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September 14, 2017, 1:48 pm

8 Career Moves to Make Before You Leave Your 20s

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career

In your 20s, your life is just beginning. It feels like you have a world of career opportunities and unending amounts of time to experiment with jobs to find your work bliss. After enduring at least 16 years of school, it finally feels right to leave the classroom and start earning money and prestige in the workplace. What could go wrong?

The short answer is: everything. While job-related mistakes in your 20s might seem small, they could have lasting ramifications on your career. Perhaps the worst mistake of all is failing to complete crucial career moves that position you well for success later in life. If you are young and afraid of wasting the early period of your career, here’s what you need to do:

1.Get More Educated

To break through the lowest level of employment and reach some modicum of authority and respect, you definitely need a bachelor’s degree. However, if your ambitions are a bit loftier – maybe as high as the c-suite – you should spend some time in your 20s gaining even more advanced qualifications.

Education is a risk-free way to gain knowledge and skills pertinent to your field. You should avoid spending too much time away from real-world work experiences. Therefore, the best options for motivated 20-somethings are online degrees. If you can enroll in an affordable, flexible, reliable program – like an AACSB-accredited online MBA – you will reap the career benefits for the rest of your life.

2. Network

No matter what you do, who you know is at least as important as what you know. Especially now that job hopping is such an integral element of career development, you need to have a powerful network to find employment options and gain invaluable insight into correct career moves. As often as possible, you should attend industry events to shake hands with your peers and other influential professionals.

3. Diversify Your Experiences

While you are job hopping, you should consider slightly altering your position and responsibilities with each change in employment. By wiggling around in your experience, you can more accurately identify which tasks you enjoy and which are utterly repulsive. Plus, you’ll get a more holistic look at your field, providing enhanced understanding that will benefit you in management roles.

4. Be Passionate

That popular saying, “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life” is crock. Work will always be work; even artists sometimes find the creative process a slog. Having passion for your job – finding some type of fulfillment in the tediousness – is vital for sticking with that career for any significant length of time. If you don’t already know your passions, you can spend some time sampling courses from MOOCs, shadowing prominent professionals, interning, and other free career searching options that don’t require much commitment.

5. Set Practical Goals

Goals like “be happy and successful” sound poetic, but they do little to prompt you to make moves in your career. Instead, you should develop a concrete picture of what you want your life to look like in 10 years, and then develop a workable plan to getting there. In some cases, the SMART goal-setting method is a useful tool to help you achieve your dreams.

6. Keep Good Records

Employers love to see positive numbers in your employment history, but if you are like most people, you’ll have trouble recalling exact stats off the top of your head. That’s why record-keeping is vital. Whenever you get a new job, update your resume. Whenever you complete a project that benefits the business, analyze your success and write it down. You should have a filing cabinet devoted to your career history, so you have evidence of your impact – for employers as well as yourself.

7. Listen

Communication is inarguably the most valuable skill in any industry, and the foundation of excellent communication skills is listening. Whether you are in an MBA class or in a corporate meeting, whether you are with your boss or your subordinate, you should be listening hard. Feedback from anyone is a generous gift you can use to benefit your career, and you should accept all proffered knowledge graciously.

8. Take Risks and Make Sacrifices

According to Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, the biggest risk in life is failing to take any risks. While you should be careful not to make catastrophic mistakes in your 20s, you shouldn’t be afraid of putting yourself out on a limb – especially because you still have some time to make it right. If you are dedicated to chasing true success, you are probably going to spend some of your 20s living off beans and rice while missing events with friends and family. Eventually, you will attain comfort and confidence in your career, and your 20s will have been way more than worthwhile.

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September 13, 2017, 9:09 am

Have a Gap on Your Resume? Honesty is the Best Policy

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career

When you’re looking for a new job, conventional wisdom has always been that a gap on a resume, regardless of the reason, is a red flag to employers. Employers want to hire individuals with a solid employment history, one free of any significant time between jobs or evidence of job hopping.

While many employers do still have some concerns about applicants with gaps on their resumes, research and recent trends indicate that it might not be the death knell to a job search that it once was. Not only have economic trends, i.e., the Great Recession of 2008, affected many individuals’ employment histories, but there’s also a growing acceptance of alternative paths and experiences in one’s career. In other words, taking time off to raise a family, earn an advanced degree, or even explore a passion is no longer viewed as detrimental to your candidacy, but in some cases, might even be a benefit.

The key to successfully using a gap to your advantage – or at minimum, keeping it from being a liability, is to be honest and forthcoming about why you have a cap in your experience. Downplaying or attempting to hide to the gap won’t do you any favors, and could even take you out of the running.

Why You Should Be Honest

If you are surprised that being upfront is the best way to deal with an employment gap, you aren’t alone. Researchers at Vanderbilt University were also surprised when their study indicated that women who told interviewers that they took time off to raise a family were 30-40 percent more likely to be hired than equally-qualified candidates who did not provide that information. Employers vastly preferred those female candidates who explained their resume gaps, leading the researchers to conclude that providing any explanation for your absence from the workforce, even if that time was not spent on career-related activities, is better than no explanation at all.

Not only does being honest increase the likelihood of receiving a job offer, but it can also prevent speculation on the part of the employer. Many employers are afraid to ask about employment gaps for fear of running afoul of fair employment laws (for instance, questions about gaps could be construed as questions related to family life, which are prohibited) so they try to gather information in other ways, or they make assumptions. Those assumptions may not always be flattering or accurate, so therefore it’s best to be upfront and honest.

Handling a Gap on Your Resume  

Because your resume is the document that will get you in the door for an interview in the first place, it’s smart to address your gap from the outset. If you have a significant gap of a decade or longer, you may want to consider resume services for help, as a resume expert can help you choose exactly the right words and format to highlight your skills and draw attention away from the gap.

In most cases, the best approach to addressing a gap is to choose a functional style resume. Rather than highlighting progressively increasing responsibility, as a chronological resume would, a functional resume puts the spotlight on your skills and achievements, showing employers what you can bring to the table. Think about what you have done during the time you’ve been out of work. Volunteer work, board positions, freelance work, continuing education – all can be included to show that you’ve stayed in the loop and continued to build your skills.

Most importantly, though, show employers that even though you may not have been employed for some time, you have kept abreast of changes in the industry and that you are prepared to address current challenges and use current methodologies and technology. One reason that employers may be reluctant to hire someone with a gap is a concern that the candidate isn’t up to speed with current trends or hasn’t accepted changed, so you need to provide reassurance that you are prepared for today’s workplace.

It’s also important to avoid being apologetic. Be confident in who you are and the decisions that you have made. An apologetic or negative attitude toward your circumstances will come through in your resume, and send the wrong message to employers. Stay positive.

Resume gaps are common, and they don’t have to be bad news for your job search. Be honest and forthright, and focus on what you can do, not what you haven’t done, and you’ll have a better chance at getting the job of your dreams.

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June 14, 2017, 12:53 pm

Attention Aspiring CFOs: Are You Adding Value Beyond the Numbers?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business,Career

Becoming a CFO is no longer just about your financial chops. In our fast paced and fluid environment, companies are searching for financial leaders who can think strategically about overarching business needs while at the same time, applying their experiences and persuasive skills to influence members of the C-suite, boardroom, key stakeholders and beyond. In this new context, the CFO is emerging as the advisor who ensures the organization is translating numbers into opportunities. Yet, being viewed as a partner and a trusted advisor is often where many fall short and fail to break out of the accountant mould.

“The CFO has become the new Chief Operating Officer,” said Ross Woledge, CFO Practice Leader for Odgers Berndtson in Canada — a leading global executive search firm. “Traditionally, the finance role was about reporting the numbers. Now it’s about telling the story behind the numbers.” And while some of this competency can be chalked up to how leading CFOs look at the world, some of it can — and should — be learned.

A study of top Canadian financial executives, conducted by Odgers Berndtson, uncovered some interesting trends that defy popular stereotypes of financial leader traits. In examining the psychometric profiles of close to 300 top CFOs and finance executives in Canada, the United States, Asia and Europe, it became clear that the majority of today’s successful CFOs share the following four key leadership characteristics:

  1. Less process driven and rule oriented than other executives: While traditional CFOs might be perceived as set in their ways and detail-oriented to a fault, modern CFOs are much more willing to challenge the status quo and call for change among their executive cohort.
  2. Competitive and driven to achieve: Interestingly, the profile for these successful CFOs is more similar to that of business development executives or entrepreneurial CEOs than it is to that of budget- or control-oriented individuals. This high achievement orientation makes CFOs exceptionally well suited for executive roles — particularly if they’re gunning for future CEO positions.
  3. Resilient, hard-working and self-accepting, which allows them to deal with the pressures of high-profile roles where they’re accountable not only for protecting the financial integrity of their organizations but also, increasingly, for facilitating growth and capacity for innovation.
  4. Strong relationship-building skills, comfortable in the spotlight, which allows them to engage in meaningful interactions with co-workers as well as peers in the C-suite, on the board, and investors alike.

The study also revealed that diverse experience can make a difference. The most successful CFOs build both a depth and breadth of expertise that comes from seeking out as many varied experiences as possible. Among Mr. Woledge’s recommendations for executives looking to advance in financial leadership roles:

  1. Go beyond your accounting designation: Consider developing your capital market skills by pursuing a CFA. Or if you’ve got your sights set on being a CEO, an executive MBA can provide practical skills and know-how that can take your career to the next level.
  2. Take a “corkscrew” approach to your career: Take advantage of opportunities to move out from the comforts of the finance department, to work in different functions or industries altogether. The result is a CFO “who deeply understand[s] how the company really makes money, not just how to read what shows up on the income statement.”
  3. Hone your stakeholder skills: “You can be the smartest person in the room, but if you can’t bring people around to your perspective, you’re going to fail,” noted Mr. Woledge. If you lean towards the numbers-side of finance (vs. the people-side), then consider spending time with your Investor Relations team to hone your media and communications skills. Getting facetime with key stakeholders will enhance your ability to learn their pain points, speak their language, and ultimately, rouse support from among the C-suite ranks.
  4. Take risks and have an opinion: In ultra-competitive economies, CFOs are often called upon to be catalysts for change, to instill a financial approach that reduces costs while also helping other parts of the business perform better. Being an effective change-maker requires a degree of poise, flexibility, and above all else, an openness to dealing with ambiguity that comes from a combination of innate attitude plus the experience to know that taking calculated risks can often pay off with big rewards.

Advancement in any career requires taking on new challenges. You may also consider programs like the Business Leadership for Finance Executives (a partnership between Odgers Berndtson and the Rotman School of Management) that continue to develop the intellectual and emotional agility of finance leaders and critical leadership skills to accelerate their rise through the executive ranks.

And remember: Being a trusted advisor does not happen overnight. As with everything, it takes practice, and being close to the business (whether it’s the sales, marketing, operations or other teams) enables you to hone your approach to running a company.

 

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January 8, 2014, 5:00 am

What Can You Do When Your Goal Achievement Plans Fall Apart?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business,Career

Each year, I identify personal goals that Im going to work on throughout the year. Im back with my “2014 edition.

 

But first, let’s take a look at my 2013 goals and see how it went…

2013 GOALS REVIEWED

 

It’s the first time since I can remember that I didn’t do too well with my goals throughout the year. In fact, if I look at 2013, I feel somewhat like a big failure…

DROPPING UNDER 300K OF DEBT

Surprise! Surprise! This didnt happen. I worked really hard on reducing my expenses but this wasn’t enough. Then, my wife opened her daycare at home to earn more money. Finally, I sold my RX-8 (which I surprisingly don’t miss that much right now!)

While I made great efforts to both increase income and reduce spending, other factors came into play. Google had hit our online business severely over the past two years and making money online is harder than ever before. We shifted our focus to pay our corporate debts and significantly reduced any dividend or revenues paid to shareholders. This is why the daycare only served to replace this income temporarily lost in my budget. The problem is that the daycare started only in September whereas we stopped our revenues back in May of the same year.

I’m still waiting for a few numbers to update assets and my current net worth and debt levels but I should finish in a better position compared to the beginning of the year. And the most important part: Ive definitely increased my income and reduced my spending budget for 2014.

 

OPENING A TFSA

The reason why I wanted to open a TFSA in 2013 was to start a fund to pay for private school. I have three young kids and I want all of them to go to private high school. I’ve already looked at the different options in our city and the best schools with the best sports/art/international programs are private.

I’m happy to check this item off my list as my TFSA is not only opened but my account shows almost $900 at the end of the year. At this pace, I will have the first year completely covered once my oldest kid reaches high school. My goal is to increase my contribution each year so I have over $10,000 in this fund in four years. This would give me more than 2 years in advance (assuming the cost is about $4,000 per year). Over the next four years, I need to increase my bi-monthly contribution from $50 to $150 to be able to generate $4,000 each year to pay for this expense. The fund (the $10,000 or so) will cover for the years where two of my kids will be at private school at the same time. So far, the plan seems to be on the right track.

 

MAKING OVER 150K

With my sites not generating any income I can withdraw, you probably figured that I failed to earn over 150K. My bonus wasn’t as high as expected for my second year at my new job but I’m still happy overall. I almost reached my objective as I made around $130K this year. I guess the good news with this story is that my personal income didn’t move, but my wife is now generating additional income for our household.

Next year, our household income will definitely break the 150K as I expect to make 150K myself. Therefore, our family revenues will probably be around 175K. Now we are talking about making some serious money!

And due to my most recent online projects, I will be able to withdraw some dividends out of it!

 

LOSE WEIGHT

I don’t know if I can say this but I achieved this goal and then failed later on. I dropped from 193lbs to 182lbs during the summer. Then, for an unknown reason, I completely slacked on my training program and went back to… 198lbs as at December 31st!

Part of my plan to lose weight included running 500 miles over the year. The reason why I picked 500 miles was because I can track them on my treadmill ;-). Running on average 10 miles per week and giving 2 weeks of buffer seemed like a challenge but feasible at the same time. I did run 501 miles in my year and I’m quite proud of it. But I noticed that this wasn’t enough to maintain the key point in losing weight: being consistent. The goal was “too easy” and this is why I was 30 miles in advance in September and slacked off.

NOW ON TO MY 2014 PERSONAL GOALS

2013 was frustrating and a year of adjustments. I didn’t feel like I accomplished much and sometimes it felt like I was losing an entire year to turn round and around like a dog running after its tail. But life is like a big ship; sometimes it takes time to make it turn 180 degrees.

I now feel that I’ve set the table for a great year in 2014. But the main difference between 2013 and 2014 will have to be consistency. If I work on a continuous basis instead of raising peaks here and there, I will be able to accomplish all of my goals.

PAYING OFF MY CONSUMER DEBTS

On January 1st, 2015, I want to be able to declare that I’ve completely paid off my credit cards, personal and pool loans. This represents about 15K in debt. Once these are paid off, I will have over $400/month in free cash flow. This should be enough to accomplish my second goal.

 

INCREASING MY TFSA SAVINGS TO $100 BI-WEEKLY

If I want to fund my children’s education correctly, I need to increase my savings ability to $150 bi-weekly. In 2013, I started my journey with $50 bi-weekly. I want to double this amount towards the end of 2014. I will probably use my next salary increase in June to make it happen.

 

LOSE 20 POUNDS & RUN A HALF MARATHON

Hey! It’s the beginning of the year! So why not push ourselves out of the comfort zone??? By the end of 2014, I want to weigh under 180 lbs. The first thing I will do is to increase my running challenge from 500 miles to 550 miles. This will leave me no room for breaks as I will need to run 3 times a week consistently to make it happen.

If I can keep up with this pace over the year, I should be ready to run my first half marathon towards the end of the year; most likely in September or October. The most I ran in 2013 was 16.5km, a half marathon is 21km.

 

SUCCESSFULLY COACH MY SON IN COMPETITIVE SOCCER

My oldest kid is a very good soccer player. This year, I hope he will make the competitive team in his first try. I’m also applying for the “coach position”. I’m not a soccer player, but I just love coaching kids while watching how they can progress and learn over a short period of time. The tryouts start in January for both my son and I. The goal is for both of us to make the team and have a wonderful summer!

 

GETTING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE

This is more like a qualitative goal and it is very hard to determine what it truly means. I just noticed that I’ve been comfortably installed in my comfort zone for the past two years. Since I had my third child, I’ve put pretty much everything in my life on cruise control. I can say the results weren’t self-fulfilling and that I want and expect a lot more from life. Getting out of my comfort zone means acquiring clients in non-conventional ways (e.g. not through references, but becoming the king of cold calls and networking), becoming fit (the goal being not only to lose weight but being able to take my shirt off during the summer ;-)), doing things I have never done before (like running a half marathon, coaching a competitive sport), etc. The idea here is to burst my bubble and do something that matters. I want to feel the fire burning inside of me…again.

 

Life is nothing if its not burning inside you.

-Me

 

 

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September 16, 2013, 5:00 am

Financial Planner – Car Salesman or Personal Finance Superhero?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career

 

 

Ever since I wrote about my day job and told you the difference between a CFP vs a CFA, I receive emails on a continuous basis from readers about becoming a financial planner. Today, I’ll try to answer most of these questions with some kind of “reference” for all students who love personal finance as well for all those thinking of a career change… that will pay the bills big time!

 how to become a financial planner

How to Become a Financial Planner

 

A while ago (back in 2008!), I wrote a quick piece about how to become a financial planner. The article was short and sweet and today I think there is more to add now that I’ve been one for the past 6 years.

 

School & Other Prerequisites

 

I’m pretty sure school requirements differ from one country to another but generally, you need a bachelor’s degree. If you have one in finance or at least a certificate in financial planning, that would be ideal! If not, I think the certificate in financial planning is enough to pass the CFP exam in most places.

 

A financial planner usually deals with wealthy clients; therefore, it’s kind of stupid to think you will be able to impress your clients with a simple certificate in financial planning. This is why I strongly suggest getting a bachelor’s degree. I personally decided to complete an MBA to add more letters to my business card but that’s a choice ;-). If you are going for a master’s degree and you are not afraid of working, a master in taxation could be even better (most people hate paying taxes and they would love someone who can manage to save a few bucks through tax optimization).

 

Once you have your certificate in financial planning, you are not done yet. You need a professional title called the CFP (Certified Financial Planner). You can read more about the certification process at the CFP Board (US), Canadian Securities Institute (Canadian, duh!) and IQPF (Quebec). This certification make sure you know the basics in all the financial planning fields:

 

1. Estate Planning

2. Personal Finance

3. Insurance

4. Investment

5. Legal Aspects

6. Retirement Planning

7. Taxation

 

You don’t need to be a pro in all fields. Your role as a financial planner is like a family doctor; you look at your clients’ financial situation and deliver a diagnostic on all 7 fields. Then, if there is a need for a professional to step in (like a lawyer, accountant, insurance rep, etc), you can refer your client to the specialist.

 

It is good that you have your own specialization. If you are very strong in one or two aspects of financial planning, this will give you an edge against your competitors and will also help you with sales. On my side, I’ve decided to focus on investments, credit (personal finance) as well as retirement planning. I also have good knowledge of taxation and insurance. But my USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is based on Honesty, Efficiency and Proactivity.

 

Now that you have a certificate in financial planning and your CFP title, there is another big decision to make: Investments or Insurance?

 

Ideally, you will need an investment license or life insurance license. If you want to be self-employed, you can even get both! But to start, I suggest you get one or the other and start with one specialization. This is a lot of stuff to learn and doing everything at the same time is not always a good option. If you plan to start your career in a bank, you will need the investment license and won’t be able to use a life insurance license (this is the case in Canada, I’m not sure about the US).

 

So if you want to become a financial planner you will need:

In addition to the following, I suggest:

#1 a Bachelor’s degree

#2 a Specialization in at least 2 fields

#3 a Master’s degree

how to become a financial planner

What’s Your Job as a Financial Planner – Selling or Advising?

 

If you have read everything above and are still with me, that’s a good sign. Advising people about their personal finance should not be taken lightly and this is why it is important to study hard and acquire as much financial knowledge as possible. Now…. Is a Financial Planner a used car salesman or a professional advisor?

 

Like it or not, sales is a part of the job when you are a financial planner. But you are not selling what you think. The point is not to sell a financial product. The point is to sell your vision, your knowledge, your trustworthiness. If you can sell yourself as a professional advisor, your clients will want to do business with you.

It has nothing to do with products, nothing to do with your best rate. It’s all about trust.

If you are capable of selling yourself, the sales part will be done. So if you hate selling stuff, don’t worry, good financial planners are not salesmen.

cfp salary

CFP Salary – How Much You Make?

 

That’s a tricky question in this field since you can be self-employed or work for a firm. And you can be 100% commissions, 50/50 (or any other kind of mix between commission and base salary), base salary only or fee based (independent financial planner specialized in writing financial plans where you pay for the plan only).

 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistic, a CFP makes anywhere between $100,000 and $168,000, bonuses and commissions included (I got the stats here).

 

For Canada, I’ve found 2 sites showing salaries from CFP working in several independent firms and banks. Average CFP salary seems to be around $70,000. Check out Glassdoor and Payscale for more info.

 

From my own experience, a CFP can start with a base salary of roughly $50,000 to $60,000 depending on his background (and level of commissions). If you have a high commission payout, your base salary will be lower (duh!). At the end of our first year, you should bring in around $60,000 to $80,000 if you are good at your job. Here’s how much I made from this job per year:

 

2008: $64,000 (worked 9 months as financial planner)

2009: $96,000

2010: $103,000

2011: $136,000

2012: $99,000

2013 (estimated): $100,000

 

*if you have followed my blog for a while, you probably remember the article about the chronology of my income. The amounts differ since the previous article included my employee benefits along with my online income.

 

As you can see, I had built my portfolio from 2008 to 2011 then I moved to another job closer to where I live. I had to start a new book of clients and this is why my income in 2012 and 2013 has decreased to roughly $100K. Still, it’s a pretty good income as you can see and it is fairly stable over time. I expect to see the numbers growing in the upcoming years. Since I work with a base income structure, I don’t expect to make more than $150K per year.

 

If you go the self-employed route, you can go anywhere from $20,000 to $1,000,000 per year and even more. This is not BS or a sales pitch, I’ve seen notices of assessment (Gov’t verified revenue) showing over $1M from a top adviser. But the guy was bringing in between $25M and $50M per year in his book.

Car Salesman? Superhero?

 

As I’ve mentioned before, this is up to you to become a car salesman or not. Some people like more money than their clients and this is obviously an easy job to make tons of money if you keep on selling. I’ve met true salesmen during my career and they are making a lot of money. While compliance has become very important in this field, it doesn’t mean that some people prefer to push highly paid financial products down their clients’ throats while following the rules.

 

The good news is that you don’t need to be like that to make a good living. If you advise your clients and truly work for them, the money will come. The only difference is that you may not be a shooting star the first year, but income will gradually increase year after year. The best part is that the job becomes a lot easier once your portfolio is established and your clients trust you. Even better, at one point, they will refer their friends and family to you and the cold call sessions will become history!

 

Therefore, I suggest you become a personal finance superhero for your clients instead of another car salesman. It will pay over time!

One of the Toughest Jobs?

 

If you want to have an idea of my day at work, I’ve already covered what a financial planner does, but it goes beyond that. I’m not ready to tell you that it’s one of the toughest jobs on earth (far from it) but it’s not as easy and glamorous as you think.

 

#1 There are tons of paperwork

 

#2 You will be told “no” by prospects almost everyday

 

#3 You will have fight to get new clients, and fight again to keep them away from competition

 

#4 You will have to comfort your clients during market volatility

 

#5 You will have to face angry people when it doesn’t go well and there is nothing you can do about it

 

#6 You will face the pressure of “selling” while you need to advise clients

 

Going to the latest point, the pressure of selling will come regardless if you are self-employed or if you work for a firm. For self-employed financial planners, the pressure comes from their commission statement. As self-employed, you will probably be 100% commission base. Therefore, no sales means no pay check. If you are not sitting on a comfy emergency fund, you might find this situation uncomfortable.

 

If you work for a firm, you will get monthly (I’ve even seen weekly) performance reports of everybody on your team. You don’t want to fall into the last spots. Your boss may ask you how many calls, meetings, plans you have done in your week. What is coming next and how your “pipeline” (list of potential deals to be closed shortly) looks.

 

Overall, the financial industry is not made for the faint of heart. If you bring the numbers in, you are a superstar. If you don’t, well, maybe it’s time for you to look for another job.

 

Some places are more edgy than others, I can only advise you to meet with a few branch manager so you can gauge which one prefers to serve their clients well vs the one who prefers to see the money first. You can usually tell which one is which after your 1hr interview.

 

CFP fast track

CFP Fast track: Independent, Affiliate or Bank Employee?

 

As a final note on this exhaustive article, I thought of sharing a few CFP fast track tips. I believe I’ve accomplished some serious achievements during my career as a CFP and I should share them with you.

 

#1 Start in a Bank – It’s a Great School

 

If you are not ready to make the big jump towards a 100% commission job, I suggest you start out working for a bank. You will get a great base income, employee benefits and additional commissions if you are a good financial planner. I’ve learned a lot by working for a bank. The best part is that you have the time to learn even if you don’t bring in the money the first month, you still receive a pay check!

 

#2 Work for a Reputable Firm

 

Regardless if you are going self-employed or for a bank, it is important to choose a reputable firm. Clients are more likely to trust you if you work for a known institution then if you work for John Doe investing Inc. It makes your first approach easier (remember my Primerica reviews)….

 

#3 Find your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

 

I’ll be honest; there are tons of competitors out there. What makes you a better CFP than the guy with the same suit and the same tie next door? Your USP will make the difference. Find out what you are truly good at, prepare your speech and be interesting. This is why it is so important to be strong in a few fields of financial planning where your clients will see you as an expert. You have to become #1 on their list for anything related to money.

 

#4 Ask for references once you have done a good job

 

Asking for references from your clients is never easy. But when you do something awesome and truly help your clients, it’s easy to only suggest: “Do you like what I’ve done for you? Don’t you think you can let your friends benefit from it too?. People tend to hang around with the other individuals in the same social demographic situation. Therefore, if you hit someone with $500,000 to invest, chances are that this guy has a few friends in a similar situation. Don’t ask for referrals, ask your client how you can help his friends as you helped him.

 

#5 Do the extra mile… all the time

 

I remember when I started my career; my assistant was complaining that I was doing too much for my clients. That it was up to them to do this or that and not me or… her! But this is exactly the point: going the extra mile will make you a superhero for your client. People refer their contacts to someone who provided a wow experience, not to someone who did an okay or a good experience. If you can flabbergast your client, you will have more money coming in!

 

Don’t think you do too much for your clients, you can always do more!

 

That’s it! Do you have any questions?

 

All right! I’m pretty much done with all I have to share with you about becoming a financial planner. I can tell you that it’s the perfect job for me and that I truly like it. If you have any questions, it’s the time to share them with your comments 😉

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