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For the third year in a row, BCC is the platinum sponsor for Financial Planning Week. We are always excited to be involved in this event. This year, of course, the event shifted from its usual live venues in Toronto and Vancouver to a webcast. While we all missed the camaraderie associated with the live event, the webcast allowed far greater numbers of people from across the country to participate than in other years.

We were ecstatic this year to see long-time friend of BCC and fellow Albertan, Larry A. Wood, awarded the Donald J. Johnston Lifetime Achievement Award in Financial Planning. Larry is a pioneer in financial planning education and a lifelong volunteer with FP Canada and its predecessor organizations. He has also been a volunteer with the Financial Planning Standards Board, the global body overseeing CFP® certification.

On Tuesday, we heard from speakers including Mark DeVolders and Julie Littlechild. Mark and Julie both shared messages that are particularly relevant in the time of COVID. Mark’s message of improving resilience and Julie’s message of how to improve client engagement are both valuable for financial planners.

Wednesday’s session focused on research conducted by Dr. Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald and sponsored by the Financial Planning Foundation. Dr. MacDonald reiterated the message that I find most financial planners know—clients are mathematically better off in most cases to delay CPP until age 70. She also did a wonderful job discussing ways that financial planners can have a conversation with their clients that take this decision beyond the math. Dr. MacDonald’s fellow panelists Michael Nicin, Dr. Moira Somers, and Adam Reader were instrumental in helping with this messaging.

My key takeaway from Dr. MacDonald’s session concerned something that I am often guilty of. I have spent lots of time building Excel spreadsheets to determine the Internal Rate of Return for CFP decisions and analyzing the optimal age at which to start CPP based on project mortality. Dr. MacDonald raised the point (and I hope I am paraphrasing her correctly here) that the IRR conversation is the wrong place to focus if we’re trying to get people to make the right decision. We should be finding an emotional focus and also dealing with the uncertainty of expenses as the client ages.

Thursday’s session saw Damienne Lebrun-Reid from FP Canada discussing two lively case studies concerning capacity and powers of attorney. This is a frequent source of questions and concerns from students in our financial planning programs. Both case studies dealt with realistic scenarios and provided the panelists with ample material to work with.

Over the 3 days, we were joined by a wonderful group of practicing and aspiring financial planners in our Premium Lounge. There were many great questions and comments. It was fun to connect with former students and friends from coast to coast.

Finally, it was bittersweet this year to mark Cary List’s final Financial Planning Week as CEO of FP Canada. Cary has been a true leader in his time at FP Canada and the profession has benefited greatly during his tenure. We wish Cary all the best in his future endeavours.

We hope that you will be able to join us for next year’s Financial Planning Week, whether it’s in person or virtual. Thanks to all those who helped make this year’s event a success, including Liz Ptak and the event team at FP Canada.  

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