Planners’ Perspective: Sometimes a Little Stubbornness Helps

 Part 1 of a series that will shed some light on who we are and why we love financial planning. Learn how partner Marilyn Gunther used what she calls stubbornness to pioneer her way into an unknown field.

Upon completing my master’s degree at Iowa State University in the late ‘60’s, and waiting for Ron Gunther to finish his Ph.D., I had the good fortune to be hired as adult education specialists in Consumer economics.  The University allowed faculty to audit any course on campus at no cost if there was room. I took full advantage of the opportunity and scouted out noted professors in subjects I had not ventured to study.

The school of social work had an outstanding professor who taught a trilogy of classes on counseling which I thought would be of interest.   Each week we were told to apply principles discussed in class to a case study.  I asked the professor if I could use personal financial situations. Keep in mind, personal financial planning as a profession was an unknown concept at the time.   He kindly told me the course had nothing to do with finance and politely told me, “No.”  Since that is a word I never liked, I finally persuaded him to let me try.  He agreed---I am sure a bit intrigued. And so, each week I dutifully turned in my paper, which focused on a family financial planning problem and how to counsel with families to give them assistance.   We had many discussions over the months.  The professor was very helpful and at the end of the classes he smiled and said, “You really do have something here”.  Well I did not just convince him, I convinced myself about the need for personal financial planning and counseling.

Today Iowa State University has a degree in personal financial management and counseling. I would like to tell you I influenced that development but it was more likely the times.  I did very much appreciate the opportunity to secure a direction that would be come an extremely satisfying life long vocation.