I had two good reasons for joining the FPA’s pro bono committee in September of 2012, just one day after I learned I’d passed my CFP exam. Helping others was one of them, of course. But there was another motivation.

While I had spent my entire career in financial services, I wanted to make sure I was up for asking people direct questions about their annual income and personal money habits as I began my new calling as an adviser. Polite people don’t ask these questions. It is a culturally unnatural act — equivalent to sticking one’s hand into an open chest cavity. I needed to watch this done by experienced professionals.

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