New Degree in Personal and Family Financial Planning
An undergraduate degree at the UA aims to produce career-ready financial planners while strengthening the financial literacy of Arizona residents through outreach programs.
Financial planning is one of the fastest-growing career fields in the U.S., with a job outlook of approximately 30 percent growth for 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Driving the demand for personal financial advisers is the increasing number of baby boomers entering retirement and the ever-expanding wealth of millennials, resulting in a greater need and desire for advice regarding financial planning.
In response to this, the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has created a new degree in personal and family financial planning, or PFFP. The program is the first of its kind to be offered at an Arizona public university.
The four-year PFFP undergraduate curriculum, developed with input from local and national financial planning leaders, prepares students for careers in financial advising and wealth management for individuals and families. Instruction focuses on financial goal setting and strategies, investment planning and savings, assets and debt management, retirement savings and income strategies, and the prevention and resolution of financial difficulties.
CFP Board-Registered Program
Norton School faculty worked with members of the Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards Inc., or CFP Board, to create specific core courses that would ensure graduates of the program will not only be able to enter the field of financial planning upon graduation, they also will qualify to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification examination. The UA has been approved by the CFP Board to provide this new financial planning undergraduate degree program.
Core courses developed in accordance with the CFP Board include personal and family financial planning; applied family investment planning and savings; personal and family estate planning; and applied personal and family income tax planning. An internship and capstone proficiency class in family and personal financial plan development also are required.
Also unique to this major is a course on professional conduct and fiduciary responsibility.
"The CFP Board is pleased to approve the program at the University of Arizona as a CFP Board-registered program," said CFP Board chairman Richard Salmen. "As student interest in financial planning as a career continues to grow, we anticipate that the UA's program will contribute significantly to the number of qualified candidates seeking to attain the CFP certification, the standard of excellence for competent and ethical financial planning."
The CFP Board is a Washington, D.C.-based independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to benefit the public by granting, upholding and promoting CFP certification. Those who earn the certification have distinguished themselves among their peers by meeting the CFP Board's education, examination, experience and ethics requirements.
"Regardless of the current political debate on the need to implement financial fiduciary responsibilities, it is our intention to educate students on what it means to be a fiduciary," said Richard Rosen, a UA professor of practice in retailing and consumer sciences, and chair of the PFFP program. "Our goal is that students will be ready to enter the industry with a keen understanding of ethics, fiduciary responsibility, and the business of financial planning and wealth management. They won't be entering the profession as raw recruits."
Norton School's Emphasis
The PFFP degree draws on the strengths of programs already housed within the Norton School: retailing and consumer sciences, and family studies and human development. Consumer behavior, family dynamics, stress and stability, aging, advising and counseling all have a bearing on working with clientele.
Rosen said financial planning involves more than money management. It concerns personal decisions people make about their lives. Can they really afford to buy their teenager that car? What do they want to do during their retirement? Financial planning involves caring for the concerns and needs of people of every age, from the young to the elderly, to help them maintain their physical and financial health.
"I firmly believe we need to educate people about money — what it can and can't do," Rosen said. "If you educate a financial planner about this, they become a valuable personal and family counselor, not just a money or wealth manager."
Beyond coursework, students will have the chance to gain experience in learning how to communicate with clients. They will learn how to build rapport while assisting clients with a variety of financial decisions. They will be required to complete an internship, and the Norton School already is working with local and national companies to secure internship opportunities.
Through the UA Cooperative Extension network, the PFFP program aims to reach people across Arizona to strengthen financial literacy. Take Charge Cats, part of the Norton School's Take Charge American Institute, is poised to build on the extension network.
"We want to teach financial literacy to the 7 million to 8 million people in Arizona," Rosen said.
The John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences provides instructional, research, extension and outreach programs that enable families, individual family members and consumers to achieve an optimum quality of life. Instructional programs prepare professionals for careers serving families and consumers in a culturally diverse and rapidly changing society.
The Personal and Family Financial Planning degree prepares students to successfully enter the financial planning profession while fulfilling the core educational curriculum necessary to sit for the Certified Financial Planning Certification Examination.
Jobs include financial planner, wealth manager, estate planner, tax adviser, retirement planner, investment manager, securities trader, financial analyst, financial services consultant, loan consultant, client service specialist, bank trust officer, entrepreneur and advanced-degree candidate.
Median pay for 2015, with a bachelor's degree in financial planning and a few years of experience, was $89,160 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Personal and Family Financial Planning degree program:
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