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Class is in session: Planning professors' book recommendations

School's in session: Financial Planning's annual schools list features 102 CFP Board-registered programs at colleges and universities where prospective planners are learning the skills they need to hone their craft. Now you can, too, from the comforts of your desk, the chaos of your commute or while at home — or really, wherever you prefer to enjoy a good book.

We asked some of the professors featured on the list to share books they would recommend for next gen advisors or young prospective planners. These titles offer insights on a variety of important subjects — how to have complex discussions with clients about their finances, the emotional and psychological aspects of planning, building a practice from the ground up, and even how to decide whether or not planning is the right vocation (read: not just a job).

Financial Planning 3.0 by Richard B. Wagner
Dick Wagner, who passed away last year, was one of the deepest thinkers and greatest philosophers of our profession. Financial Planning 3.0 offers a vision for how planners can help their clients understand their relationship with money. Financial Planning 3.0 introduces the concept of Finology — the study of all aspects of the human relationship with money — as the ultimate liberal art. At my request, Dick created a syllabus for a semester-long course in Finology (which appears as an appendix in the book) that Golden Gate University will soon be rolling out as a new class.

Dave Yeske
Program Director
Golden Gate University
Communication Essentials for Financial Planners by John E. Grable and Joseph W. Goetz
Communication Essentials for Financial Planners lays the foundation for anyone looking to work directly with clients, regardless of their business model. This book helps readers understand the fundamental elements of communication and how to improve your client relationships and enhance trust. It breaks down active listening skills and the understanding of body language to help get to the core of the issue at hand. It also offers a variety of communication styles to help navigate various personalities and situations. Finally, it offers real-world examples where the reader can utilize and practice the strategies offered in this book. It's a must-have for any financial planner's toolkit.

Mary Bell Carlson
University of Georgia
Financial Planning Brand Marketing Representative
Financial Planning Adjunct Faculty
On Practice Management for Financial Advisors, Planners and Wealth Managers by Deena Katz
This book is important for new planners to read because it gives some excellent tips on managing a practice from an industry leader. Deena has been successful in building an excellent financial planning firm through creative strategies for practice management and great relationships with clients.

Laura Ricaldi
Assistant Professor
Personal Financial Planning
Utah Valley University
Advice That Sticks by Moira Somers
In this book, Dr. Somers takes new and experienced planners alike through the dynamics of giving advice. She explores why advice sticks — and doesn’t stick — and how we can influence and implement greater change in our clients based on how we give financial advice. This is a must read for anyone preparing to work with clients [and] help them live their best possible lives.

Josh Harris
Program Director
Clemson University
The Old School Advantage: Timeless Tools for Every Generation by J.N. Whiddon
As a former financial planner, Jim Whiddon does an incredible job of teaching timeless, life principles that can set any planner apart with both clients and employers. He teaches the reader everything from how to deliver a memorable presentation to [making] unforgettable introductions. I have changed the way I follow-up and follow-through because of this book and the acumen shared by Whiddon. It is a great read, with practical advice for anyone who is looking to be a life-changing leader.

Nathan Harness
TD Ameritrade Director of Financial Planning
Instructional Associate Professor
Texas A&M University
7Twelve: A Diversified Investment Portfolio with a Plan by Craig L. Israelsen
This book provides a great outline on creating a well-diversified portfolio that provides better risk-adjusted outcomes. The book provides a great start for building a portfolio based on seven core asset classes with 12 underlying mutual funds. New planners in the industry should have the basic understanding of building a solid portfolio — this book kicks it up a notch by providing experience and research support.

Laura Ricaldi
Assistant Professor
Personal Financial Planning
Utah Valley University
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer
This is a great little book for anyone (especially students) struggling with what direction/career path they should take. It challenges the reader to really look at what skills they are good at, where to go to find out what those skills really are, and what activities bring them joy. It moves them away from focusing on what job they should pursue, focusing instead on the skills and enjoyment that will lead to the right vocation.

Barry Mulholland
Visiting Professor of Practice
Program Director
University of Akron
Lighting the Torch: The Kinder Method of Life Planning by George Kinder
I know a lot of next gen professionals would probably prefer to read a book about honing their tactical asset allocation or retirement decumulation strategies, but I think that financial planners add significant value to their clients by coaching and holding clients accountable — relating to what the clients' deep-seated values, dreams, fears and regrets are relating to money and life. This book helps young planners learn how to help bring some of those deeply rooted or perhaps even subconscious elements to the forefront for their clients when planning for the future.

Luke Dean
Associate Professor
Utah Valley University
The Enduring Advisory Firm: How to Serve your Clients More Effectively and Operate More Efficiently, First Edition by Mark Tibergien and Kim Dellarocca
The Enduring Advisory Firm helps young financial planners learn “how to think” in a manner that will empower them to best serve their clients. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who desires to supercharge the growth of their financial advisory firm!

David Nanigan
Associate Professor of Finance
Personal Financial Planning Program Director
University of California, Fullerton
Three great books on better understanding investments:
1. A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel
2. The Incredible Shrinking Alpha: And What You Can Do to Escape Its Clutches by Larry E. Swedroe and Andrew L. Berkin
3. The Four Pillars of Investments by William Bernstein