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What is NAPFA?

NAPFA (pronounced Nap-Fah) stands for the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors®. Of course that doesn’t tell you much, does it? Clients and prospective clients sometimes ask me for more information, so I thought it would be worth an explanation here. I’ll start with my personal experience, and then share the official description.

When I joined NAPFA in 2005, the decision was based on the fact that the organization is exclusively dedicated to supporting fee-only independent financial advisors. This kind of focus appealed to me. Personally, I enjoy being a boutique-sized advisor. I doubt you’ll ever find me joining a firm where you have to scroll through a directory to find me. At the same time, I want to remain highly engaged in our ever-evolving financial industry. I want to not only know what’s going on, but to hear and contribute to the conversations and opinions that are shaping our investment world.

And that’s where NAPFA comes in. The group has helped us remain small and nimble, as well as connected and informed. I have been to several NAPFA conferences, where I’ve learned important, best-practice ideas. I’ve been able to regularly participate in knowledgeable focus groups of fiduciary-minded advisors who have provided me with insight, inspiration and valuable networking opportunities on an ongoing basis. These advisors, whom I have come to consider as friends, have helped me identify and develop new ideas that I can then bring home to our clients.

Now to a summary of a more formal definition, also available at NAPFA’s website (www.napfa.org):

NAPFA Registered Financial Advisor ® is the top level of membership in the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). All NAPFA‐Registered Financial Advisors® must have three years of comprehensive financial planning experience and have a sample comprehensive financial plan pass a peer review process. Current requirements also include a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and either the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP) designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Personal Financial Specialist (CPA/PFS) credential. All NAPFA‐Registered Financial Advisors® must also adhere to NAPFA’s Fiduciary Oath, Standards of Membership and Affiliation, and Bylaws. NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors must also complete continuing education requirements of 60 hours every two years. All NAPFA‐Registered Financial Advisors® provide investment and/or financial advice on a strictly Fee‐Only basis as defined by NAPFA.

By committing to NAPFA membership as described above, I’m proud to have demonstrated how important the fee-only, fiduciary level of client care is to our core services. Plus, being a NAPFA member is just plain fun.