Eleanor Blayney, CFP® is CFP Board’s Consumer Advocate. A financial planning practitioner for more than 20 years, Eleanor has seen it all. As Consumer Advocate, Eleanor works to educate the public on making smart financial moves and the value of financial planning. Frequently quoted by the national media and a sought-after speaker, Eleanor provides a healthy dose of wit and wisdom for those looking to improve their financial lives through the power of planning. Recognized as one of the pioneers in the profession, Eleanor also helped to shape the Financial Planning Practice Standards that guide the work of the more than 70,000 CFP® professionals across the U.S.
Eleanor strongly believes that families of all income levels should have access to professional financial planning assistance and that the financial world is too complex to shoulder alone. She makes financially complex ideas and strategies accessible and understandable. And she understands the critical importance of enforceable ethical standards to foster the trust needed to provide financial advice.
From the Desk of CFP Board’s Consumer Advocate
Consumer confidence is a powerful economic force. Our attitudes and expectations about the future can determine what that future will look like. When confidence is high and growing, employers hire more workers, entrepreneurs take on more risk to grow business, investments produce greater returns.
Many Americans believe, however, that it is hard to muster confidence these days. There is just so much uncertainty. Financial success appears to be completely out of the average consumer’s control, given fiscal cliffs, tax and entitlement reform, market volatility, and global unrest. Add in the 24/7 news cycle, and the media’s bias toward the dramatic and the negative, and you certainly don’t have the best ingredients for a positive outlook on the future.
But here is an interesting finding: financial planning is a reliable and proven way to increase consumer confidence. In a 2012 study conducted by CFP Board and the Consumer Federation of America, those Americans who reported that they were living comfortably, are able to meet their financial goals, and feel in control of their finances are significantly more likely to have prepared a financial plan that those who did not. Further, this confidence is not simply a byproduct of wealth. Middle-income Americans who do their financial planning are more positive about their financial futures than high-income Americans who do not bother to plan. Clearly, it’s not having money, but having a plan for it, that is most important.
The best way to get a financial plan in place is to find a professional financial planner who can be trusted to act in your best interest: someone who is qualified by education, experience, and examination to provide comprehensive advice on personal finance. Of the hundreds of advisor titles and designations, there is one that ensures these qualifications are met, and that the advisor is bound by strict ethical requirements. This is the CFP® certification.
As CFP Board’s Consumer Advocate, I am a crusader for building consumers’ financial confidence, and sharing the “good news” message that financial planning and working with a CFP® professional are ways to take control of your financial future. Please join me on CFP Board’s consumer website – www.LetsMakeAPlan.org – for articles, education, and blogs on financial planning topics, as well as advice and tools for finding a CFP® professional. There you can start building the confidence you’ll need to survive and thrive in today’s uncertain world.
Eleanor Blayney, CFP®