John Gilliam hopes to improve the financial planning field in Central Europe.
As a certified financial planner, a chartered financial consultant and a chartered life underwriter – all prestigious professional designations in his field – he spent more than 26 years in the private sector of financial and estate planning before making the move to academia to share his knowledge with future financial planners.
Now, Gilliam has been named a Fulbright Scholar for the 2018-19 academic year, giving him the opportunity to share his financial knowledge on a global scale.
What does your project entail?
The Fulbright award will include both teaching and research.
What is the goal of your project?
Teaching: The goal of the project is to provide an English-speaking class in personal finance so students can improve their English skills while learning about basic personal finance topics.
Research: In the initial segment of the project, we will convert an existing and proven financial risk-tolerance assessment into the Czech language. The next step is to gather data, followed by research focused on financial risk tolerance and the impact on savers/investors. Some may be too conservative and risk losing purchasing power, while others may invest too aggressively, exposing their families and themselves to a catastrophic financial loss in the volatile marketplace.
How will the Fulbright help you?
The Fulbright will allow me to live in Brno, the Czech Republic, and conduct focused research with colleagues with whom I have been building relationships for several years.
How long will your research last?
The initial research will last a minimum of three months and should lead to research publications for several years. The literature on this topic is, for the most part, nonexistent in Central Europe.
What reaction have you received from the people you'll work with?
They are very excited I am coming as an instructor and researcher. My preferred type of research is about topics that impact the everyday person in the Czech Republic and that will allow advisers to better serve their clients.
What do you hope to contribute on a larger scale through your work?
I hope to further develop goodwill and better understanding between America and the Czech Republic. This would be expanded to Central Europe.
Why are you passionate about this?
The Czech Republic has only been out from the communist rule for one generation. Their knowledge about personal finance issues, as a country, is behind that of America. The Czech people and their advisers need to educate themselves about the potential risk they assume by investing in the various types of investment vehicles. We also hope this will elevate the profession to a higher standard of care in dealing with consumers.
Is there anything else you'd like to say?
I am very fortunate to be a faculty member at Texas Tech University in the Department of Personal Financial Planning. The PFP program at Texas Tech is widely recognized among the top programs in America and is one of the original 20 university programs that registered to teach the Certified Financial Planning Planner™ curriculum in 1987.
PFP is always seeking ways to expand the delivery of knowledge. We are always striving to stay on the leading edge of financial planning education and research. This Fulbright award is another way to expand the university's and department's global footprint through the sharing of knowledge.