At one time, people trusted one insurance company to cater to all of their financial needs including planning for their future wealth. Over the last several years, there’s been a paradigm shift in how people think and act resulting in an increased demand for qualified financial planners.

Jeff Jahnke (BS ’95, MS ’98), an Oshkosh-based independent financial planner who completed the Wisconsin Financial Services Institute (WFSI) program in 2009, decided to study and sit for the Certified Financial Planner, or CFP®, certification for several reasons, including to gain a competitive advantage.

“Most financial planners will claim to do what I do,” said Jahnke. “But if you put their business card next to mine, there are three letters after my name that communicate the difference.”

At a time when many individuals are looking for ways to make the most of what they have, the designation has done good things for Jahnke’s business, which has several offices throughout the state of Wisconsin.

“When the public sees the CFP® designation behind my name, they know I will protect their best interests,” said Jahnke.

The WFSI was created to provide quality, convenient, continuing education courses and programs for local professionals to get the education they need to receive the CFP®  designation.

Before the WFSI, individuals wanting to receive the designation would participate in long-distance learning, which meant attending classes in Chicago or Minneapolis, or self-study programs.

“As a graduate of UW Oshkosh, I knew the campus like the back of my hand,” said Jahnke. “Classes were held on Friday mornings which was convenient because I booked that time into my weekly work schedule.”

Offering classes once a week at a set time often alleviates the stress of evening courses, which change days and times, especially for those individuals with small children and other commitments.

Choosing to participate in the WFSI program has additional benefits, too.

“It’s not just book learning,” said Jahnke. “The added value is the connection you have to professors like Scott Beyer, professor of finance, and Peter Westort, professor of accounting.”

Some CFP® courses will teach students only what they need to pass the CFP® designation test, but the WFSI takes another approach by incorporating guest lecturers to speak on other industry topics.

“Other programs may be cheaper or allow you to study at your own pace, but the WFSI’s program is a hybrid of teaching you what you need to know to pass the test and giving you information to grow as a professional,” said Jahnke.