“All men by nature desire knowledge.” — Aristotle
If you are reading this, you are most likely a student seeking knowledge. Aristotle would suggest this seeking of knowledge is innate. Modern social scientists have developed several theories as to why we make the time and financial investments to improve. Their theories may help us understand why we make the investment in knowledge.
One very popular theory, Human Capital theory by Gary Becker, a Nobel Prize–winning American economist and professor at the University of Chicago, suggests we make this investment to enhance our skills and abilities, thus improving our ability to produce. That improved production leads to greater rewards to us and pays a return on our investment. Another theory, Signalling theory, propped up by another Nobel Prizing–winning American economist Michael Spence, proposes that we make this investment as a sign to others, a signal, that we have the skills and abilities to get the job done. We acquire credentials to affirm to others that we “got this.”
My Pursuit of Knowledge
As I near one of those milestone birthdays this year, I have reflected back on my educational experiences. I graduated several years, OK decades, ago from a very good business school and set out to conquer the world. I felt I had all of the knowledge I needed to succeed and did not feel that additional knowledge or credentials were necessary or even helpful. In fact, I viewed people with additional credentials with some level of disdain. After all, why waste the time to earn a degree or credential when the world was there to conquer?
This changed rather dramatically about a decade ago when I was sitting in a mandatory continuing education class. My financial licenses required biannual courses to help me keep up with the industry. It occurred to me that I could use these opportunities to actually learn! What a radical thought …
So I set out to earn one of the most important credentials in the financial advisor world: Certified Financial Planner™. The certification process is a significant investment of time and resources — a series of courses followed by a rigorous exam. While it took me a couple of years, I am proud today to be a Certified Financial Planner™ professional.
If you believe Becker, the CFP® certification process develops a skillset that will make you more productive. As the guy who had all of the answers, I found I really had all of the questions. The CFP® certification process certainly helped me become a better financial planner.
If you believe Spence, the certification process provides me with a credential that signals to others that I have made an investment that will pay dividends to them. I care enough about them to make that investment in myself.
It Doesn’t End There
I am in a season of life where I quote my father fairly often. My dad used to say, “If you are not moving forward, you are losing ground.” Making the investment to improve your skills or to send a signal is the right step. For financial advisors, the CFP® certification has been described as the gold standard.
My personal experience has been so life changing that I went on to earn my Master’s in Personal Financial Planning and am now a PhD candidate in Personal Financial Planning.
Perhaps, Aristotle was right after all.
The great news is Johnson & Wales University is a board-registered CFP® certification program through the MS — Finance degree program. Find more information here or contact Online Admissions: 855-JWU-1881 or firstname.lastname@example.org.