April 23, 2010, 5:00 am

The Jobs I Have Had So Far Part 5: Working as a Financial Planner

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career
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This post marks the end of this short series of the jobs I have had so far. While I am still at the beginning of my young career (I have been working since 2003), I was able to reach a comfortable income and climb the corporate ladder to a moderate level.

In fact, I could have climbed much faster. My previous manager (and now my friend) told me everything about how to become a manager and prepare to land an executive position later on when I was working in a bank’s head office. However, I realized something while carving out my career path; life is not just about work!

I first chose the financial planner career because I wanted to share my knowledge with others. I wanted to help people understanding finance the way I understand it so they can make better financial choices. In the meantime, I realized that I could do that while making a good income AND I didn’t have to spend my days and nights at work.

Personal finance is taboo, even for a financial planner

We all know that personal finance is more taboo than sex. However, I would have never thought that it could be taboo in a bank! The small thing I forgot to take into consideration while doing the job of financial planner is that you have to earn people’s trust before they open up and you can give them proper advice. At first, they won’t just tell you everything about themselves and their projects. You need to prove yourself and then, maybe, they will share with you.

I have faced 2 major speed bumps so far in my financial planning career:

#1 I am young.

#2 People always think they don’t need your financial advice.

Being young is a great advantage when working with people in their 30’s. Unfortunately, since I provide financial services to individuals with more than $250,000 invested, the average age of the clients in my book is 49… let just say that boomers have seen more than one “great” and “smart” financial advisor in their lives and they proceed with more caution (can you blame them?).

Boomers also tend to think that they know how to manage their money since they made it this far. The fact is I am as knowledgeable in my field as a mechanic in his. If my car breaks, I will trust my mechanic (hard to believe, isn’t?). Same with my doctor or my dentist. I have found that it is harder to convince people that you can actually bring them more money in their pockets than they thought!

Being a financial planner is amazing and I have learned a lot from this job:

#1 You must take your time, no need to rush people, if you are good, they will sign eventually.

#2 Even though you know what is better for them, clients may decide otherwise and not follow your advice. Don’t take it personally.

#3 Money is a great temptation in this job. You are better off not switching your financial planner hat for a broom salesman hat just to make a quick buck. Long term relationships are worth much more.

#4 Some people will follow your advice and you will develop a great relationship with them. Others will always see you as a broom salesman and you will be there to take orders only. That’s life.

#5 Choose your clients. I would rather only work with people I want to work with. Some people (like rate shoppers) are not good clients. They are expensive in terms of dollar and time required. Give them to the competition 😉

Since I really like this job, I don’t think I’ll move for a few years. I might change my mind when my children grow up or if my online company explodes and pays for an office. But right now, I think I have found the perfect match for my personality and my personal situation. Finding the right job is priceless since you spend so much time there.

If you have any questions regarding any of my job experiences, please comment or send me an email, it will be my pleasure to answer all your questions!

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Comments

by: Future CFP? | April 23rd, 2010 (7:48 am)

Hey Mike, great post again. I’ve found all your career posts quite interesting.
I have a question with the second thing you learned about the job. Even when you know what a client wants is not as good as what you suggest them to take, what do you say back to them? I know ultimately, you end up saying okay sure I’ll set that up for you. But I am sure you do take some time to try and convince them there are better alternatives.
Also what other career options have you thought about after a career in financial planning, other than running the online company.

by: The Financial Blogger | April 23rd, 2010 (9:54 am)

Hey Gohul,

good question!

I actually show why I disagree with my client by showing facts and rational arguments. Once I have explained my point, if they still continue with their idea, I do it without arguing anymore.

I consider that I do my job by explaining what would be my best decision in their position, after that, they are all old enough to make their own decision 😉

Since I have my MBA, I could always become a manager. This gives me a lot of options 😉

I would probably be pretty good at any representative job for any kind of company (a sale is sale after all 😉 ).

Hey Mike, thanks for the insight.

What % of your clients do you have to find yourself and how do you go about doing it? Do you get a lot of walk in clients?

by: The Financial Blogger | April 26th, 2010 (1:19 pm)

@ Trevor,
Fortunately, I don’t have a specific number of client to bring in. I have a book of about 350 clients and I have to develop our share of wallet.

I actually bring about 20 to 30 clients per year (so a little bit under 10%) and this is how I do great business.

I get a few walk ins but not much (go find people who will enter in a branch saying they have over 250K to invest ? ;-0 ).