Archive for March, 2009


April is Financial Literacy Month

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Although we certainly do not want to limit our focus on financial literacy to one month out of the year, it is important that we take this time to recommit our efforts to promote financial literacy amidst these challenging times. The question to you is how you promote financial literacy among your clients or students during these tough economic times? What innovative ideas do you have for AFCPE to be an agent of positive change for financial literacy?

If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting.—Benjamin Franklin
I’m living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.—E.E. Cummings


Category General

Ruminations from the Executive Director

Monday, March 9th, 2009

First a little about me. Many of you know that I have a military background. It was there, helping young Airmen work through a myriad of challenges, that I became interested in personal finance. I retired from the Air Force just passed the twenty-year point. Subsequently, did financial counseling for Marines for several years and just prior to assuming this position was contracted into Headquarters Marine Corps guiding the personal finance program for the Marine Corps. That is where my interest turned into a passion as I became more familiar with the types and nature of financial challenges people encountered – especially the abundance of not so reputable entities that took money for services never rendered and left people worse off than when they started. I became a member of AFCPE in 2001, and am delighted to be able to help guide the association’s development.

So what do I see for AFCPE? Growth! The Association was growing, but now stands in a position for extraordinary growth. We are unique; we are not an organization of just credit counselors or an organization of only financial counselors and advisors, but an association of researchers, educators, and practitioners. We are diverse is many ways: occupations, talents, gender, race, and, ethnicity just to mention a few. I think it would be very difficult to pigeonhole and describe the “typical” AFCPE member or certificant. We all have one defining quality though; the passion for personal finance and desire to help people better understand their personal financial situations. We must capitalize on our common quality and bring our diversity (and the unique ideas that diversity engenders) to bear as we grow our association.

Several people have asked, what’s my vision for the organization. I’ve thought about that quite a lot during the first almost year I’ve been the executive director. And you know what – my vision in not necessarily the important one. Having been “Deming-ized” back in the late 80s and early 90s, I think it’s very important that members of the association are integral parts of developing our vision and mission statements. If you’ve noticed, there are not vision and mission statements on our website – there should be! So as part of this first blog post, I’m asking for your ideas.

We know through the great work of our Naming the Profession committee that we have defined what we do as the “Personal Finance” profession.

With that in mind we can start – “The AFCPE mission is to….. Personal Finance by…..”

I look forward to hearing some of your ideas to build our mission statement as we look into the second decade of the twenty-first century.

– Gordon Genovese


Category General

From AFCPE President Glenn Muske

Monday, March 9th, 2009

As I make my first attempt at a blog, the Dow has reached a 6 year low.  What does that mean for those of us in AFCPE?  What can we do?  Is this a “teachable” moment?  And if it is, how and when do we approach the topic and those looking for help?

I would like to say I have the answers, but I don’t.  Perhaps though, we in AFCPE might be able to help get people back on the right track.  I know that in every issue of our newsletter and our journal my knowledge increases.  Plus at every conference I add more tools to my toolkit.  But getting an audience to listen and then getting long-term behavioral change is a challenge. The economic picture we now face is nothing new; maybe somewhat larger but maybe not.  How do we, as individuals and communities, come out the other side stronger and more capable of being in control of our financial situation?

I am a social entrepreneur looking for AFCPE to seize this opportunity.  But how do we get it done?

– Glenn Muske


Category General

How are you using technology in your practice?

Monday, March 9th, 2009

I’m delighted to have been asked to kick off a discussion for the new AFCPE website about I use technology in my work, and I invite fellow members to share what they’ve come upon that is working for them. There’s so much good stuff out there — don’t keep it a secret! How are you using technology in your practice?

Aside from the financial number-crunching software and internet-based applications, I find there are a few areas of any practice that can benefit from a bit of automation here and there. But since we all have different levels of comfort with electronic tools, there may be a little learning curve to climb before it really adds value rather than takes time. But stick with it – with proficiency comes efficiency!

First, meeting face to face when we’re all so busy and pressed for time, gas money, and demands from others, I’ve found that virtual meetings are a great alternative. Using internet based platforms such as Webex and GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar can help you reach out one-to-one or one-to-many without ever leaving your computer. Lounging in your shorts and a t-shirt while conducting business meetings – what could be better! With screen sharing while you’re on a phone call, you can show the client everything you want to share with them on your computer screen. They can see what you’re highlighting and referencing. It’s almost like being right there without the commute, carbon footprint, or traffic.

Next, keeping in touch: sure, e-mail works. And sometimes it can be tweaked a bit to look nice. But using applications such as Constant Contact for newsletters and Evite for event announcements or EventBrite for event and attendee management makes it easy to create templates and copy them for those things which recur. Postage going to 44 cents in May? Faf!

Finally, filling the pipeline. While it’s great to be working with clients and communicating with them using technology, you can also have them schedule appointments without involving you. There’s an internet applications called Appointment Quest and GenBook which provide a way to easily manage your scheduling online. See Appointment Quest and Genbook for more information.

Again, I’m sure there are many other things out there. Please share them and reply to this posting so we all may learn about them.

– Steven Shagrin


Category General