Here at the Future Proof Festival, we’re all about celebrating the potential that the future brings. That’s why it was so affirming to have a conversation with Jon Dauphiné, the CEO of the Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP). The FFP is a charity launched in 1995 with the goal of expanding access to pro bono financial planning for people in crisis or need.
Since Jon began leading the organization, which has now helped more than half a million people, it has developed its own platform for matching advisors to volunteer opportunities, as well as serving vulnerable people, like at-risk seniors, veterans and those fighting health problems, like cancer.
We sat down with Jon to discuss what the future of philanthropy looks like, how the idea of giving back was able to bring fierce competitors together and why pro bono work needs to be embraced by the financial services industry. Here’s what he had to say.
Future Proof: We’re going to be hearing from a lot of voices and witnessing a range of talents at the Future Proof Festival. What aspect of the financial services industry are you going to be representing at the event?
Jon Dauphiné: The Foundation for Financial Planning—and my own personal stance—is all about giving back. We’re a bridge between the financial services industry and an entire ecosystem of nonprofit organizations that help lower income people improve their lives and attain better financial security.
We like to see ourselves as fostering a movement to bring service to those who’ve traditionally not been able to access it, but who can benefit enormously. I’m hoping to be a catalyst while I’m at Future Proof to get more and more people involved in the movement.
FP: What’s this movement look like?
Jon: We have partnerships with the CFP Board, the Financial Planning Association and with NAPFA, and then we have leaders within the advisory industry that have joined with us. They compete robustly in the marketplace, but when it comes to our mission, they join hands in common purpose.
We have competitors representing custodians, asset managers, technology vendors, RIAs, planning firms and more. When we all get together, rather than focusing on the marketplace competition—competition that’s obviously very important and robust—we talk about how we can figure out ways to bring more and more service to lower income households.
FP: What’s an example of competitors joining forces around an objective like philanthropy?
Jon: During the pandemic we realized that most pro bono service was provided with a bricks-and-mortar, face-to-face approach. A lot of the programs that we funded were not super tech-forward.
But we wanted to bring more tech solutions to these engagements, so that they could be done virtually and achieve more scale and impact.
We created a tech committee with folks from fintech firms like Orion, eMoney and Envestnet, with leaders from nonprofit partners like CFP Board, FPA, and NAPFA.
CFP professionals involved with pro bono work also joined in the effort, as well as representatives from our grantees who lead the programs we fund. Their advice was invaluable as we conducted research and developed a platform.
Now we’re piloting a tech solution with one of our grantees, a nonprofit out of San Diego. It should conclude in about six weeks and we’ll be offering it to more partners later in the year.
That’s just one example of competitors in the industry coming together and giving us their best thinking on how to solve a problem. They don’t wear their corporate badge or hold back on sharing their thinking; they collaborate with each other and with us.
FP: Many pro bono clients talk about the apprehension they have to overcome when first meeting with an advisor. What can the industry do to alleviate that feeling, not just for pro bono clients, but for all potential clients? Why is wealth management so scary to first timers?
Jon: Money is a sensitive topic. For so many people, especially those struggling with money, there’s stigma and shame. There’s a fear that they’ll be judged.
Money’s scary. Not just for pro bono clients, but just for many people, generally. They may feel like they have too much debt or that they’ve made a lot of mistakes. They don’t want to showcase that to a stranger. Even husbands and wives can keep secrets from each other when it comes to finance.
The key here is empathy. People don’t want sympathy; they want empathy. Professionals need to have a non-judgmental and open approach. They need to foster rapport with their prospective client, whether paid or pro bono.
Empathy is especially salient in a pro bono context because a lot of times folks needing financial planning have no personal financial education. They’ve made mistakes. Many are drowning in debt. They have a lot of pressures that perhaps more affluent clients don’t.
It’s very, very important that they don’t feel judged and that they feel they have a trusted partner in their advisor.
FP: We’ve designed the Future Proof Festival to be interdisciplinary. What lessons can the financial services industry borrow from other professions?
Jon: One of the true marks of a real profession is when its services become so valuable that it needs to be available across our society, not just to the fortunate few who can afford it. If you look at the legal profession, the medical profession, the dental profession, they have robust pro bono traditions. Because we all know that those are essential skills to help all people at different times of their lives—whether they have money or not.
I believe financial advice and planning is like that. It’s reached that level of importance. People need to be able to access it at different times in their lives.
We are honoring the financial planning profession and the skills that come with it when we foster and nourish a pro bono tradition. To me, that’s very inspiring.
FP: It’s very inspiring to all of us. In addition to bringing your mission to the Future Proof Festival, what are you looking forward to about being in Huntington Beach, California, in less than a month?
Jon: On a personal level, I love the beach as much as anybody. I love live music. I love the format of Future Proof. It’s so cool how this is being structured. It feels really fresh.
Unfortunately, I don’t know how to surf, but I’m looking forward to being with the financial services community. I love the forward-looking nature of the conference.
You know, I also like the fact that it’s encouraging people to bring their whole self, their musical skills, their own life stories. That’s great.
We’re all really starved for community and being together, in-person. Not just for the sake of learning, but having fun together. That’s what this is going to be about, and I’m really excited for it.
The Foundation for Financial Planning leads several national pro bono programs with its nonprofit partners; provides grants to support pro bono programs nationwide; connects financial advisors to pro bono opportunities; makes free training and resources available to volunteers and clients; and raises awareness about pro bono throughout the profession.
For more information on pro bono financial planning, or to support the mission of the Foundation for Financial Planning, please visit: FFPprobono.org/donate.
John Swolfs is the Chief Content Officer at Advisor Circle, a product studio for growth-oriented financial professionals. John is responsible for creating dynamic programs for Advisor Circle’s world-class events which include Future Proof festival and Exchange, the world’s leading ETF event.
Future Proof is set to bring together the world’s most prominent figures and emerging minds to explore the intersection of money, tech, culture and impact.
Future Proof brings together an entirely new community of financial advisors, institutional investors, asset managers, fintech startups, investors, financial creators, activists, artists, musicians and other key stakeholders around an unprecedented experience and agenda.
Future Proof’s Wheel of Impact promotes the power of giving in a fun, dynamic and social way. With a donation of any size, attendees can have the ability to spin the wheel, determining where the donation will go and how it will be used. Land on the “mystery” selection and have a chance to win items, trips and other experiences.
We love some fun at Future Proof, but we know not everything can be fun and games. Stop by booth 405 for a one-on-one consultation with the FP transitions team on all things advisor related. Don’t be shy if you have questions or want to know more about any aspect of running your practice; the Advisor Accelerator has you covered.
Join your fellow peers for an all access experience with indie pop sentation Fitz and the Tantrums. This excluisve event is a can’t miss experience for any music fan.
Future Proof does nothing small. Join us on Monday morning for the grand unveiling of our half-mile beachfront boardwalk complete with activations, meeting areas, multiple stages, and everything else you need to make your Future Proof experience truly one of a kind.
The popularity of fine dining has exploded with the rise of celebrity chefs, Instagram, and popular TV shows. But there is more to food than pretty Instagram posts and fancy brunches. Join Morningstar and celebrity chef Charlotte Langley as she explores and educates us on the value of sustainable food. Located on the Surf City Stage, pre-registration is required.
Climb up to the top of Vanguard’s observation deck and take in the aerial view of the Future Proof Boardwalk. The observation deck is not the only thing you will find at booth 1108, stop by the lounge to take a meeting or spend some time with Vanguard’s team and learn more about the value of ownership.
We have all been to countless industry events and seen hundreds of half-drank water bottles left just about everywhere people sit down to connect. Future Proof is doing away with the plastic bottle altogether. In partnership with SSGA, we are giving every attendee an insulated reusable water bottle that can be refilled at our hydration station. Visit the Hydration Station next to the Hyatt footbridge to refill and reuse.
Are you like the rest of us and cringe at your headshot? Cringe no more. We have partnered with LinkedIn to create a professional headshot studio. Stop by booth 302 to get your next favorite profile photo and don’t forget to enter into the free premium membership draw.
One of the best things about attending the Future Proof festival is all the different settings and venues to connect and network with peers and colleagues. Logicly’s Tiki Hut is a must-see, serving up vacation vibes and craft cocktails for you to sit back, soak up the scene as you relax, and take a moment to chat with your friends at booth 307
If you don’t post to social media, did you really attend Future Proof? Bust out your phone and snap a selfie or group shot in front of the Motley Fool ETFs Wall of Influence and let the community know you the world’s first wealth festival #FutureProofAC
We could all use a little peace and quiet in our lives. Join renowned mediation expert Mona Sharma for a guided meditation and breathwork session to train the mind and body to optimize health and happiness. Join us on Tuesday morning at the Surf City Stage to start your day peacefully. *RSVP is not required; however, those that RSVP will be entered to win a giveaway.
Link to RSVP: www.vrglwealth.com/futureproof-2022
The world of sports is more than just the games. In this unique session, Bloomberg Chief Corresponded Jason Kelly hosts financial advisorJoe Mclean and his superstar sports clients for an in-depth look at the changing world of sports and why more athletes are embracing investing and building wealth beyond the court.
What is the old saying, dance as if no one is watching? That could not be more true at Future Proof. Relax and lose yourself as you vibe out at the silent disco. Located at booth 402, USCF provides the tunes, and you provide the grooves.
No festival is complete without an art exhibit. Future Proof is no different. Watch as Future Proof artist Tony Concep’ genius brings the living mural to life over the 3-day festival. Be sure to stop by booth 400 and tell Tony and Reggie how much you appreciate the art.
Join 30+ executives from the country’s top-ranked RIA firms for a VIP evening reception.
If you are an executive leader (or owner) of a fast-growing RIA firm and are interested in participating get in touch with us today. Space is extremely limited.
The Future Proof Festival experience roles on as we host our annual music festival. This year’s lineup features an array of artists and musicians covering everything from rock classics to hip hop. Come early and stay late sampling the numerous food trucks and bars. Don’t miss headliners rap legend Big Boi and indie pop sensation Fitz and the Tantrums showcase their talents.* * admission is included with your Future Proof Pass.
Relax and unwind as you connect with the Future Proof community, as you enjoy and evening of tasty bites, and delicious cocktails as celebrity DJ, DJ Mick sets the vibe as the sunsets on the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
Future Proof is all about experiences. Rub shoulders with Big Boi in this invite-only meet & greet in the Future Proof green room.
Recgonized as one of if not the most influential podcasts Invest Like the Best records live from Future Proof. Join host Patrick O’Shanunessy and his guest for indepth look at the markets, investing and the world of business.
The Pacific Highway stage is the most versatile stage at Future Proof. With countless setup options, the PCH Stage is your go-to spot for industry insight and innovation, all while staying current with the latest trends in money, culture, tech and impact.
As the beating heart of the boardwalk, the Ocean stage will feature seating for over 500 and have the look and feel of a concert venue on the beach. The ocean stage will host a range of exciting content from industry-changing keynotes to the closing concert featuring today’s biggest musical acts.
Podcasts are all the rage, as they excite and entertain audiences from afar. Future Proof changes the game, as we invite your favorite podcasters to host their shows live from the festival. Forget passive listening. Future Proof’s Live Podcast sessions allow you to interact directly with your favorite podcast creators as they record live episodes just feet from the Pacific Ocean.
You’ve got questions and e we have a dedicated team of helpful staff walking the grounds, and an attendee concierge desk stationed on the boardwalk to help get you answers. Don’t be shy. We are happy to help.
Perhaps no sport combines art, culture, and athletics more than skateboarding. These all collide at booth 102, where you can watch street artists design custom skateboard decks. Check in with the team from Morningstar, and you might find yourself taking one home.
We all know coffee is the fuel that helps us survive the day, and we all know there is nothing worse than stale coffee in a hotel banquet room that has sat for hours. Grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee throughout the day at any of our high-end coffee carts located throughout the Boardwalk.
Ready to mingle with fellow female financial advisors? The Female Advisor Network Happy Hour is where you’ll want to be!
Held at X BAR, this is a great opportunity to network with other women during Future Proof.
Future Proof brings together the best and brightest advisors from across the country. This invite-only exclusive event allows the Investopedia Top 100 advisors to reconnect, share insights and celebrate their achievement of being named to this prestigious list.
Join 25+ key financial media, industry reporters, and other press for a media-only evening reception.
If you are a member of the press and are interested in participating get in touch with us today. Space is extremely limited.
As a member of the press, you will have the opportunity to RSVP for both receptions on Sunday and Monday.
Hear podcast legend and host of Masters In Business Barry Ritholtz for a can’t miss live recording of the most influential podcast covering the world of business.
Maximize your time at Future Proof by participating in a 10-person advisor networking dinner organized by us and industry partners. Held at popular downtown Huntington Beach restaurants, our organized Advisor Networking Dinners will provide you with a one-of-a-kind culinary experience while making new friends and catching up with old ones. Space is extremely limited. Must RSVP.
Just because you are away from home it does not mean you need to miss your workout. Start each day with a HIIT beach workout hosted by the Future Proof communities Jess Bost. * space is limited, preregisteration required
Future Proof puts a value on your health and ability to decompress from the grind of festival life. Begin your day with a focus on centering body and mind for a day of meetings, networking, and more.
Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Set the tone for each day as you take the time to relax your mind, center your thoughts and prepare yourself for the day ahead.
We are in Surf City U.S.A – of course we are going to have surf lessions. Whether you are catching barrels are just learning to stand come out be part of the community and tick learning to surf off your bucket list.
Investing has become mainstream and nowhere is this better encompassed than in the new documentary film This is Not Financial Advice. Join us as we invite the cast and crew for an open conversation on the mindset of today’s investors, and take a closer look at investing as a cultural phenomenon and show clips from the movie.
Cultural icons and financial influencers Earn Your Lesuire host their wildly popular Market Mondays Show live from the Future Proof stage. This can’t miss sessions ties together market events and education to help investors be better invested.