial planning? If I'm an investment specialist, because that's my forte, I say financial planning is really just wealth management. Financial planning is really just portfolio restructuring. And if we can help people to get the best allocation, diversification or stock selection that's possible, then they don't really need anything else. That becomes problematic. And this is the problem that we have as we move forward as an industry to say, there's value in what all of us do. And we need to have a generalized knowledge of that. People began to pull away from that. And as we try to come up with these heuristics, as we try to come up with normative planning, everybody wants to say potentially that their area is the area that's most important to financial planning. So we're struggling. We're grasping now, how do we move forward? Not with uniformity, but with unity in a way that we approach holistic planning.
Kate: You mentioned normative standards, which we're going to talk about in a bit, but as you're talking and mentioning doctors and lawyers and specialized versus generalized, as you look towards the future, are you thinking that we should go back to, or keep the focus on the specialized, but in a way that actually works and collaborates like doctors do where you're gonna, you know, have a generalist, but then say, Hey, you need to go talk to this specialist. And that specialist might say, actually, you've also got this issue. You need to go talk to that specialist and more of a collaborative profession?
Nathan: Yeah, the answer is yes. again, I think there's a value in training and we're going to get there as we begin to have more entrants to our profession that come through an educational process that's very generalized we'll have a foundation of understanding of how each area of financial planning brings value to the other areas. Eventually, I mean, anybody who's been in the profession long enough realizes that the majority of us do specialize. You start out as a generalist. You're looking for clients that want to work with you. You work on tons of different problems that are out there. You work across a multitude of areas of the life cycle. And then you realize as your knowledge set becomes stronger in a particular area, if you want to scale, or that's important to you to scale, you develop a niche practice. So you ultimately do specialize.
Nathan: I mean, I know a financial planner here in town and almost exclusively they work with professors. That's their forte. Not only do they find they can brand themselves better that way, but they understand the needs of those particular individuals because they've spent a lot of time understanding the needs of those particular individuals. So the answer's yes.
Nathan: I think we can partner better with specialists in financial planning, but now we'll back up one more step and say, we've also built a profession that historically was about access, not advice. And if it was built about access, not advice, then some of my key differentiators between somebody across the street from me and me became how I charge or how I do business, if that's the key separator. And part of my branding strategy is to not build up the profession, but potentially tear down the profession by talking about everyone around me, who doesn't do what I'm doing. So they clearly aren't as good at financial planning
Nathan: Where is my ability to work with that person? So let's just say that they are stronger at retirement and I'm stronger at tax, or I'm stronger at investments. If we wanted to partner, how do we logistically even do that? You can do it within a firm and it's still difficult. How do you do it across firms like a doctor might do as your primary care, then shifts you or hand you off to a specialist. Man, it's going to take us a long time to get to a place like that. And we may never, that may not be our model, but being able to learn from that and come up with, ways that financial planners, intra firm and across firms can work together is a win for our profession.
Kate: So you're a fan of niching down.
Nathan: I think it has value. So again, I know Kitces is talks about this a lot. I've seen many of his articles come across social media talking about that. I think it can work and it can be effective, for scale. I don't know that everybody needs to do that. Just like every doctor doesn't need to be a specialist.
Nathan: I was talking to a doctor friend of mine in town the other day he works, at the ER. And so he's an ER doctor and he works these insane hours, you know, he's up all night and he always looks tired. And I just said, Joseph, do you ever think you want to go back and just be a general practitioner working more of an eight to five? And he said, I can't because I'd have to go back and do a whole other residency to go back to that.
Nathan: And I thought, ouch, you eventually get to a point where you specialize and you can't go back to general. I don't know that specialization is the key for every single person. It provides scale, but some of us and I am one of those people love dealing with a multitude of issues that are multitude of types of clients might face. That actually brings me more passionate in solving as a financial engineer, a multitude of different types of problems. So I guess it's a little bit about how the planner finds passion and purpose, not just how they can develop a business that's going to scale out most efficiently.
Kate: So if we look at the next, you mentioned the last 25 years. So in the next 25 years, what are the skills required looking like? And you already touched on behavioral finance and financial coaching. How much is that coming into play in the academic side?
Nathan: Well, it's the ability to teach too, right? You want to have individuals who are qualified. So a lot of financial planning programs today are interesting in that it's not just traditional academics. And I might argue that I don't think that it should be, I haven't practiced as a financial planner in a firm working with clients in about 15 years. Am I the best person to be teaching all of these classes in some ways Yes. Because I understand pedagogy the, the process of teaching. I'm good, I think, I hope at the process of teaching, I understand the profession, I'm highly involved. I'm on some councils, I'm engaged deeply in the profession, in the industry organizations and associations of the profession, and I'm a speaker. So I speak at, industry associations, where at the practice level, I meet with a ton, I mean, probably in the thousands, low thousand, advisors per year.
Nathan: So I get a vantage point that's very unique. It kind of a Switzerland approach of, of being in the middle of a lot of practice methodologies too. Not just fee-only practices, not just commission-based practices, a bunch of practice models. So it gives me sort of a view. At the same time, there's that frontlines knowledge. When the SECURE ACT comes through and you got to absorb that as fast as possible and translate that into strategy and help students have an understanding as they're going out on the market, because they're going to be helping people that are gonna have questions about that really rapidly. So there's this part of me that kind of, that loves teaching financial planning. And there's other part of me that's exhausted by it. And maybe financial planners can agree because you never stop. You never stop learning the information. That's why they hire us.
Nathan: And probably accountants feel a little the same way. You have to constantly be learning. And the curious animal in me loves that. I love absorbing and finding new information and strategizing what do we do with this? So from a teaching perspective, when we're hiring folks, we want a mix, we want a mix of people who are on the front lines, financial planners, advisors, who are working with clients in a real time, having a process, absorb this information, and, and then make strategy out of it and help clients understand it. at the same time, we want some individuals who are plugged in, in a traditional sense to some of the research as well. And some of the more traditional academic, innovative concepts, that extend beyond just practice methodology to building out a foundation of testing, to say, yeah, at the ocular level, as I just look at this, it seems to make sense with clients, but have I run it through rigorous testing?
Nathan: Have I put this in a lab experimental environment? All the way down to, so I'll just give you an example of this. I work, with a colleague here who has the largest eye-tracking lab in the entire United States. So he looks at, he has very sophisticated software and headgear that can look at some of how the brain's firing just kind of external stimuli. And he looks at sweat, heart rates, breathing, and then eye dilation and eye tracking, what your eyes looking at. So a lot of what he does is in food sciences, where he looks at menus and things like that, to determine, one of the latest studies he did was looking at, anchoring associated with pricing on a menu. And, how an individual would walk into, let's say, a restaurant or a winery. A lot of them will establish pricing from low price to high price.
Nathan: Here's your reds. In your reds, here's your $18 bottle. Here's your $22, $25, $30 so on and so forth. What was interesting is when you begin to eye track them and watch dilation, dilation of your eye gives you a pretty, at least a marker of internal stimuli, how you're feeling about something. And especially when you're controlling the environment for sunlight and other things. So you can take this and you can do real-time testing. As this individual was testing people looking at these menus, he found that they would look at that very first price, that $22 bottle of wine. And then they'd look down at the other ones and they'd come back to that $22. And then they looked down at the other ones. They come back to that $22. They were anchoring. From a decision standpoint, they were saying, Hmm, this is the price point. Rather than looking at the wines themselves and saying, which wine do I actually want, then I'll back into the financial aspect of it. So as he did that, they went through a process of reorganizing that menu to where it was not structured exclusively off of price. It had some other measures in how it was organized. That particular group increased revenue by 22%. So let's kind of, I mean, you could also see the dark side of this too. Let's manipulate clients into doing what we want. There's many other studies that they do, in, in other ways as well.
Nathan: I think financial planning's done little to none of this from a testing. There's a few universities that are beginning to do some of this, but this is some of the value that a traditional academic can bring into the process of planning. I ask planners all the time, how do you set your follow-up meeting with your client?
Nathan: So let's say that you had a meeting and you just went through the whole planning process with them. How do you set the follow-up meeting? And people think about it for a while. And most financial planners tell me, well, just based off of our, you know, whatever CRM we have, it goes out a year because I meet annually with my clients. And so a year from today, that's how I set it.
Nathan: And I think to myself, is that the best way to set the next meeting? We set that we set it that way, because that's all the data that we had to tell us that that's the best date. Is it a year from now? Or they would say it's a year from now and I, in between will, if anything major happens in the client's life, then, then we'll meet at that point.
Nathan: We have no real-time data coming in on our clients to tell us red flag, red flag. But imagine that we have something that gives us some real-time data that creates some biofeedback to tell us now's the time to meet with our clients, imagine the future. And some of this is going to come from the Academy. Some is going to come from, I think, industry as well. And just the demand from clients. Imagine somebody now has a wearable, something so similar as just one of those watches, that measures your pulse. Imagine that we can track eye dilation as cameras become more sensitive. We can control for outside stimuli, lighting conditions. Imagine that we can take your, aggregate spending data real-time along with geotagging you, I know where your spending was and I know where you were spending it exactly locationally. That can produce together, all sorts of incredible flags, that if I put it into a system that creates a, a ranked system, it may not say that we've got a problem here because Nathan has an addiction to going and spending money at Target. That's my wife by the way.
Nathan: Now it may be that, it just tells me reach out something's off here. So I believe that we've got this incredible future in financial planning that can allow us, some much deeper engagement with clients when we run some of that testing, some of that rigor to what we're actually doing so that we can measure not just the quant, but the qualitative as well, and do it in foresight, or at least real-time not just in hindsight where we're making behavioral corrections after the fact all the time. So I think the future of financial planning will engage of course, higher technical, but that's kind of, that's that's minimum stakes now. The minimum stakes is to have strong technical proficiency and the ability to solve simultaneous financial planning problems, real time. The future involves convincing clients that that's actually valuable for them. And beginning to have some processes for behavioral modification, if not outright nudging that we're doing nudging and clients, to some extent for that, pushing them towards more normative behavior, don't even realize that they're being nudged towards better behaviors.
Kate: And of course there are all the privacy concerns around that, but setting, setting that aside. Yeah, I get where you're going with with that more proactive approach and thinking back, you mentioned normative standards earlier and thinking about the medical profession and how you were talking about how CPAs approach creating a holistic plan versus how asset managers do. So talk us through first, what normative standards are. And I love how you talk about how financial planning is the wild west.
Nathan: Yeah, very much can be. How I noticed this first, I kind of always thought that that was the case. I teach a capstone class where I create together with now some advisers and some academics. I create a case that's relatively complex for a student to solve with all the supporting data. So they have to write a financial plan. Another requirement for our financial planning program, which is not a national requirement, just a requirement that we set, is they have to do so with a mentor. They have to walk with a CFP through a financial plan and get feedback. Cause there's, there's things that the mentor can teach them that a, I don't have the time to potentially or B they're just not me. So they know things I don't know.
Nathan: What was fascinating is I was beginning to, so you put the same case out and I began to get those, the answers, the solutions back as people would write a holistic financial plan, the students would write a holistic financial plan and you can begin to see the influence of their mentors.
Nathan: It's pretty clear to me, the background of the mentor based off of the cases that were coming in, what was fascinating to me though, is how different the solutions would be. And to some extent in an organic interaction, that is the case. You can, you know, if you're, if you're looking at just the decision trees of making a left versus a right, and now all the new decisions that come into play or prioritization, Hey, we think solving this retirement solution is more important, you know, put your own mask on before you solved the 529 issue for your kids. Everybody's going to approach that a little bit differently. However, they were vastly different. I haven't even done a research study on that. I think it'd be fascinating though, to see, to put out a case to 600-700 financial planners and say, solve this, how would you do this if this was your client and see what the solutions look like.
Nathan: I think what we would find is what I found in a smaller sample that the solution set is vastly different. What that began to tell me is we don't have a whole lot of even principles, foundational principles that we look on as we triage a client and solve their financial problems.
Nathan: If I went to the doctor and I gave them a set of symptoms, whether I'm in Dallas or whether I'm in Las Vegas or whether I'm in Florida, when I go, the majority of them would at least approach the problem similarly, they may make recommendations that are a little different, but the way that they approach the problem would have a very, very similar, approach from one doctor to the next. And they're not all, I mean, not all doctors are the same.
Nathan: There's still a lot of differences there that are there, but there's much more common ground than there is with us. And so that got me thinking and, and sitting back and saying, what are the foundational pieces in financial planning that we actually agree on? Have we tested those? And by the time we do, are they relevant anymore? Do they actually matter? And so I think some of these normative standards that we could as a profession set for different clients scenarios, or we say, Hmm, maybe this is the beginning of how to approach this problem. Or at least from a principle or philosophy standpoint, the way that we should begin to think about the basis for this. I think we're a long ways off on that. And, so I've been at least in the process of thinking, how would we move towards that, or should we move towards that? And how would we move towards that?
Kate: Well, across all those different solutions that you've got then are there, right solutions and wrong solutions?
Nathan: So this is the brutal part about being a capstone instructor and I, and why, I think it's one of the hardest classes and why I've argued it's really the only true financial planning class that is required by the CFP board. The rest of them are foundational. The investments class, the estate class, the tax class. Those are all giving you some tools, but they're not holistic financial planning per se. Hopefully you would incorporate that as a teacher to build some cases that have some of that in it. The only required class in holistic financial planning by the CFP board, in financial planning programs across the country is capstone, that's it. So students don't get a lot of practice when they go out into the profession on these types of things. The solutions from one to the next, I think are vastly different.
Nathan: And so even from a grading perspective, what I have to think of in terms, I have to pull myself out and say, okay, oftentimes we'll use a university client, cause I know our benefits. It's the niche for scale, right I know those well. And so we have a 4 57 option here. Not everybody has a 4 57 plan option and we have a 457 Roth option. And I use that. So I set up in the case, give a student just enough information to where I kind of guide them towards what would likely be a good solution. Maybe not the best one, but they're going to have to begin to prove to me that that's not the best one, that there's a better solution and what I'll see oftentimes, and again, it's inexperience and, or working with an advisor who's never worked with a university client or somebody who has access to a 457 plan. They'll go after a Roth and try to fund a Roth. And I also try to bust that by setting income limitations and some other things to where I'm really trying to push them to the 457.
Nathan: I want them to see that that's a possibility for their Roth option. They're just not used to it. They just haven't thought of that. Or they haven't seen that before. and so they don't. So if they go and it's a possibility, the tax scenario hasn't busted the ability to fund a Roth or even some of them will suggest a conversion, right. Make a Roth conversion. There's there's different things. Is their answer then wrong? Maybe not their answer might not be wrong if they've made up for it in other places, or if their understanding of the client was to prioritize other things first, their answer could be right. So it becomes really difficult to then grade or to say, this is better than that. There's some areas where it's really clear. Like you made a suggestion to a client and tax law does not allow you to do that. That is wrong.
Nathan: But there's other places where when you can choose A or B. The complexity is which one brings better value to the client. Is A or B going to allow them a greater flexibility, higher level of return, a greater tax state. What is it? And when you think about solutions for clients, that's the way you've got to think about them. But then we have this whole other area that comes into play. That's harder for me to do with a case with a client, even though I, I pretend like I'm the client, so they can ask me questions. Like, I'm the client. There's a behavioral aspect. And so I also throw that into every, almost every case that we have.
Nathan: Last year, client inherits an IRA from her father. He worked in the oil industry for years and the stock that's inside of there is from his company that he worked for. And that's all she remembers about dad, you know, loved dad because of that stock. So is it right or is it wrong for that student to make the recommendation to the client that they sell all that stock? It's tough. I had 30% of students that made the recommendation of the sale. 70% of students that made the recommendation of hang on to the stock, which ones were right. I had wrong answers in both of those. It's how you approach the problem. You know, it's the way from a behavioral standpoint that you addressed the client, some of the best ones, the best solutions that I saw to that probably had worked with their other mentors had understood how to walk through that. It was the way it was communicated to the client, and it was, this is going to be a gradual process.
Nathan: We need to begin to think of because of your risk tolerance, because of the other exposures that you have inside your portfolio, how we could memorialize your father while simultaneously providing for the wishes that he likely would have wanted for your kids to go to college. Something like that. Now you've addressed a behavioral component, but I don't teach a lot of that. I don't have time. Unfortunately, I have to interject that into some of the failures of how we build a financial plan for people to learn. Some would argue that that can only be taught by being in the profession. And I don't agree with that. I think that a lot of it I've heard, it said this way, that, knowledge comes from learning, but wisdom comes from experiences understood. And wisdom is really where we want to get to as financial planners, because it is that experiential side of going. Aha. I now understand, however, I believe even that wisdom component can be overlaid and interjected with students. It may not sink in is deeply is it will when they're out there doing it, but we sure can begin to move that direction. And that's where the behavioral, what some people call qualitative or softer. I don't honestly, I feel like, framing it that way, causes people to go. Hmm. I don't know if I'm interested in that.
Kate: So that brings it into the conversation of, you know, financial planning is an art, not a science, which kind of goes against the normative standards a bit. And you were talking earlier about, Hey, you know how the profession has been filled. If I'm across the street, how do I differentiate? And if it's just saying, Oh, I would've done it differently. How is any of this helping build trust among the public if it is such an art and everyone has so many different solutions? A client can be working with one financial planner, go to get a second opinion. And they're going to say, Oh, I would've done something totally different. If there is no right and wrong, how is that helping us to build this cohesive profession?
Nathan: I think that there's a more right. There may not be such clear lines of right and wrong. And those are delineated by just a binary difference of yes, no. Instead I think there are best solutions. I really do. Otherwise doctors would be in the exact same position. They engage organically, just like we do, if not moreso. They have less tangible technical data in some ways than we do. They get some. You get heart rate, you get blood panels, you get things that are very clear at the same time. They have things that are so clear. I think in the same way, we have technical data and information that allows us to set the foundation for some of the more artistic sides, even an artist, that's a pure art side. They don't just, I mean, I guess there are a few artists that just start throwing paint at paper. I've never understood that. It's probably that, you know, I'm more of a technical guy.
Kate: No, I don't either.
Nathan: What most artists do is they start on a canvas. If they're drawing a face, for example, and they form the symmetry first, the technical. They go in and they produce a circle with lines through it, as they're looking for that golden ratio, golden ratio, being something that's appealing to the human eye because of its mathematical underlay, same thing I think for us, but even more technical than that, we have a solution set that we can develop, especially for the rigorous testing that would be likely the most right answer. It doesn't mean it's the only right solution, especially when behavior comes into play. Again, going back to the doctor analogy. I was talking to another ER doc friend of mine who said that, cause I was asking him, I'm looking for a new doctor right now, a new family doctor. And I said, who do you use?
Nathan: And he said, Oh, I use this person over here. I would recommend him. And I said why? And he said, because he's sort of holistic, but he's also very traditional. I said that's interesting that an ER doc would say that to me. I said, well give me an example. I said, well, my wife has this specific condition. And the doctor was talking to her about medications she could be on, but he said, you know, if you would alter your lifestyle and your diet in this way, we probably wouldn't need to give you as much medication. And his wife says, that's exactly what I want to do. How do I do that? And the doctor turns to the resident and said, we're going to spend 20 more minutes in this room. I know we've got to get to the next patient, but we have a patient that wants a solution.
Nathan: So is it right for the doctor to give the client medicine? Yes. Is it right for the doctor to suggest behavioral changes and maybe still prescribe medicine or maybe not have too? Sure. Which one of those is better? It depends on the patient. And I think it's the exact same way in financial planning, as we think of our clients, there's going to be some that, you know, it's kind of rule book solutions. And this gets into that trust and confidence that they have in us. And other ways there's a behavioral component that mutes at times even the most optimal solution to where we select a sub optimal solution because of the behavioral implications of our client, still motivating them towards better behavior, but meeting them where they are in the intermediate. That is why this is so complicated is because it is a organic evolving system as a profession, the macro level and at the micro level with the client as well.
Kate: Yeah. And I love that. And in my own experience, I have not personally had great experiences with working with Western medicine. And I was sick for seven years straight and saw doctors in multiple States and countries. And nobody gave me the right solution until I went to someone that did holistic medicine and found out I'm allergic to gluten and boom. All I had to do was stop eating gluten. And after being sick for seven years straight, I was fine. So that gets back into that art and science there as well. And that's the nice thing about having options and that's why we need more financial planners in the profession. So that consumers out there have the option of working with the person that does suit them best and come up with the solutions that are right for them.
Nathan: Totally agree with you. Yeah. It's, it's the part of the problem too, is the information asymmetry that's out there with clients. Again, something I said earlier and maybe I said it a little harsher than it should be said, but it's how do we differentiate ourselves from one advisor, one planner to another, without denigrating the profession as a whole? Are there bad players in our industry? Absolutely. There are bad players in our industry. Are there bad players in our industry, in every single revenue model that's out there? Absolutely. There are bad players. So is the antithesis of that true as well? Sure. It is. How do we empower our profession to continuously improve while simultaneously as we promote our profession to clients, rise up and create a differentiation from one planner to the next, one adviser to the next, based on our solutions and the value of the advice that we give and our behavioral follow-through and our standard of care for our clients.
Nathan: And I know standard of care really quickly turns into our practice model and the way that we charge. but I would, I would truly argue if we want to become a profession, we don't need necessarily uniformity, but we do need unity. And that is what's going to, in and of itself, rise our profession up. It's difficult to do. It's easy to say this on a podcast. It's difficult to practice it daily when my livelihood and my dependence of my practice depends on that. I realize that. It's going to be a difficult road for all of us to continue down, but I believe that it will put us all in a better place as we have one, a more informed consumer with less information asymmetry in comparatives between us and others that are a bit more positive. Yep.
Kate: Wonderful. And that is, a great thought to end on and big, hairy, audacious goal for the profession going forward. And it's super exciting to see what is going to happen over the next 25 years. So I hope to stay in touch with you and see what continues to happen on the academic side and continuing to build that bridge between the academics and the practitioners and get some of that incredible research. I mean, I've been thinking about wine I'll admit for the last 20 minutes...
Nathan: Yeah, me too. Right. I was just writing down like what wine am I going to go buy and how much am I going to spend on it?
Kate: Wonderful. Nathan, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for everything you're doing, for the different perspective you bring. I'll admit I wasn't familiar with normative standards before, so it's an interesting thought and definitely something I hope to see more of in the future.
Nathan: Thank you.