How Much Do Financial Advisors Make?
It’s time again for our ‘So You Want My Job’ series, where we interview men who work in desirable men’s jobs and ask them about the reality of their job and for advice on how to people can finally be who they want to be in their growth.
For this installment, we interviewed Jeff Rose. Mr. Rose is a successful financial planner who seems like the kind of man you want to work for you in this economy. Jeff is an Illinois Certified Financial Planner and co -founder of Alliance Investment Group. Her blog, Good Financial Centers, is a planning and investing blog.
Thanks for your work Jeff! AoM really appreciates the thorough, and thoroughly interesting answers you have given us.
1. Tell us a little about yourself (Where are you from? Where did you go to school? How old are you? Describe your job and how long you have been here).
I was born in Los Angeles but mostly grew up in the Midwest in Southern Illinois. I graduated from Southern Illinois University of Carbondale where I met my beautiful wife. I just celebrated my 31st birthday (hard to accept that) and my son is 18 months old at 100 mph.
I am a Certified Financial PlannerTM for a financial planning firm that I and 3 others created in December of 2007 when my former company A. Ed. was purchased by Wachovia. I started with AG Edwards out of college in 2001 and became the youngest financial advisor hired in that office. I retired from January 2005-March of 2006 when my National Guard unit was deployed in Iraq. I went home safely and then passed the CFP® exam in November of 2007 and I am so grateful for what I did. This is the hardest test of my life!
2. Why do you want to be a financial planner? When did you know this was what you wanted to do?
As a kid, I always remember my stepfather was a ‘business man’ who often went to business lunches while wearing custom tailored suits, smooth silk ties, and cuff links. He had a ‘car phone’ in the 80s and thought that was the coolest. I don’t really know what he did, but I knew that business was the field I wanted to go into. Choosing a finance major got me an internship position at AG Edwards. They offered me a position before graduation and I initially turned it down because I thought I was too young to be a financial advisor. But in 2001, kind of like recent times, the job market was shrinking and I was left with no other options. I took the position, and the rest is history.
I think I really knew I found my career job when I had a meeting with a couple more than twice my age and I was able to get them on the right path financially. I remember them thanking me at the end of the meeting. Do you know how good it feels when someone thanks you for just doing your job? They were the first to thank me, but certainly not the last.
3. If the person wants to be a financial planner, how should he or she prepare? What is the best route to work?
Many of the advisors I work with are usually in their second or third career when they choose to become a financial planner. Some have a financial background, some don’t. I think the most common characteristic is that they have a general interest in personal finance and investing (obviously, right?). Almost a year ago I had an intern who doubled primarily in finance and accounting and took and passed his series 7 (security license exam) while he was still studying. I am positive that he will be successful in his life and probably more successful than me.
If you’re still in school, interning with some type of finance firm will give you good sense if the business is right for you. If you are considering a career change, talk to different advisors from different companies. I’m sure you’ll get a different story from each of them about how they treat the business.
4. How competitive does it take to get a job as a financial planner?
I think my profession is one of the most competitive and there is a very high rate of motivation. When I first started, I participated in a training class that had over 50 people here from all different age groups and backgrounds. Before I left the company in 2007, there were only 6 of us left. After the first year, more than half have quit, given up, or simply haven’t achieved.
I often compare starting a business as opening a new restaurant. When you first open up, people are often hesitant to give you a try. They want to hear first that someone else has tried you and wants you. Then they will consider testing you. Of course, that means in the first year, you have to enable your butt in testing to let everyone know you’re open and you’ll be happy to serve them. It’s not like Kevin Costner Field of Dreams, where you ‘build it and they will go.’ You need to bring people with you. I’ve finished everything from cold calling (yes, I’m the annoying telemarketer who interrupted your dinner), seminars, trade shows, investment classes, etc. You named it, I tried it. Anything to get my name out there. Now that I’ve been doing this for 7 years, most of my new clients are referrals from existing ones.
5. Can their financial planners hang their own shingle? If so, what are the advantages / disadvantages of doing so than getting a job within a company?
Surely you can and I did! For an experienced counselor, I strongly believe that’s the way to go. Most of my clients are with me because they know and trust me, not the firm behind me. One of the greatest advantages of hanging your own shingle is that it’s just …. it’s up to you. You control how you want your business and are not influenced by any higher corporate power to push their products. Being in control requires more work although from now on you are not only a financial planner, but also a business owner. Being in the business owner’s chair makes you really evaluate everything you really ‘need’ to run your business. Previously everything was given to me, but at a significant price. I already own my own computer, desk, TV in the office (every office should have a TV, right?), Chairs, telephones, and printers. I paid to have a logo created for my company and it included business cards, stationary, and a website. But by keeping my overhead check, I am able to earn more on my own than ever before. and a website. But by keeping my overhead check, I am able to earn more on my own than ever before. and a website. But by keeping my overhead check, I am able to earn more on my own than ever before.
For a beginner, it is almost impossible to start alone. My old company gave me the necessary training and support to work with clients and know how to serve them. Someone new will probably need that to get to as well as having a big name behind them. Once they are established and have developed a decent clientele, I urge them to somehow consider being alone.
6. When applying for a job, what sets one candidate apart from another?
Obviously, the experience is always there. After that, this is how the candidate can express how bad they want. One example, I thought was a man who was considering changing professions to become a financial planner. Even before he was hired, he taught himself and passed the CFP® exam. How badly do you think he likes it?
Another example is the intern I had a few years back who passed his series 7 while he was still studying. Note that he is a finance and accounting double major. ‘Like’ is what separates the competition.