Personal financial planning – Campus Connection

Posted 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024

A new concentration to the finance major will be available to students in fall 2024.

Finance Department adds major concentration promoting career readiness

UWL’s Finance Department is adding a new concentration option to the finance major: personal financial planning.

The department has collaborated with Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) to create a comprehensive program for those interested in a career in financial planning. “It’s an official CFP Board-registered program,” explains Adam Stivers, associate professor of finance and chair of the department. “Since it’s an officially recognized program, students who graduate with the concentration can then directly sit for the exam to get the CFP® certification.” Shishir Paudel, assistant professor of finance, will serve as the program’s director.

In the past, Stivers says, students would need to take additional online training courses or complete additional programs to be qualified to take the CFP® exam after graduating. The new concentration allows students to meet all the educational requirements through UWL coursework.

“Previously, we have offered one or two classes related to financial planning,” Stivers says. “This program adds a whole series of courses, each one going into different aspects of the field.”

The program consists of eight courses on topics including insurance planning, estate planning, retirement planning, and a collaboration with the Accounting Department to learn tax planning. Tweaks will be made to existing courses to ensure students receive other crucial content related to investments and general professional knowledge.

“One of the classes included in the program is a capstone case study course,” Stivers says. “This gives students practical experience by working on a financial plan for a hypothetical client. The capstone course will be one of the most beneficial courses, as students can apply the knowledge they received from their previous courses.”

Courses created for the personal financial planning program are not exclusive to students who have declared that major concentration.

“Students do not have to declare the concentration for the sole goal of sitting for the CFP® exam,” Stivers explains. “It can create a well-rounded portfolio of knowledge for students, and courses can be electives for other finance majors.” Risk, insurance and financial planning is an existing concentration within the finance department and will remain available to those who aim to pursue a career in those areas.

Students who wish to declare the personal financial planning concentration can apply around mid-terms this semester, which take place in March. The first student cohort will be in fall 2024.

Dr. Shishir Paudel will be the director of the personal financial planning program.

“This program is not just for incoming students,” Stivers says. “Our existing students who can fit the concentration into their courseload can apply for the program and declare it.”

Stivers explains that completing a CFP Board-registered program and obtaining certification is a wonderful way for students to set themselves up for long and rewarding career. Financial planners make a positive difference in their clients’ lives and report enjoying great work-life balance. Experienced advisors earn, on average, $192,000 a year,* with those holding CFP® certification earning 12% more than their non-certified colleagues.** And CFP® professionals’ compensation goes beyond cash salaries and bonuses, with valuable employee benefits — including health, dental, life and disability insurance, and professional development opportunities — often adding up to thousands of additional dollars.

“Certification is a way to differentiate yourself from others,” Stivers says. “It’s a growing field, which is part of the reason the program is being established. It is a way to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of all the areas of someone’s financial well-being. It is the highest level of training that one can get in this field.”

Students interested in declaring the personal financial planning concentration can apply via this link: Fall 2024 PFP Program Application. The application deadline for Fall 2024 is March 8.

* USA Today, “From taxes to retirement: Everything to know about the evolving role of financial advisers”

** CFP Board, 2023 Compensation Study Highlights

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