Dr. Nathan Harness, Instructional Associate Professor and TD Ameritrade Director of Financial Planning at Texas A&M University, joins Roger and Ben to talk about the current state of academic financial planning programs.

You'll see from the get-go that Dr. Harness is a sharp cookie. And not only does he have an enviable CV (including another coveted 40 Under 40 spot), he sings a mean karaoke.

There's so much meat here that you'll hear us say multiple times that we could address a number of tangential topics in a future podcast. But we're living in the present. In the immortal words of Colonel Sanders in the historically accurate Mel Brooks classic Spaceballs, "We're at now now. Everything that's happening now is happening now."

So what did we talk about? Among other things:

  • Dr. Harness' journey into academia
  • The benefits that thinking like a researcher can have on financial planners
  • Teaching about comprehensive financial planning is complicated by the fact that there's no universally accepted definition of the concept. Or in Dr. Harness' much more educated words, "there's an absence of a multitude of normative practices." We told you he's smart!
  • The Kafka-esque series of events that needs to take place to get a new financial planning course offered at the university level, let alone a major course of study
  • The secret weapon that firms that aren't geographically close to the premier academic planning programs can use to attract top-tier students for employment (Hint: it rhymes with hinternships.)


  • There's a great article on Bill Gustafson of Texas Tech fame here
  • For the academia inclined, those who live in close proximity to the academically inclined, or those who just like chuckling at small-minded departmental politics, you'll find lots to laugh at in Julie Schumacher's 2014 novel Dear Committee Members.
  • Straight Man is also a funny novel about academia