Matt Yonak with his RLP® certification complete!
Financial services professionals are used to certifications such as CFP®, CPA and CFA. Have you ever heard of an RLP®? Neither had PCS Senior Relationship Specialist Matt Yonak until he listened to a podcast that discussed Financial Life Planning and its pioneer George Kinder. Matt did his research and found the Kinder Institute of Life Planning and its Registered Life Planner® (RLP®) designation.
So, what is an RLP?
A Registered Life Planner is a formal recognition of expertise in a program that help clients uncover their most meaningful and fulfilling aspirations — ensuring that financial planning can most efficiently support the lives clients seek to live. Life Planning focuses on the human side of financial planning by putting the client, not their money, at the center of the conversation. It features a structured interview process and relationship-based listening skills.
“When I first heard about the RLP, it immediately resonated with me,” says Matt. “As someone who has worked with money for a number of years, the RLP designation has reinvigorated my focus on people and supporting our PCS clients beyond the analysis and numbers. The human connection we all share is what matters the most.”
The Kinder Institute of Life Planning runs the program and boasts that more than 500 advisors have earned the designation globally. Matt enrolled in 2023 and obtained his RLP this month! He’s also working with the Kinder Institute to become a trainer for future Life Planning courses.
A financial plan versus a life plan
“It’s surprising how much clients will share when they feel they’re truly being heard.”— Matt Yonak
“A life plan might include targets to improve someone’s well-being,” Matt explains. “That could include their family time, hobbies, holidays, career and business goals, or retirement plans. A traditional financial plan focuses solely on figures, gains and returns through different savings schemes and investment strategies.”
Matt goes on to explain why he’s so interested and excited about the human side of financial planning. “I’ve talked with so many investors, clients, friends and family over the years who just want their investments to make them the most money. But what they never know is what they want to do with that money, what their most meaningful life goals are. I now have the skillset to help someone visualize and work towards those fulfilling goals.”
Through the Kinder Institute program, Matt learned how to apply his RLP with clients. Listening well is one of the most important skills.
“When I meet with a client, I’ll first give them all the time, space and focus they need to share what’s most important to them — before I begin my agenda. And even when they stop talking, I’ll pause and ask if there’s anything else they want to share. Even if that silence is uncomfortable for me, it’s so useful. It’s surprising how much clients will share when they feel they’re truly being heard.”
Matt’s so excited about what he’s learned, he encourages others to check out Kinder Institute or reach out to him directly for more insights.
This article was first published on January 10, 2024 on the Capital Group intranet. Reprinted with permission of Capital Group.