The best way to start a career in financial planning is by getting an education.
If you take courses at a CFP recognized school, it will count towards the module work needed to attain Certified Financial Planner (CFP) status.
This will allow you to take the CFP exam immediately after graduation.
You still need three years of experience in the industry before you can use the designation though.
Fee-Only/Fee-Based Firms vs. Commission-Based
A fee-only financial planner is someone who makes their living by charging fees for their advice.
They are compensated only by their fees and not by commissions or kickbacks.
These are typically the types of jobs most financial planners want.
Commission-based financial planners instead provide low-fee for free advice and expect to make money on the back end by selling products that implement their advice.
Advice from commission-based planners can still be considered high-quality, but it’s often biased based on financial compensation.
Many people looking for a place to start tend to look towards large financial services companies such as MetLife, Northwester, Mass Mutual, Ameriprise, and others, but opinions on these types of companies vary.
Many in the financial industry will agree that places like this are sales factories, but if you’re comfortable with sales, this would be a good place to start.
The training programs at companies like this can also be beneficial.
If you go the route of the small boutique firms, on the other hand, you are more likely to be on the support part of the business as opposed to being in sales and marketing.
Support is a great position to start in, especially early on in your career.
There’s also a greater opportunity to eventually buy and own the practice you work with, which some financial planners might find appealing.
Small boutique firms can sometimes be difficult to get a job with though.
The Benefits of Networking
Times are tough and even if they weren’t, you want to land a job that can provide the most fulfillment in your career – a place you can be happy working in.
That’s why networking is so important.
As mentioned previously, getting a job in a small boutique firm can sometimes be difficult, but making connections in the industry can certainly make that process much easier.
Networking can also help you learn more about the various firms in your area offer.
A great fee-based, high paying salaried job with built-in performance benefits can be found if you connect with others and attend meetings with your local FPA or NAPFA chapters.
Do What Makes You Happy
Whatever career decision you choose to make, be sure that you choose one that makes you happy.
You might end up working with companies in positions you don’t particularly enjoy, but treat it as a part of figuring out where you really want to take your career.
Take advantage of what these companies have to offer, work on earning your licenses, and continue to do what you love.