Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

FCS Academic Programs and Financial Planning Industry: Partnering to Meet Growing Demand

Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

FCS Academic Programs and Financial Planning Industry: Partnering to Meet Growing Demand

Article excerpt

As the profession of home economics evolved from its early mission of preparing women for domestic roles, teaching and research on the management of financial resources within the household became more prominent. Paralleling that evolution was the development of financial planning-a profession to help households achieve their goals through the management of financial resources. Family and consumer sciences-based family finance programs offer unique preparation for graduates who enter financial planning, a career field projected to have significant growth, especially for women and minorities. Although a number of challenges threaten the future viability of family finance programs, proactive partnerships may offer new strategies for sustaining these programs.

Since the turn of the 20th century and the coalescence of home economics, the use of money within the household has been an issue of study. In fact, Chown (1901) noted:

There are scores of people glad to be convinced of the possibility of better methods of living, willing to study scientific laws, in so far as they will save money or give better results for money spent .... (p. 107-108).

Now known as family and consumer sciences (FCS), the profession can boast of a century of financial education of youth and adults in a variety of formal and informal settings. In recent decades, financial education, research, and practice has intersected with the burgeoning profession of financial planning, the goal of which is to help individuals and families manage their financial resources to achieve short- and long-term goals. An odd paradox frames financial planning and the FCS-based family finance programs that prepare graduates to become financial planners. Financial planning grew out of the need for professional financial managers to assist households; yet the value of family finance programs, which have the same mission, is generally unrecognized.

To further explore this paradox, three issues are considered. First, the history of financial planning and its intersection with FCS is traced. In short, it offers some perspective on the often-asked question, "why isn't this program in the college of business?" second, some of the dangers and opportunities that might lie ahead for family finance programs are explored. Finally, it advocates proactive partnerships to maintain the viability of family finance programs in the future.


Rattiner (2000) traced the history of financial planning to a 1969 meeting that led to the 1970 founding of what came to be known as the International Association for Financial Planning (IAFP)1 and gave voice to the "first broad-scope service profession to emerge in recent years" (p. 1). The objective of financial planning was to integrate the delivery of financial products and services to the consumer on the basis of service, not sales. With the birth of comprehensive financial planning came the need for education of financial planners, the 1971 establishment of the College for Financial Planning, and the designation of the first 42 Certified Financial Planner, or CFP(TM) licensees in 1973.

Although not without competition from other industry designations, the CFP certification (registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2002) is accepted as the consumer standard for qualified financial planners, and efforts are underway to expand that acceptance internationally (CFP Board of Standards, 2001).

In 1985, the College for Financial Planning became an independent entity, and the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (the CFP Board) was formed to administer the designation and register academic programs that offered a certificate, undergraduate, or graduate education in financial planning. Content coverage must include the financial planning process, cash flow management, insurance, investments, income taxes, education and retirement planning, and estate transfer. …

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