Contributed by: Nick Defenthaler, CFP®
Last month, I visited Dallas, Texas for a unique “conference” – the Financial Planning Association (FPA) NexGen Gathering. FPA NexGen is exclusive to those who are under the age of 37 and active in the financial planning profession. As a board member for the FPA of Michigan, I learned about the NexGen group several months ago and was intrigued and very excited that there was a dedicated group connecting and sharing information among younger planners.
Millennials Don’t Want “Conferences”
From the very moment I arrived, I could feel the positive energy. As the “gathering” began (apparently calling it a “conference” was too stuffy for us Millennials), everyone gave a brief introduction, said where they had come from and one thing they hoped to come away with by the end of the weekend. Even with a group of 108, you could truly feel the passion each person had for helping others with money. For the next hour or so, we developed and voted on several lists of discussion topics that would be the focus of breakout sessions the following day. No speakers. No single voice preaching their view on a particular topic. These were CONVERSATIONS between professionals with an open, casual, yet extremely respectful format.
Starting Conversations & Building Relationships
The following day there were 6 breakout sessions, each with 4 topics to choose from to attend the round table discussions. It was so difficult to just pick one because so many great ideas came out of the previous day’s brainstorming session. I came away with several great ideas to immediately put into practice both professionally and personally, which in my opinion, is what attending “conferences” and participating in professional development opportunities is all about. I’ve also found that the relationships you develop while away from home at events such as the NexGen Gathering with like-minded peers does nothing but help you progress and become a better planner and professional. It’s amazing what you can learn from others if you keep your mind open and challenge the way you normally think.
Overall, the NexGen gathering was a great experience and I truly enjoyed spending time with the current and future leaders in the financial planning profession. I can tell you, they truly love what they do each and every day – helping others live great lives. I look forward to attending the Gathering again next year and coming away with a new sense of energy like I have this year!
Nick Defenthaler, CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Nick is a member of The Center’s financial planning department and also works closely with Center clients. In addition, Nick is a frequent contributor to the firm’s blogs.
Any opinions are those of Nick Defenthaler, CFP® and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of the Financial Planning Association (FPA). Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website's users and/or members.