Launching a financial planning career is no small task, but, rest assured, it can be done. Financial planning offers you an extremely flexible schedule, excellent upside potential, and the opportunity to truly make a difference for the people you serve.
There’s no question that getting started requires a lot of heavy lifting, but there are a lot of scary assumptions out there about the industry that just aren’t true. Let’s debunk a few of the most common misconceptions.
1. I’ll have to starve for years before I start to make a decent income
Unlike our friends in the medical or dental professions, financial planners tend to make decent money right out of the gate–if they put forth the effort. Of course, there are no income guarantees in this profession, but the truth is there are no guarantees anywhere. Even an employee with a nice salary and a benefits package can be laid off. The great thing about working on commission is that, while there are no guarantees, there are no limits, either.
2. I’ll have to call on my family and friends
Maybe you think you’ll have to pursue your family and friends as potential clients in order to get started. And, indeed, many new financial planners do just that—sometimes with the strong encouragement of their new employers. But calling on your friends and family is never a requirement, and if a company tries to tell you otherwise, you can always work for somebody else. There are hundreds, yes, hundreds, of ways to develop a market and find clients. You just need to get creative and find one method that works for you.
3. I need a degree in finance or financial planning to be successful
There are some great finance and financial planning programs out there, but they’re really not my first choice for aspiring financial planners. I’ve written about what programs I do recommend here, but the point is that understanding the difference between the Dow Jones and the NASDAQ is not the most important thing in this business. What really matters is whether you can communicate clearly, be tenacious in your follow through, and put forth the effort to succeed.
4. There are too many financial planners already
No, there aren’t.
I’ve worked in three separate markets in my career—different cities, different groups of people. I’ve also interviewed and consulted with advisors from across the nation, and I’ve read the results of many studies on this very topic. The message everywhere is the same—the American public needs more help than ever with their finances. In addition, consider that the average financial planner is in their mid to late 50’s. Since the average age of a life insurance agent is 59,(1) we’re about to see an explosion of opportunities for aspiring young financial professionals willing to put forth the effort to build a planning practice.
The American dream is alive and well, if you are willing to work for it. There is no better time than right now to launch a career in the financial planning industry. Companies are well aware of their need to hire and train the next generation of planners; they are ready to invest in your training and success. If you have ever considered a career in financial planning, but had your reservations because of one of the issues listed above, you owe it to yourself to explore this career further.