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Life as a Financial Counseling and Planning Major (and why, in my biased opinion, it is the most underrated major)

Author: Financial Success | Image: Financial Success

Meeting new people in college starts the same way every time. You say hi, ask how they are doing, then comes the classic question, “What are you majoring in?” For most, it’s a word or two, and people tend to have heard of your major before. For me, I answer with a sigh and in one breath say, “Financial Counseling and Planning”. This usually triggers one of three responses – 1) a confused look and them saying, “That’s interesting” or “Oh” 2) An awkward smile and a head nod or 3) they just turn around and walk away. I then share that the major is in Human Sciences and not the College of Business. So you might be wondering to yourself, “Why is it such a big deal that you are Financial Counseling and Planning (FCP) and not just regular Finance?” The real main reason is pride, but the other smaller reason is what we do is very different.

Finance is geared more towards the business side of money. Ours is looking for people and meeting with them to talk about money. I know how to help them set up financial goals and to achieve said goals while educating them. These goals can be anything from learning how to budget, how to navigate financial aid for school, saving to buy a home, or saving for that sweet sweet retirement in 40+ years. So we are more different from regular finance than you originally thought. However, we are a small group. According to Iowa State’s Office of the Registrar in the Spring of 2019, only 24 students were majoring in FCP. Yes, we have a shortened version of it because I don’t want my lungs to be depleted of oxygen every time I say my major.

So it’s no wonder people are always so confused about what we do and who we are. I would compare us to a unicorn, but I don’t know if unicorns enjoy talking about retirement planning. With a job growth rate from of 15% in ten years (2016-2026) this is a fast growing field, in their words, “much faster than average”. Not only is it a fast growing field with a lot of opportunity for jobs, it gives me the opportunity to help others and teach them all at the same time, and to me that’s the best type of job out there! So if by some off chance you happen to meet one of our rare breed –don’t be too startled, maybe say hello or join our ranks. Reach out and see if you can get into the field or major or even just talk with a professional financial advisor. 

Written by : Jacob Barber, Peer Mentor & FCP Major