Written By: Andi Wrenn
The Value of the AFC®
One of the most important things you can do this year is to share the value you have as an Accredited Financial Counselor ®. Even if you are an AFC® candidate, it is important to be able to communicate your own value.
What do you do?
One of the first things I suggest is being able to tell others what you do in a short and concise way.
- Short – like “Name that Tune”, how few words can you say in order to get across the work you do? It may be something as simple as “I help clients align their finances to their values”.
- Medium – I call this the 30-second elevator pitch. Sharing what you do in the amount of time it would take to ride on the elevator from one floor to the next. It could be something like this, “When I work with couples or individuals, I help them learn about the options available to reach and achieve goals that align with their values and priorities.”
- Long – I suggest this be a description of what you do and how you do your job. Often this could be when you are standing in front of a room giving them information about your or your program. It can be up to 2 minutes. You might go more into the processes or steps you work with most clients.
Whether you are a practitioner, work in research or in the service industry, these ways to share what you do for work will be valuable to have practiced and ready to pull out.
Add to your professional profiles
Do you have the AFC®, or AFC® Candidate after your name on social media? Do you spell out Accredited Financial Counselor® in your professional profile description? Why not? The more people that see the designation, the more they will come to understand that it has value. This is the first step in connecting with others in the field. If you search for those three letters, you can connect with others with your same designation. We can all support each other by connecting, commenting, liking, and sharing the important posts that people in our field are posting each day. There is value in connecting with all of the many fields that AFC®s are in, not just those that do the same thing you do. Connecting researchers with financial counselors can add value. Connecting educators with those who manage programs Accredited Financial Counselors® work adds value (I’m not clear what this means). We all bring something valuable to the table and should connect with each other to build on the value.
Connecting outside the AFC® field
Connecting with other professionals in your community adds value to our profession. Letting others know what an AFC® does helps them make referrals to us, no matter how we use the designation. Attorneys, accountants, mental health professionals, nurses, doctors, financial planners, business owners, nonprofit organizations, educators, and many others can find value in knowing us and how we work in the community. You can reach out via social media to local area professionals, attend professional meetings in your area, or connect with them in person at their business locations. Building relationships outside our field adds value to what we do. Make sure you share www.findanafc.org within your network of professionals. Also make sure your profile is up to date so you can be found through the website.
Professional Designations and Accredited Designations
The last thing I would like to share about knowing your value is being able to show others that the AFC® is one of 10 Accredited Designations. I often show mentees and clients the FINRA Professional Designation page. On there, we look at all the hundreds of examples or names for helping people with finances. You can look at the descriptions for each and learn a lot. Then I take them to the Accredited Designation page. On this page, the list is quite small. AFCPE® has taken the important step to become accredited. This is a valuable and important fact to share with people we work with and know. There are 10 professions listed here, including the AFC®. Isn’t that a great thing to show our value? I believe it is!
I hope you take a few minutes each week to connect to others and share your value throughout the year. Use hashtags like #theValueoftheAFC, #AFC, #AFCPE and more to connect with other AFC®s and other professionals. We can also have our information out there so that potential clients and others who want to do this work can learn about what we do. Go practice those descriptions now with your family, friends, and colleagues so it is well rehearsed and ready to pull out to talk about your profession when it is needed!
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