As I have been searching around the Internet, I have found many articles such as “Could I be a Criminal Investigator?” or “Could You See Yourself in the Restaurant Business?” or “Pharmaceutical Sales is a Great Field for Science Majors,” but I have not seen many articles on the pros and cons of being a financial advisor. More importantly I haven’t seen many articles on what kind of person it takes to be a financial advisor and if it would be a good career fit for you, me or the kid next door.
I am not a financial advisor myself but as the daughter and sister of financial advisors, I have been around it my whole life and have worked in the industry for over 15 years recruiting and hiring financial advisors. I have seen many people become wildly successful in this career and I have seen even more fail epically. I can usually tell within a few conversations with a new financial advisor whether they are going to be on business trips with me in 20 years or if they will, like many, move on.
One important thing to understand about the financial advising career is that it is a “long haul” undertaking. This is not one of those jobs that you do for five years and then bounce to the next thing. You most likely won’t even be successful until five years in the business, so if you’re not going to stick around, you are wasting your time. It seems like quite a few financial advisers quit right before everything is about to get good. I have heard my father say hundreds of times, “For the first five years you are overworked and underpaid. After that you are underworked and overpaid for the rest of your life.” You have to be a “big picture” thinker to make this your career. Five years is nothing, in the grand scheme of our life, but it seems like forever when you are still living on your parents’ sofa and all of your friends that you graduated with are making $65,000 working as a CPA. Don’t worry—hang in there. You will see them all again on their long journey to the middle. I am, by no means, saying a CPA can’t make a ton of dough, but while you could be spending your January through April of 2035 skiing in Jackson Hole, Marlin Fishing in Miami Beach and taking a quick trip to Vegas, they could be tied to their desk, elbow deep in papers, working for somebody else. Think of the first five years like you are in medical school. Doctors spend years in medical school making barely any money (or none at all), while most of their friends are off working in corporate America, but we all know later in life physicians have the potential to earn a high salary and accumulate wealth. At least in our “school and residency programs” you get paid; medical students are still racking up their student loans!
This career is definitely not for everyone and especially not for the faint of heart. I have thought about joining this business a million times and I really don’t think I could do it. I’ve met me and I can tell you that I wouldn’t be one of those people that makes it to 20 years. I have so much respect for individuals who excel in this business. It is HARD. I do not like rejection. Who does? Successful advisors do, that’s who! I mean you just have to really not give a whit what anyone thinks of you. You could call up the President of the United States and try to sell him Girl Scout cookies—you don’t care; you are self-confident! There are a billion people on this planet, you only need a handful of them to be your clients. So if someone says no, “who cares?” on to the next!
If I haven’t scared you yet, this might be a good fit for you! However, I have one more piece of criteria that I gage a successful financial advisor on and that is leadership. You either have it or you don’t. Athletes are 9 times out of 10 rock stars in this business. Athletes are leaders. Around school, on the field, in the locker room, they lead. They also have to be amazing at time management to juggle classes, homework, all of their practices, games, off-season training, not to mention a social life. Another group of people that excel at leadership are people that are officers in the Greek system or on student government. They too have to manage their schedules, lead others and be a positive example for the younger students. Lastly, I think teachers and coaches make good financial advisors. In this business when you help others become successful, you become more successful. If teachers and coaches can handle the rejection, then they are often a great fit. They don’t make much money anyway so the first 5 years thing isn’t as scary for them. Obviously, you don’t HAVE to be the captain of the baseball team, student body president or a soccer coach to have leadership, but this mindset is what is required in this career.
In my opinion, the very best part of being a financial advisor is Changing Lives, Forever® through the financial services and products you provide, like life insurance. My brother used to say that after doctors and the clergy (pastors), he believed that financial advisors are the most important people in our lives. He also used to say that “death is a guarantee.” No one wants to think about death, but after a loved one passes and you are left with a pile of itemized medical expenses to pay for, your financial advisor is going to be the first person you call. Having life insurance is the last way that your loved one says, “I love you.”
I know I just went deep on you but it is one of those things that I am truly passionate about. I hope that I have given you some things to think about. While you are reading this, please consider financial advising as a potential career. Like I said, this career doesn’t have to be for everyone and it won’t be, but I think (if you can hack it) it is a noble profession that you will always be proud of.
Written by Christina Church, Internet Recruiting and Social Media Specialist
2178315 / DOFU 07-2018
Christina Church is a Financial Recruiter and Social Media Marketing Trainer with 15+ years of experience working with recent college graduates as well as senior advisors in the financial industry. She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Communication and received her Internet Marketing Certificate from The University of San Francisco.
Christina advises Financial Advisors and recent college grads on how to use social networks to build relationships and deliver value. She spends her time speaking, blogging, writing articles and training.
She has been known to spend her free time writing about herself in the 3rd person and lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband, 2 daughters and a dog and a cat that could be for sale on any given day. She can be contacted by email at Christina.Church@NorthStarFinancial.com or by connecting with her on Linked In at www.linkedin.com/in/ChristinaChurch.