New college program offers financial planning for families

By Heidi Staseson | December 6, 2004 | Last updated on December 6, 2004
3 min read

(December 6, 2004) Toronto’s Seneca College is reaching out to a new type of student — family members who are seeking to increase their financial planning knowledge. Starting in January, the college will launch under its part-time studies curriculum a three-course Family Financial Planning Program, designed as a general interest alternative to the certificate program already being offered to business students seeking their CFP designation.

“This is one of those programs that we believe is going to appeal to a broad spectrum of people,” says Barb Shannon, chair, Business Studies, Faculty of Continuing Education and Training.” Anyone looking to gain a better understanding of their finances or to plan for their financial future would benefit from taking any or all of the courses in the Family Financial Planning Program. Students will learn about financial options, be aware of the risks, and learn to create a strategic plan for their own financial goals.”

The program includes courses on retirement and estate planning, personal tax planning, and investments and financial planning. Courses span 10 weeks, over consecutive Saturdays, for a total of 30 hours per course, at a cost of $200. While students will not receive academic credit for the program and no examinations are required, Shannon says those who complete the full course load will receive recognition of achievement.

Registration for the new program, which will be capped at 30 students, began last Monday, and Shannon says so far the numbers are encouraging.

“We’ve had some people who are in their early 30s who are just starting to think about financial planning — they’re not so much worried about the retirement and estate planning yet but they’re more interested in investments and that sort of thing,” Shannon explains. “We have other people who are a little older than that, who are absolutely focusing on the retirement and estate planning. [And with the] personal tax course, obviously, it doesn’t really matter how old you are.”

Instructors are specialists within the financial services industry, each of whom Shannon says is well known within the industry and possesses affiliated designations such as CFP, CSC and LL.B. As for course materials, instructors will rely on a combination of guest speakers and appropriate industry resources. “There’s going to be a lot of current material. We’re not relying on textbook material, which often becomes dated very quickly.”

“This is a very hands-on type of program, so the teachers will bring in periodicals — Advisor’s Edge might be an appropriate resource — or mutual fund prospectuses, for example. They’re going to bring in newspaper articles and information from the banking institutions. All of these people are in the industry in some way or another so they have access to a lot of that kind of thing.”

Shannon says the use of plain language will be an important part of the program. “Oftentimes [in the CFP program], people will ask questions about terms and definitions the instructors are using in class because they’re unfamiliar terms to them because they aren’t in the industry,” she explains. “Just the whole concept of what’s a mutual fund and how does it work? Or should you have a trust in your will? All of those kinds of things really got us thinking that there’s a general-interest market here.”

Filed by Heidi Staseson, Assistant Editor, Advisor’s Edge,


Heidi Staseson