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I am looking for some career advice. I'm 32 with a bachelor degree in a non-finance related career. What are the steps to becoming a financial planner, or estate planner? First Steps?
My life so far has been working at jobs that I'm really not that passionate about. Do we have any planners on here that could give advice? Recommended? How much of this job is selling?

I did some research, looks like there are CFA CPA, chFC and 27% growth rate projected.
http://www.investopedia.com/articles/financial-advisors/121715/financial-planner-career-path-qualifications.asp 

Info about me:
People Person
No Debt
180k in assets
No Kids
Current Career: Software Development
Major Public University Near by to take courses.

Thanks.

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts

letsspendlotsofmoney (Aug. 24, 2017 @ 8:41a) |

I'm going to have to agree with xerty on this one- find a better place to work and stay in software. That will help wit... (more)

PhDeez (Aug. 24, 2017 @ 9:32a) |

I have a good friend in the advisory business. She says they're getting killed by a combo of the new DOL regs and pressu... (more)

TravelerMSY (Aug. 24, 2017 @ 3:45p) |

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Obligatory

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Just call up your local Primerica office and they will get you set up. While you're waiting make a list of all friend and family you are ready to alienate.

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Never heard of Primerica. How does this alienate friends and family? Thanks for the advice.

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Apply to one of the big financial planner companies and get your series licenses paid for and then branch out on your own. Probably 1 to 2 years of working for someone else before you can do it on your own

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If you want to be taken serious as a "Financial Planner", you'll need to look at working for a firm that will sponsor you for your Series 7, 66 and CFP. Those exams are not easy and many college graduates from top business schools do not pass. I work for a highly regarded firm and 7 out of the 10 college graduates from a local college (Top 25 Business School) that we've hired, have failed their Series 7 on the first attempt. They have one more chance before termination.

I work in the industry and burn-out is prevalent. Those who are extremely "book-smart" usually don't last long because there is a mental aspect of this business that higher education won't teach you. Communication is key and will be the foundation if you want success.

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I know an engineer that went to UBS for a few years and got burned out. A lot of cold calls plus the culture there. You can be a people person but just not one that care about people. the best ones I was told are total sociopaths.

Another one I know did a lateral transfer to the finance side (think of GMAC) of a manufacturer from the engineering side and I think he did ok.

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I forgot to mention, I interned for a semester in college for a financial advisor . The guy I worked for seemed like he preyed on the elderly + selling them the funds that paid for his vacations, so ditto on the sociopath, he was very close to that. I would like to be on the other side of that if possible.  The "un-screwing" of people. 

Lots of people I know would be better off just investing in the S&P index fund vs paying a financial advisor + the fees.

Is there career that is more in the realm of estate planning....preserving wealth. Maybe I am asking the wrong career question.


 

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ZenNUTS said:   I know an engineer that went to UBS for a few years and got burned out. A lot of cold calls plus the culture there. You can be a people person but just not one that care about people. the best ones I was told are total sociopaths.

Another one I know did a lateral transfer to the finance side (think of GMAC) of a manufacturer from the engineering side and I think he did ok.

  i don't think those are financial planning. those are finance?

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Phenomix said:   Never heard of Primerica. How does this alienate friends and family? Thanks for the advice.
  
It's the "Amway" of insurance sales.. If you never hear of Amway? think of a pyramid where the worker bee's do all the work and a few at the top actually make money. 

I had an EX start primerica and if it wasn't for $2k month she received in child support she would have been broke in 6 months. 

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Thanks for the clarification, lots of leaches in the world. How people sleep at night doing something of this stuff is beyond in me. Are there any reputable companies out there?

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Phenomix said:   How much of this job is selling?


 

  
If you want to survive, all of it.

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letsspendlotsofmoney said:   Phenomix said:   Never heard of Primerica. How does this alienate friends and family? Thanks for the advice.
  
It's the "Amway" of insurance sales.. If you never hear of Amway? think of a pyramid where the worker bee's do all the work and a few at the top actually make money. 

that describes every fortune 500

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RBirns said:   
Phenomix said:   How much of this job is selling?


 

  
If you want to survive, all of it.

  If you can't sell, you will NOT survive. Either financially, or thru termination. You're only as good as your numbers. 

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letsspendlotsofmoney said:   Just call up your local Primerica office and they will get you set up. While you're waiting make a list of all friend and family you are ready to alienate.
  I'd never heard of them until a few weeks ago when I found out someone knew was a representative.
She spent a long time trying to get me to buy stuff I already had for less

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I'm fine with selling but I refuse to sell a product that I know is inferior to equally obtainable alternatives.

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Phenomix said:   I'm fine with selling but I refuse to sell a product that I know is inferior to equally obtainable alternatives.
  Financial planning is probably not for you.  There are a few "fee only" planners who give good, unbiased advice and offer unconflicted investment recommendations, but they are few and far between, and relatively poorly paid overall.  You might get 0.5-1% of your client assets in total fees, so to cover costs, expenses as a person on your own or a small business, and still have enough left means $100M's worth.  You typically have to get your start by selling junk investments to suckers to get your foot in the door.  Plus the latest fiduciary rule is going to make it harder to get paid.

I'd stick with software and find a better company to work for if I were you.

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xerty said:   
Phenomix said:   I'm fine with selling but I refuse to sell a product that I know is inferior to equally obtainable alternatives.
  Financial planning is probably not for you.  There are a few "fee only" planners who give good, unbiased advice and offer unconflicted investment recommendations, but they are few and far between, and relatively poorly paid overall.  You might get 0.5-1% of your client assets in total fees, so to cover costs, expenses as a person on your own or a small business, and still have enough left means $100M's worth.  You typically have to get your start by selling junk investments to suckers to get your foot in the door.  Plus the latest fiduciary rule is going to make it harder to get paid.

I'd stick with software and find a better company to work for if I were you.

  
Disagree.  Nearly all fee only planners give unbiased advice.  They earn the same fee regardless of what they recommend, so their only motivation should be to meet the client's need.  They only make money when the client is happy, keeps investing, and gives referrals.  They may be poorly paid initially while building an asset base, but they make a living well before $100M.  The fiduciary rule will have minimal effect on fee only planners.  

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I used to be in this field, part time. I was in WFG- World Financial Group, then PFA-Premier Financial Alliance. They said it's financial planning but you are selling pretty much one product that pays you the most money-Index Universal Life. You are a life insurance agent. Nothing wrong with that. I have had 2 friends in their 50s who died this year. One person had IUL and was having problem making payments for it. IUL is expensive to keep up compared to term life. He had an heart attack and died. His heir got $250K or so. The other person is very rich but did not believe at all in permanent life insurance. I don't know if he had term life. The exemption for federal and estate tax (source: google) is $5.49 million which is very LOW in CA. Just his house alone could easily worth nearly $2 millions. This individual had at least 5 properties and stocks, which could easily be more $5 million. The life insurance proceeds is all tax free and could be used to pay off the estate tax rather than having to sell off properties to cover taxes. 

Still, to this day, i am still debating whether term or permanent insurance is better. It comes to individual needs and preference. I came across people ( industry veterans, or old timers) who dislike IUL and prefer whole life. IUL only came out 20 years or so. No one I know now is selling whole life. 

In WFG and PFA you will come across many people who are making $100K, $250K, millions of dollars, etc. It's all about recruiting and selling life insurance. 

Go for it, you might or might not like it. It's not too expensive to give it a try. 
If you are interested in selling mutual fund products, I would take a look at Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Edward Jones. I personally tell people to look at https://www.bogleheads.org/ and do investments on their own. They don't need advisers. If they are buying permanent life insurance, then I would recommend them an agent. 

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imbatman said:   
letsspendlotsofmoney said:   Just call up your local Primerica office and they will get you set up. While you're waiting make a list of all friend and family you are ready to alienate.
  I'd never heard of them until a few weeks ago when I found out someone knew was a representative.
She spent a long time trying to get me to buy stuff I already had for less

I had people trying to recruit me to primerica. You could get same or better for alot less on your own by going online and search cheapest term insurance or selectquote.com or term4sale.com .   

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diamente said:   
imbatman said:   
letsspendlotsofmoney said:   Just call up your local Primerica office and they will get you set up. While you're waiting make a list of all friend and family you are ready to alienate.
  I'd never heard of them until a few weeks ago when I found out someone knew was a representative.
She spent a long time trying to get me to buy stuff I already had for less

I had people trying to recruit me to primerica. You could get same or better for alot less on your own by going online and search cheapest term insurance or selectquote.com or term4sale.com .   

 
Exactly.. I let her run an "FNA" financial needs analysis is what primerica calls it. All the products she was trying to sell were way overpriced. For term life, I could buy a comparable policy online for the same amount for almost half, I know this is where they generate commisions for the sales agents. And she kept trying to get me to roll my old 401k and ira's over to her to manage. Amazing it would have only cost me about 3% right of the top, no thanks. The investments were definitely not up to my options in Fidelity and I couldn't get over giving someone 3% for investment advice, she was over 40 before she started primerica and didn't have anything saved for retirement. 
 

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yep. the stuff I had for less was from term4sale.com

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RBirns said:   
xerty said:    There are a few "fee only" planners who give good, unbiased advice   
Disagree.  Nearly all fee only planners give unbiased advice.  They earn the same fee regardless of what they recommend, so their only motivation should be to meet the client's need.  They only make money when the client is happy, keeps investing, and gives referrals.  They may be poorly paid initially while building an asset base, but they make a living well before $100M.  The fiduciary rule will have minimal effect on fee only planners.  

 See my emphasis above.   Keeping your client happy is different than giving them good investments, and arguably more important given the advisor compensation structure, but coming up with good investments is not easy.  Those people who can reliably find outperforming investments don't need to be advisors - they can just manage their own money and retire, or others as well via a hedge fund, RIA, etc if they're more ambitious.

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bigdinkel said:   RBirns said:   
Phenomix said:   How much of this job is selling?


 

  
If you want to survive, all of it.

  If you can't sell, you will NOT survive. Either financially, or thru termination. You're only as good as your numbers. 


Not necessarily true. If you work for Merrill Lynch, Edward Jones, UBS, Primerica or any other sales job, then yes, you only "eat what you kill." There are legitimate financial planners (typically independent RIAs) with whom you can get an entry level job and properly learn the trade without feeling like a dirt ball all day everyday. I have been on both sides of the coin, and I'm glad I left the dark side. OP mentioned several professional designations, but not CFP which is the most respected designation on financial planning...but you'll need education and experience first.

OP, you may have noticed that FWF doesn't look favorably on the profession...partly because most here are savvy enough to DIY and partially because most "financial advisors" actually are worthless. Choose your path carefully, I wish I had done so earlier in my career.

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Phenomix said:   Lots of people I know would be better off just investing in the S&P index fund vs paying a financial advisor + the fees. 

If the only value an "advisor" is bringing to the table is investment selection, you absolutely would be better served buying index funds by yourself.

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"My life so far has been working at jobs that I'm really not that passionate about."

It sounds like you're looking for meaning, and maybe you should figure out what you are passionate about, and if found, go into that field instead.

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Thanks for the reply. Yes, this does make sense, fatwalleters can handle their money, including myself. I see the boomers + a lot money who dont have time for to worry about their 401k etc. I guess thats why an advisor is needed, for education and a plan.  I have family members who tell me how much they made in the stock market or how good their advisor is but what they don't realize is their advisor isn't anywhere close to the S&P return and they're getting charged a fee on top of it.

This is some of the motivation for a financial planning career, to help in a sense. Maybe I have rose colored glasses.

 

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Phenomix said:   I'm fine with selling but I refuse to sell a product that I know is inferior to equally obtainable alternatives.
  The good sales people I met are the one who can convince themselves to believe with every fiber of their being that what ever make the most profit for them IS the best product.  We had one of those on FWF a while back, the vets here know who I am talking about.

I was decent in sales but not great because I couldn't make that leap.

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LAwoodtiger said:   "My life so far has been working at jobs that I'm really not that passionate about."

It sounds like you're looking for meaning, and maybe you should figure out what you are passionate about, and if found, go into that field instead.

  Or, option 2.  Do the 9 to 5 to make a living then use your spare time to do the meaningful stuff.

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Phenomix said:   Thanks for the reply. Yes, this does make sense, fatwalleters can handle their money, including myself. I see the boomers + a lot money who dont have time for to worry about their 401k etc. I guess thats why an advisor is needed, for education and a plan.  I have family members who tell me how much they made in the stock market or how good their advisor is but what they don't realize is their advisor isn't anywhere close to the S&P return and they're getting charged a fee on top of it.

This is some of the motivation for a financial planning career, to help in a sense. Maybe I have rose colored glasses.

 

  Once you make your realizations above, about how little value the typical advisor is adding compared to a reasonable benchmark (although the S&P has outperformed a lot of things in recent years), you can make the leap to managing your own money and getting market returns without paying extra fees.  It's only nature to hope you can "help" others realize this and maybe even make a meaningful career out of it.  Many many people think this way and show up at Bogleheads with similar idealistic aspirations.  The problem is this:

1. The majority of people who need an advisor can't tell a good advisor (like you might be) from a slick salesman, and
2. The majority of people are middle class and just don't have enough money for it to be worth your time to advise them.

If you want to make a business out of this, you can be a good advisor/saleman to rich people, many of whom will want unnecessary fanciness/complexity to justify your large dollar fee (even if a small % of their assets), or alternatively be a slick saleman selling huge commission, poor quality products like annuities or non-public REITs to middle class people.  There's not much room for idealism in either of these, sadly.

this is the basic problem of finance.  If you understand it, you don't need an advisor.  If you can't, you're going to most likely fall for some sleazy guy and get screwed.  Self education is the best solution, but you can only help those willing to learn.

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Solid Advice.  I appreciate the insights. 

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I'm going to have to agree with xerty on this one- find a better place to work and stay in software. That will help with your job happiness and then do something you enjoy (and provide "meaning") after work.

IMO, you'll be paid better in software, which will in turn allow you to spend more money on stuff you enjoy.

Personally, I thought having kids was going to be the death of me - especially at 25. In reality, me being an involved Dad in what they do, and helping others (I coach Soccer and run Cub Scouts) gives me happiness and meaning. Maybe get involved in Boys/Girls clubs, YMCA or something like that if you do enjoy kids- especially only a few hours per week instead of full-time . Alternatively, get involved at a Soup Kitchen if you want to help the less fortunate or if you're Handy maybe, Habitat for Humanity.

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I have a good friend in the advisory business. She says they're getting killed by a combo of the new DOL regs and pressure from Vanguard/roboadvisors. How much you make is directly related to how many rich people you know and can gather assets. Also, the clients do expect you to earn your fees. Not so much for generating alpha, but for tons of hand-holding and ancillary advice.

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