• Rob Schmansky

Open Letter to NAPFA & Financial Advisors on Divisive Attacks on Our Value to Clients


I want to raise the professions attention to a virus that has infected the university system, which, it is my belief will do significant harm to our value if allowed to continue unopposed. I'm seeking to inform you of it and to ask that you consider voicing opposition if you choose.

If you are not familiar with post-modernism, Social Justice, Identity Politics, etc., I envy you. However, you will either need to familiarize yourself to the thoughts advancing in society and quickly into our profession (and into the lives of your children and grandchildren, which may motivate some of you more), or become a victim of it (by victim I mean more than harmed financially or emotionally, but via a lack of connectivity with others in your life).

I've noticed an alarming amount of Social Justice posting at FPA's Journal of Financial Planning and via their social media pages. Given NAPFA's partnership with FPA, and growing partnerships of both with CFP Board, it is an issue that needs to be understood and addressed by all.

For those unfamiliar, Social Justice is often cloaked within "diversity" promotion or initiatives today (it is not the programs themselves, though they currently are being used to promote individuals who support the ideas of SJ. I will not make the claim to be in opposition to the programs themselves, though I do like to understand results and not just feelings.). Social Justice itself, however, is not diversity and the result of it is anti-diversity. It seeks not to raise up meritorious individuals by supporting them through charity. Nor is it diversity of thought or of anything but a single lens to view the world, which is thinly veiled racism.

Here is a video for background (Yes, it is long. Yes, there are shorter, none that I've found so complete. Yes, the interviewee draws opposition for some views, but we are addressing this topic alone and not the interviewee. It may require several views or finding other materials, which this interviewee as many).

It is a viewpoint of those of the Social Justice world that there are 'privileged' races and genders (yes, there are a spectrum of many genders) that have harmed or been harmed by that alone. All exist on a spectrum, and your place on that spectrum determines the harm that needs to be inflicted on you via policy under a push for 'equality' but not entirely.

Once you see it you will hear the same repeated slogans-systems of oppression you see it is largely racism packaged as 'science.' One FPA Diversity member has charts on all of the ways White Supremacy is advanced (as an empathetic person I truly tried to view this in some way as not being racist, but, just about every point on the graph if used in another society could be used just as effectively against any other race!).

These ideas have meaning and an objective; the meaning is, "I can not increase my value and competency due to a system that promotes other 'types'." The objective is to bring down the value those individuals create for the world.

Once you see it you will see the anti-science and seeks to attack the basis of our value to our clients. You will see the difference in this attitude, and that of our colleagues, friends, and bosses who are minorities, women, gay, etc., who worked at increasing competency for success in our industry.

All we have as a profession is our logic, reason, evidence, compassion as our value. Without that the world will replace us with CPAs, attorneys, robos, or just about anyone that chooses to advance competence and merit-based relationships.

This worldview removes any hierarchical view of the world not based upon their single focus of race, sex, political view, and why your clients choose you.

This view also means if you work in a part of our field that is responsible for creating products of research, that your research is to be looked at as valid or not based upon your privilege in creating it. After all, you see the world from an oppressors point of view... why should the oppressed listen to the research of the oppressive class? It has an implied goal or benefit to that class and / or person!

I've been mocking a statement that FPA published that the exclusion of tax due for realized gain on home appreciation is responsible for massive wealth creation from the mid-20th century for some classes (they do not publish whites and males, but, it's just about implied and that is the most oppressive class)…

…but, these individuals truly mean what they say! And they truly ignore facts that suggest otherwise! Evidence that 2008 destroyed massive "wealth" (to the extent they seem to consider home equity as wealth), that studies show home ownership does not increase wealth and that homes are not wealth and there is no massive current intergenerational wealth transfer, that single women today own at a higher rate then men, that minorities who planned had money to 'upgrade' in 2008 while many 'oppressive' types were downgraded, and that the home equity tax exclusion is not only rare but not a massive tax for the wealthy!

The Social Justice single lens of the world states that we know that certain classes of individuals (based upon race, gender, sexual preference, and political bent) benefit from an unearned 'privilege' and that must be taken back from them via policy.

The answer to their research will be found if they start with the end that we know that some have unearned 'privilege', find areas of inequality, and we will see that there is unearned wealth. Then, policy needs to be created to address it (by lowering home equity; by lowering populations of certain types in the advisor community).

REPEAT: This is not a plea for diversity or help to advance minority populations. We are a charitable profession; we have scholarships to schools, associations; we volunteer to educate and meet with people who do not meet our minimums.

I am not at all concerned with diversity programs, per se, though screening out individuals who are not sincere in their love for the profession over this Social Justice appears impossible or not the goal.

All that we have as a profession is the advancement of value and competency to a client. Social Justice seeks to reduce that. Ironically (I suppose) making it impossible to find value in new segments of society, to serve, and to provide opportunities for more diversity in advisors.

You may note past concerns that I have had on policy. This is a continuation of that in many ways in my mind, but, far worse.

You may look at "compelled speech" laws in Canada (not suggested speech) and comedians charged tens of thousands of dollars (for what still today in the USA would be a tame, or even misunderstood, joke). You may look to South Africa and the slaughter of the farmers for justice (the end here has been seen throughout history as resources shift from the 20% who grow 80% of the food that all will starve).

You may also mock me for using these examples. There are plenty that if you Google videos on this subject in the USA as well, however, I'll note that YouTube's search result algorithm has been modified in the last month and the results I've found are wildly different today than when you had the option to screen.

If you research this you will realize the goal is not diversity via policy; it is punishment of merit, competency, value, compassion, etc.

This is in your K-12 schools; your children are being taught this very early now that there are 'oppressive' and 'oppressor' classes in the world, and you must "be aware" and "uncomfortable" about it to appeal to your empathy and / or guilt.

As your profession is now as well.

If I can assist with your individual understanding of this issue, please feel free to reach out, however, I'm not interested in online or Social Media discussions, as I've found them to not be productive. I've taken the stance that people need to be woken up to this rather than 'holding discussions' with people who are not sincere and see me (and everyone! It's a spectrum of oppression) as an enemy first, and it's my sincere hope that a few brave individuals will act when they see the harm of it.

I have an interest in this due to being a small solo. The insanity on campus that is leading to policy makes me question the long-term viability of our profession if the value of our services is not staunchly protected and promoted.

A word of caution: Your choice if you read and see this that is being put upon you (by the Social Justice types advancing in our profession) is,

1) Ignore the virus and the evidence from the university system that it will spread, the myths it creates become facts, and you will be pressed to agree with them,

2) Pushback. The best advice I see from professors who study this is that it is best to choose #2. The anti-logic of SJ allows for seeing many contradictions in the personalities and opinions of promoters, and I find that fascinating as someone interested in people, but they do not choose to be self-aware and work on these values, so, promoting them promotes their ignoring the advancement of "justice."

I have no idea how in a personal profession with a duty of a fiduciary one could possibly hold these views; that you must see yourself and client as an oppressor or oppressed and change your behavior accordingly. It probably will impact larger firms first through "diversity" positions and programs, but as I said above with #1 we all will be forced to agree with the positions this advances (if you not so personally invested in current waves of feminism, for example, to criticize poor ideas, see this blog I wrote on a study promoting a "gender wealth gap" which at its heart is no such thing. This is an example of a terribly flawed idea of Justice that we know as planners simply is not true, but will advance if not addressed by competency).

Over the years of seeing this, self-flagellation or promotion of the virus may make it comfortable to maintain friendships with people who hold this worldview, but, it is not a guarantee of being able to continue along your path in life. You can see from the cases of professors Brett Weinstein, Heather Heying, and Michael Rectenwald, to name a few that this virus can attack you simply for your skin color, despite holding all of the "right" views to promote it. These were liberals who were in this system, but, were attacked and lost (or will lose) their careers either for an action or nothing at all.

Weinstein was (is?) a liberal but did not agree with the lack of leadership against a day which traditionally recognized diversity, but, was turned by Social Justice folks into a day where whites needed to leave campus. The lack of leadership at the college has led to lawsuits, budget issues as contributions and enrollment suffer, and the value of their degree is nationally seen as worth far less (how stunning that a lack of willingness to lead and not allow the false idea that these folks are for advancing themselves, while we can all see they are killing themselves, and still trying to bring others down to that new low level).

I see similar happening in our profession if we dare advance this anti-logical view or any part of it with clients who will sense the conflict and realize we have no value to them. If leaders do not start to screen for it and remove it, then it will advance by default.

There is no reasoning with a worldview that sees you as an oppressor; not by your views, but by your skin, genitals, and who you sleep with.

As Jordan Peterson and others note, the end goal is not diversity or concern or support for any population. Empathy requires empathy. I'm empathetic to many of my colleagues for the challenges they face, but, I'm also for programs that will lift up their (and all of our) skill sets to expand the value and breadth of our services; not simply to destroy. I see no reason that the majority cannot succeed as advisors if they focus on their personal strengths, rather than destroying the profession since they see it as oppressive.

The end goal is what you see in schools – decreasing competency, value, merit, compassion, empathy, and all other traits that we cherish, not to lift up a diverse group, but to bring down those with privilege.

An appropriate analogy to the virus that I saw on Twitter yesterday was an individual calling for the "removal of private schools" because of no other reason than, "Why should some learn more?" (Or, more effectively... or, in the end, learn differently than at the lower point their policies will create).

Leave alone any rational responses that these schools educate all, are charitable with minorities and people of all sexes, genders, faiths, political viewpoints benefit from choice in education, and many focus on these underprivileged groups entirely. Because, the goal is not raising up others to a higher point; the goal is destroying 'systems' of 'oppression' that they see as benefiting some over others, and in the process destroying those individuals who benefit.

See the Edina school district for the results of these policies negatively impacting students of all races. See their white bus drivers being taught to recognize 'whiteness' and behavior from those of privilege (to what end? To segregate and force kids to sit in the back of a bus? I don't know, but the end goal, as they state, is policy, not awareness).

There are like 3-4 news stories and videos I've seen in the last week of professors and teachers in K-12 telling (and yelling at) their students that they are hateful due to their skin color. Usually, it is white male professors yelling at white students.

How amazingly sad! You will not be able to have true relationships under this worldview since there is a ‘power imbalance’ always that must be felt and you must acknowlege (the real insanity of it becomes clear in that the end of any of this is to realize that we are all individuals and to judge us by our merits. Indeed, FPA has promoted on their blogs an individual who states that those high up on the spectrum of oppressive individuals must ask the identity preference and how to address those below them, while at the same time labeling an entire group of people herself without seeing them as individuals or the irony).

We must start looking at results as a profession rather than ignoring or advancing it because it feels good to advance anything under the title of "diversity." This isn't diversity.

I would advise calling CFP Board and NAPFA and questioning why FPA has published and promoted for multiple months now in the JFP and has blanketed Twitter with this hateful ideology. As FPA members may know I also recommend you demand they publish policy, which is very concerning as a non-member to know the views they are pushing and that some with these views may influence policy as they seek to work closely with and "support" CFP® professionals.

I only recommend that if you study the issue and can see the worldview from their point-of-view, which requires spending time on post-modernism, Social Justice, etc.

Thank you for your time. Enjoy your weekend and the light conversation!