The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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New financial planning classes to feed growing field’s demand for professionals

A new series of financial planning classes have been made available this semester through a partnership with American online broker company TD Ameritrade.
Nathan Harness, assistant professor and TD Ameritrade director of financial planning, said the sponsorship is aimed toward offering financial planning classes to the entire campus and will likely be accompanied by the addition of an undergraduate minor by fall 2015.
Harness said the academic standing of Texas A&M, as well as its geographical location in relation to financial job centers, were factors in the partnership.
“Our proximity to Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio creates a natural market of opportunity that many other universities don’t have,” Harness said.
Jeanie Long, agricultural economics program manager, said students who aren’t in a finance or business major are able to take financial planning classes too.
“Some students take our courses for personal knowledge, learning valuable skills like money management and investment planning,” Long said. “But many students will complete all six courses with the goal of sitting for the CFP Exam and becoming a Certified Financial Planner.”
Long said the financial planning industry is rapidly growing, and there is an immediate need for young financial planning professionals with a variety of backgrounds.
“Some students automatically think financial planning is about analytics, numbers and spreadsheets,” Long said. “In fact, financial planning is about building personal relationships with clients and helping them plan for their future needs and goals with sound financial decisions.”
Harness said employers are calling him every week looking for students who can come to work in their companies and create pathways to ownership.
Mariel Braun, senior agricultural economics major and Student Financial Planning Association president, said she hopes the program will also help to meet the need for growing the number of women in the field.
Harness said the Bureau of Labor estimates financial planning to grow at a rate of 27 percent for the next 10 years and that this growth will come from a younger generation.
“I think there has been a perception among the younger generation that financial planning is a profession for 50-year-olds who love numbers and spend all day selling on the phone.”
Harness said this stereotype is simply not the case, and that he and his team are creating a website campaign titled “This is Our Profession” to showcase the different backgrounds many financial planners have.
“Our desire is to show students the story of young, diverse financial planners from across the country who are painting a very different picture,” Harness said.
Long said as the word gets out, they plan on creating other ways for students to get involved.
“We also offer an extended learning program for those students who have already graduated from college and wish to fulfill the requirements for the CFP designation, but don’t need academic credit,” Long said.

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