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Run your practice better with insights from the NAPFA Fall Conference

By Susan Weiner

Attendees at the NAPFA Fall Conference in Denver in October learned about diverse topics that can help them help their clients and run their practices more efficiently and effectively. Here are highlights from several sessions.

Multi-generational intelligence

The conference kicked off with “Multi-Generational Intelligence: Use MGI to Improve Your Communication, Leadership, & Team,” presented by Dr. James Pogue, an expert on inclusion, diversity, and bias. MGI is your ability to communicate across generations, said Pogue.

MGI is important because diversity (of all kinds) and inclusion improve productivity, innovation, and creativity; inclusive leaders inspire and model good behavior for the team; and it reduces risk in terms of talent retention, productivity, and misconduct. Homogeneous teams feel easier, but easy is bad for performance, said Pogue. Developing MGI requires engaging in healthy conflict across generations, among other things.

An interesting statistic from the surveys Pogue conducted during this presentation: Millennials outnumbered baby boomers in the NAPFA Fall Conference audience.


Inflation isn’t disappearing soon, but there’s hope for the U.S. economy, said economist LaVaughn Henry, Ph.D., a former senior economist with the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Henry said that the current inflation is a result of:

  • Pandemic-induced supply shocks
  • Consumer demand growth
  • Labor market developments
  • Fiscal and monetary policy

Although the near-term outlook is uncertain, “Don’t bet against America,” urged Henry. He pointed as evidence for optimism to the U.S. economy’s dramatic recovery from the initial downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.


In “Digital Assets as a New Asset Class?” Professor Marco Di Maggio of Harvard Business School presented a framework for thinking about digital assets, which still represent a small percentage of U.S. assets. It’s important to distinguish between cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, and blockchain, the technology that underlies those currencies.

Blockchain—a chain of public, immutable, and counterfeit-proof records—is still in the “proof of concept” stage, Di Maggio said. However, blockchain technology has the potential to solve problems of traditional finance. These include inefficiency, such as high credit card fees and two days to process stock transactions; lack of interoperability; and opacity. Challenges remain, such as limited regulation, poor user interfaces, and the need to educate the public.

Women breadwinners

Financial advisors can help couples with the stress that sometimes comes when a woman is a family’s breadwinner, said CNET Money Editor-at-Large Farnoosh Torabi, the host of the “So Money” podcast. Good communication can ease tension. Advisors can give couples a safe space to respond to prompts such as:

  • What does financial freedom mean to you?
  • How does making more make you feel? 
  • What’s your financial strength?
  • What financial expectations do you have of each other?
  • What financial shifts would you like to see in your relationship?

Make sure to ask “Why?” in response to their answers to these questions, Torabi said.

Break through to success

For advisors to break through to the next level of success, they need to develop the right mindset, according to abundance activist Ellen Rogin, a former financial advisor, in “The Breakthrough Mindset: Train Your Brain for Extraordinary Results.”

“It’s all about where you put your attention!” she said. Some of the tools she suggested to help you redirect your attention are breathing meditation, journaling, and visualizations.

Farewell, Geof Brown!

Outgoing NAPFA CEO Geof Brown received a warm send-off from attendees when he made his final NAPFA conference remarks on the conference’s last day.