In a pre-pandemic world, continuing education (CE) credits were easy to acquire. If you attend enough events, conferences, etc., it was impossible to not collect sufficient CE to renew your various certifications. That’s because CE credits to maintain one’s CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM (or other) designation were available at local and national Financial Planning Association (FPA) and NAPFA conferences (including my personal favorite, FPA’s NexGen Gathering), events hosted by mutual fund companies, and others.
Naturally, the coronavirus has impacted both travel and the existence of conferences for the short-term. Fortunately, there are still a multitude of options for those looking to collect CE credits. This includes those very organizations mentioned above making a pivot to Zoom meetings. There are also CE’s available from publications, such as the FPA’s Journal of Financial Planning (free for FPA members), Financial Planning magazine (free for those that register), and Financial Advisor magazine (also free).
Not all Continuing Education (CE) is Created Equal
Unfortunately, not all continuing education (CE) credits are created equal. At the risk of appearing ungrateful to those organizations providing CE credits for free, I must
say type that there is some pretty disappointing stuff out there. Without naming anyone, I’ll use an example of some CE credit I completed recently:
Question #1: Of the 20 bond mutual funds listed in this article, which fund had the highest 10-year investment return?
Question #2: Of the 20 bond mutual funds listed in this article, which fund had the highest one-year investment return?
Yikes! While completing the exercise alluded to above was exceptionally easy, it certainly defeats the purpose of maintaining one’s license/designation by earning continuing education credits: education!
Kitces.com Members Section for Continuing Education (CE) Credits for Financial Advisors
It goes without saying that Michael Kitces is the man when it comes to financial planning content. And for those bold enough to consume a sufficient amount of caffeine to digest the posts at Kitces.com, there lies a second opportunity: earning CE credits, once you’ve ponied up what’s necessary for a member subscription.
Having just plunked down the necessary cash myself to join the Kitces.com member section, allow me to give my impression of the Kitces.com member section – with the focus being earning CE credits.
I opted for the $149 annual membership, which represents the mid-tier in the Kitces.com member section offering. This gave me access to historical CE quizzes. (I was looking to rack up lots of CE, given the extra downtime afforded to me during the pandemic lockdown. No, I don’t have kids.)
Having completed several of the CE quizzes on the Kitces.com member section, I can confidently say that the $149 is well worth the price for earning CE credits. True to Kitces’s billing, you will actually learn something. Whatsmore, I’ve enjoyed it immensely; it has been absolutely fascinating to comb through the posts on Kitces.com. It is very informative!
Dated Material in the Mid-Tier Offering
Worth noting about the archived CE on the Kitces.com member section is – if you go back far enough – some of the material is dated, and not updated. Amidst the archived content, there were not any updates/corrections made to amend the dated material (at least that I could tell).
Tax law changes are a good example of this; older content detailing Roth conversions (still valid) discusses the Roth recharertization provision, with no strikethrough or note added to explain that this provision no longer exists.
Again, the reading outdated material would be the case were you to use any older CE material. Whatsmore, one could only access this dated material on the Kitces.com member seciton if you opt for the mid-tier option, and not less expensive $9/month plan instead. The less expensive option does not give you access to archived (dated) content.
If you’ve ever read anything on Kitces.com, you probably know that you need to give yourself some time. For me, the CE’s weren’t something I could fly through. I needed to take time to review the content – likely spending more than one hour for each credit hour I received. (I’m a slow reader.) For me, the content was dense. But, that’s a good thing; I learned a lot!
My time spent to earn CE’s via Kitces.com was further increased over the one hour per CE credit unit earned because I made notes, or shared interesting things on Twitter about what I just learned!
Worth Every Penny
I’m quite satisfied with the CE credits on the Kitces.com members section. I look forward to drinking more coffee and continuing to nerd out!