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Graphic for Practitioners Corner By Jerry Buchko, MA, AFC®

As a profession, it seems we spend a lot of time talking and writing about the technical fundamentals of personal finance how-tos, like the mechanics of budgeting, debt management, credit, etc. And why not? These are important topics that help lay the foundation for financial literacy and efficacy, and there always seems to be a steady stream of people who are new to the topic and benefit from learning it. And there are even new and interesting twists in these areas over time, like new budgeting tools, as well as changes in the credit, lending and debt landscape, etc.  

The thing is, after a few years of practice, I think most of us usually master these technical fundamentals and they can, on their own, lose much of their ability to hold our fascination and to continue serving as rich ground for nurturing further professional growth.

Photo by Alan Levine

Photo by Alan Levine

In my own case, much of my interest these days has shifted towards more closely exploring and studying the “soft” side of our craft. And for me, what’s ultimately kept these foundational topics and tools interesting and meaningful has been about how clients come to learn them, and with a bit of goal setting and the application of some basic math, can use them to transform their financial lives.

And the benefit in exploring these living aspects of the work, like cognition, learning, decision making, and behavior isn’t just in expanding my understanding of how my clients learn and make sense of the world; I expand my understanding of these aspects of myself as a practitioner at the very same time. Continuing to learn about learning and about how I also make sense of the world around me is a piece of continuing to evolve and grow in my work.

So how do you feel about this? Is it important to continue to grow meaningfully as a practitioner? Why? And how are you going about it, if you are? What part do other practitioners and professional colleagues play in this process of growth?