Higher education standards for financial advisers are an important step towards professionalism, but they’re not the only thing. The retention of wisdom within the advice community is just as important. CoreData research has uncovered that the advice industry contracted over the past three months, with twice as many experienced advisers leaving the industry as the number of new advisers who joined.

That’s a concerning insight, even without the feared exodus of the most experienced advisers from the industry by 2024. It’s concerning, because while education and competence are highly valued by clients, so too is experience. And the wisdom from experience can’t be replaced by a degree qualification.

As every planner who has advised clients on their life savings during the GFC knows, you can’t learn everything you need to know from textbooks. And I know from personal experience that a financial planning post-graduate degree doesn’t teach you what you should say to a grieving widow whose husband has died during his first weekend of retirement.

But a wise professional elder can help you. Because they’ve probably seen it all before

So, with the exit of each experienced adviser from the industry, the advice community becomes weaker. And our clients and other everyday Australians are the poorer for it.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls

About 400 years ago the English poet John Donne wrote Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. The Devotions were written as Donne was recovering from a near fatal unknown illness. His 17thdevotion, Meditation XVII, is one of his most famous. A main theme of the devotion, later turned into a poem, was that “no man is an island, entire of itself”; that human beings are social creatures who function best within communities.