I can still remember my excitement the day my firm owners asked me to go to my first FPA Retreat in 2012. I had been a part of the firm since 2007 and had recently passed my comprehensive exam for the CFP®. The stories of Retreat being the premier financial planning event of the year set the bar very high. Other than that, I had no idea what to expect.

I remember listening to stories of people talk about attending 10, 15, or 20+ FPA Retreats and why it was so important to them. Somehow, with knees shaking, I was able to stand up and tell everyone how excited I was to be there for the first time. I learned several important things that year and at the FPA Retreats that have followed.

First, I was a part of a very special firm that was willing to invest so much in the development of their financial planners. Without these experiences, I don’t know that I would have remained in this profession and be so passionate about the work that we do. Second, I learned how collaborative and welcoming the community of FPA Retreat is to all attendees. I’ve built some of my closest professional friendships thanks to connections made at Retreat. Third, I discovered that FPA Retreat really is the premier event of the year as I found myself not only sitting in on advanced and forward-looking sessions, but in intimate conversations with some of the biggest names in the profession.

It was at an FPA Retreat a couple of years ago that Dick Wagner singled me out to grab dinner and tell me about what it means to be a leader in this profession and the tremendous responsibility we now carry. Some of these moments now seem surreal, and they couldn’t have happened without committing to be a part of FPA Retreat.

It doesn’t matter your age, your nationality, your race, your gender or any other difference we could come up with. If you want to be better as a person and a financial planner, then you will be welcomed into the community and be encouraged to be better and do better for clients. I believe that this is an experience that every planner in this profession should have—the earlier in their career the better.

As a Chicago Cubs fan, I got pretty used to saying, “Maybe next year.” Don’t let that be your 2019 mantra for FPA Retreat, because when the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series in 2016, it was indescribable to be a part of something so epic. I hope to see you at FPA Retreat 2019!