When it comes to financial planning conferences, there is no shortage of options to choose from. In fact, from events run by membership associations like NAPFA, FPA, and XY Planning Network, to those hosted by vendors, media publications and the like, it’s become quite difficult to figure out which ones are worth the time and cost of attendance — and those that could be skipped altogether.
This is especially true for paraplanners.
At their core, industry conferences are supposed to provide professionals a chance to learn about the latest changes, connect with colleagues and take advantage of the newest technologies — and some do this very well.
The challenge, though, is most financial planning conferences are designed to benefit, well, financial planners.
As such, paraplanners, who are less concerned with practice management guidance or sales strategies, and instead prefer to sharpen skills pertinent to career advancement are often left unfulfilled.
Fortunately, there are a few conferences that adequately address the continuing education needs of both those working on the business and those working in it.
With that in mind, here is our look at the top conferences paraplanners should consider attending in 2018.
FPA NEXGEN GATHERING
NexGen, now part of the Financial Planning Association, is the premier conference to attend for financial planners and paraplanners who are in the first 10-15 years of their career. The FPA NexGen community includes upwards of 2,500 financial planners age 36 or under (a requirement for membership), who share experiences and provide support for one another during the FPA NexGen Gathering.
Much of the popularity around the event is due in part to it’s “open agenda” format, where during the first general session participants vote on the topics throughout the remainder of the conference.
This year, however, the NexGen Gathering is taking a hybrid approach by maintaining the open agenda format but throwing in some structured continuing education presentations as well. For many attendees, this is a welcome addition as they will enjoy both the free-flow setting along with the certainty of knowing some of the topics that will be covered beforehand.
Who Should Attend: While the NexGen community itself has an age required of being 36-or-under, the NexGen Gathering historically has not had any age limit. That said, the event should be on the radar of any financial planner or paraplanner within their first few years in the industry who want to find a community of like-minded peers looking to build successful, long-term financial planning careers.
Details: June 24th to 26th at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus.
Cost: $209 for members of FPA and $259 for non-members. Onsite lodging options are available at $225 for a single room (+ an additional $85 for Saturday) or $140 for a shared room (+ an additional $45 for Saturday).
Conference Website: FPA NexGen Gathering 2018
FINCON (ADVISOR TRACK) 2018
It’s safe to say that the financial planning industry arrived a little late to the digital marketing party. As such, there weren’t a lot of conferences that provided much value on the subject in a way that the financial planning community (with its strict regulatory environment) could connect with.
That is, until 2015 when FinCon — the Financial Bloggers Conference — created an Advisor Track to meet market demand.
While it’s true that financial planners can get a good grasp of digital and inbound marketing at conferences like Hubspot’s INBOUND or Social Media Marketing World, the appeal of FinCon is that it was designed for the financial industry (albeit primarily financial bloggers, not necessarily financial planners or paraplanners).
What’s more, is the ability to learn from fellow advisors who are successfully implementing many of the methods and pick their brains about what does (and doesn’t) work.
Attendees can expect to gain a ton of valuable digital marketing skills that, for paraplanners, can prove invaluable in attracting employers and improving overall career trajectory.
Who Should Attend: Financial planners and paraplanners who are looking to stay ahead of the trends related to blogging, social media, and digital marketing.
Details: September 26th to 29th in Orlando, FL at the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel resort
Cost: The Basic Pass that includes workshops, keynotes, and breakout sessions is $399. The Pro Pass, that includes everything from Basic, as well as pro networking and access to a mixer with the speakers is $599. Both prices will increase on May 18th.
Conference Website: FinCon 2018
The final conference in our list is the newest of the bunch at only three-years young, but arguably the most popular among industry professionals that serve a younger demographic: the XYPN Conference.
Although the XYPN conferences are primarily attended by individuals looking to launch or grow an RIA that primarily serves Gen X and Millennial clients, that doesn’t mean those are the only people that should attend.
In fact, the entire premise of the XY Planning Network is built around advisors that work with clients virtually, which, for virtual paraplanners, makes this conference an ideal place to network and learn how to best support an existing firm — from the latest tech offerings to helping successfully grow a virtual team.
Who Should Attend: Anyone who is working in or looking to start a practice that serves Gen X and Gen Y clients.
Details: September 23rd – 26th at the Union Station Hotel in St Louis, MO.
Cost: $299 for XYPN members and $499 for non-members. Note: the price increases on 5/31.
Conference Website: XYPN LIVE 2018
So which conference(s) do you plan to attend? Are there any that we left out that you feel should be included in the list? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!