Could you be a financial advisor?
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?” 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.
I am not a financial advisor myself, but as the daughter and sister of financial advisors, I have been around it my whole life. I also work in the industry recruiting 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 whether someone is going to be on business trips with me in 20 years or if they will move on.
It’s important to understand that financial advising 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 can’t stick around, you’re 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 under worked 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.
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, 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 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, especially not for the faint of heart. I have thought about becoming an advisor 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 care what anyone thinks of you. 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, being a financial advisor might be a good fit for you!
However, I have one more piece of criteria that I gauge a successful financial advisor on: leadership. You either have it or you don’t.
Athletes are nine 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, practices, games, off-season training, not to mention a social life.
Officers in the Greek system or on student government also have the leadership needed. They too have to manage their schedules, lead others and be a positive example for the younger students.
Lastly, 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.
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 (if you can hack it) it is a noble profession that you will always be proud of.