Last March, our entire world shifted because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The stay-at-home orders forced us to rely on technology to communicate and connect. We lost the ability to attend meetings, conferences and networking opportunities in the way we were accustomed to — by physically being together.
I understand firsthand the challenges and frustration of maintaining credits — especially with a full-time job and kids on top of that — and the increasing stress you feel as the deadline approaches each year. It’s not easy to keep up during normal circumstances, and the pandemic has made it way harder than usual.
With the elimination of in-person events, I’ve been on the lookout for creative, entertaining and time-efficient ways to earn my CFP credits. Conferences were an excellent way to get out of the office and network while knocking out credits, but the virtual alternatives haven’t been all that bad.
We all know and love the financial trade publications that help us stay up to date with our industry’s happenings. These publications also have resources that support financial professionals gain credits by attending some of the webinars and presentations they run. My suggestion is to subscribe to various publications and newsletters to know when these presentations are being held. You can also use social media to locate these online resources. The webinars typically cover relevant topics and are hosted by big players in the industry, which is also incredibly helpful for staying up to date on trends in the wealth management space.
Additionally, publications frequently offer quizzes or interactive articles that can count toward credit. Given individual time constraints, taking a few quick “pop quizzes” after reading an article may be more efficient than setting time aside to attend hour-long webinars. For example, Kitces.com has a list of quizzes worth 1.0 credit available to advisers. You can also find quizzes that span 12 months for a total of 12 credits.
A simple Google search will yield dozens of quiz results associated with blog posts that are available to take at your convenience. However — as we all know — some questions can be outside our realm of expertise, so be careful to actually read and absorb the content you’re about to be quizzed on. Also, be sure you are taking a quiz from a reliable source and that it counts for your specific license!
If you need credits quickly, there are of course programs available for purchase. Different CPE styles are available, including live conferences and webcasts that don’t require you to take a quiz. Alternatively, there are self-study courses and videos that require you to take a test at the end to gain credit.
If you plan to purchase a program, be sure to do research and understand exactly what is included. My recommendation is to pick something that will work for your learning style and bandwidth. You want to be sure that you are spending your money wisely and fully benefitting from the program you choose.
It’s tough to gain credits in a timely manner, but we all know it comes with the territory of the profession we chose. My suggestion is to utilize your calendar and block off time dedicated to earning credits. Attending virtual webinars, taking quizzes and completing online programs are easy alternatives to the more “fun” credit-earning methods when we were doing it together in person!
Even though the Covid-19 vaccine rollout has begun, we still are not back to normal. As we await the resumption of regular life, be prepared and take timely advantage of the available resources so you are not struggling last minute.
Jamie Sullivan is CFO of tru Independence.
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As our second lead editor, Cindy Hamilton covers health, fitness and other wellness topics. She is also instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. Cindy received a BA and an MA from NYU.