Kenneth Robinson, JD, CFP®, Practical Financial Planning
Hearing Ken Robinson talk about his job will inspire anyone to find their passion. “I love what I’m doing so much, I resent that I can’t do it all the time. I hate that I even have to stop to go to sleep,” he says. He explains that financial planning is not just a career, it’s a calling. “It’s what I’m meant to do,” he says. Though it’s clear that Ken has found his purpose in this role, his route to get there was a circuitous one.
As an undergraduate at Cornell, Ken started as a double major in music and engineering, eventually graduating with a bachelor’s in history. He credits this well-rounded education with providing him the intellectual foundation for his future. After leaving Cornell, he attended law school and became a practicing lawyer. “I always wanted to be a lawyer, until I became one,” he says, laughing.
Ken’s interest in financial planning was first piqued in the mid-1990’s by The Wealthy Barber, a best-selling book on achieving financial independence. “I was blown away by the power of compound earnings,” he says. Though it’s been more than two decades since Ken first discovered this book, he still keeps a copy on his shelf with the compound earnings example bookmarked.
Because of his background in law, Ken was drawn to the financial planning model that put clients’ interests first. While attending a CFP® conference, he spoke with Stewart Farnell, who encouraged him to consider ACP. The first conversation with Bert Whitehead didn’t last long. “He told me to call back when I’d finished my CFP® education,” Ken says. After receiving his CFP®, Ken contacted Bert once again and was welcomed into the ACP family.
Ken opened his practice on March 14, 2000. He credits ACP for teaching him the first three steps of working with clients. “Listen. Listen. And listen,” he says. He explains how essential it is to understand client concerns. “To truly be a consultant, a partner—to walk this financial path with them always has an objective that is more important than money. It requires time and getting to know the clients,” he says. Though Ken contends that the hardest clients to get are those first clients, he found success by trusting the ACP model. ACP gave Ken the confidence in the value of his skills. He learned to identify his ideal clients, and he is happy to report that he’s been able to cultivate his client base over the years. “I’m at a point where I genuinely like every client who comes through that door,” he says.
At his first ACP conference—in September of 2000—Ken found a strong network of peers. He was struck by the sense of belonging and the way that the whole group coalesced around a distinct set of professional values. It was the relationships and mentorships Ken formed through ACP that helped him realize his potential in his own business. Ken discovered that following the advice of his ACP colleagues made his company grow faster and easier than when he veered away from the ACP model. “It took me some time to recognize my professional value and stop competing on price,” he says. Today, Ken’s business is still growing. In November, he’ll be moving his practice to a larger office and hiring a paraprofessional soon thereafter.