Are you interested in learning about life as a financial advisor?
Perhaps know more about how their typical day looks like?
If the answer is yes, you are in the right place.
Today, you’ll learn about:
Let’s get started.
Financial Planning Career: More Than the Dollars
The life of an advisor is marked with years of hard work and commitment to helping people.
While many people are often motivated to join the industry by the prospect of earning high commission, those who stay are the few who have a genuine interest in serving others.
Ninety percent of an advisor’s life revolves around establishing connections.
The job description is about helping people manage their money.
They offer financial advice to clients and tailor financial plans that meet individual’s financial needs.
And when they are not guiding people on financial matters, you’ll find advisors prospecting for clients through calls, events, seminars, etc.
The job literally revolves around people!
Therefore, if someone doesn’t genuinely love listening to people, it won’t be easy to establish contacts and create relationships with clients.
This brings us to the next point: financial planning services are driven by sales.
Financial advisors are always looking for prospects.
If they are on LinkedIn, they are sending direct messages.
If they are in the office, they are planning strategies to get leads.
And so people who hate sales can as well bid this profession goodbye.
You don’t want to miss this next part.
There are approximately 200,000 financial advisors in the USA.
The industry is highly competitive.
It’s only by differentiating oneself that advisors can have an edge in the market.
This calls for licenses and certifications.
Advisors selling securities must register with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
To register, an advisor must pass an exam.
And there are several licenses.
So an advisor will enroll for a license that suits their career path.
FINRA only allows registered advisors to offer financial advice and sell mutual funds, stocks, bonds, or annuities
Investment advisors managing client’s investment portfolios must register with Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Investment advisors work with registered investment advisors (RIA) firms and often charge flat, hourly, or asset under management fees.
If they are selling financial products, they can work with brokerage firms.
Investment advisors offer a wide range of services, apart from managing investment portfolios.
They may offer estate planning, retirement planning, and tax planning services, among other financial services.
Investment advisors act as fiduciaries, ensuring they put their clients’ interests first.
At this point, we can all agree that a financial advisor’s life involves much more than what we see on the surface.
The fact that it’s among the best-paying jobs in the country is well deserving.
Now, let’s take a step further and look into personal financial advisor’s life at the start of their financial advisory career.
Life as an Entry-Level Financial Advisor
Entry-level financial advisors start with commission only.
More often than note, commission-only payment needs more than a commitment to stay the course.
In the first 5 years of their career, they’ll have to endure long working hours.
One thing that’s a fact, if a new advisor doesn’t have a network of friends or family members to start with, the first few months will be tough.
Their days will be mostly consumed by prospecting for clients.
This process boils down to calling a lot of people.
They may also resort to emails or visiting offices.
This is where they quickly learn that it’s crucial to keep tabs on every prospect they reach out to.
Statistically, in every ten people an advisor contacts, they’ll end up meeting probably three of them for the initial conversation.
They can expect one of those prospects to convert in the next two to three years.
If it’s not clear yet, let’s point out that advisors get tones of “Nos.”
At some point, their confidence is literally on the floor.
Sometimes the nature of the job requires them to adopt the prospect’s schedule.
Suppose a client is only available at 8:00 P.M.
They’ll have to show up at that time.
Two years in, they’ll realize that most of the people they graduated with earn more than they are.
A typical case of when it rains, it pours.
But if they are truly passionate about helping people make informed financial decisions, the challenges will not push them to quit.
Just to clarify, all these hurdles don’t imply that every day will be crappy.
They’ll be days when new advisors get a fat paycheck.
And in those months, they’ll have peace of mind.
But for the most part, new advisors will work their butt off.
If they put in the work, however, their earnings will grow slowly but steadily.
They have to be clear from the moment they choose a financial advisor career.
What do they want?
What are they going to do to reach their goals?
From there, they can work relentlessly towards that goal.
And even then, they must manage their expectations.
Once they’ve built strong networks, the financial industry will prove rewarding in terms of money and even the networks they’ll establish.
A Typical Day in the Life of a Financial Advisor
Financial advisors have a wide range of responsibilities.
They juggle quite a number of tasks daily, often with their days starting early in the morning and ending late in the evening.
So, how does an advisor’s day look like?
Let’s have a sneak peek.
Preparation the Night Before
An advisor’s day doesn’t start in the morning, rather at night.
Many advisors find it productive to review the day’s work in the evening to see what went well, what failed, and what needs improvement.
It’s this review that helps advisors better help clients reach their financial goals.
Additionally, the preparation entails scheduling tasks for the next day.
Why is this important?
There are many things an advisor could do in a day.
For example, responding to clients’ inquiries in a timely fashion is outstanding, but doing that the whole day won’t add much value to an advisor’s work, would it?
Hence, the need for a schedule.
Planning the night before doubles productive because an advisor knows exactly what to do and when to do it.
More than being busy, financial advisors are better placed being productive.
To be honest, there is no standard routine that advisors follow.
What works for one person might not work for the other.
While some advisors hit the ground running with no morning routine, others take time to meditate, exercise, journal, or read before starting their work schedule.
Experienced financial planners may have their breakfast while reading finance blog posts, watching financial service news, or checking industry updates.
Seasoned advisors could take this time to have breakfast with strategic alliances.
During this time, a financial advisor can check in on the partners they have a good working relationship with to find out about their businesses.
What’s happening with their work or clients?
How’s their family doing?
Since strategic alliances bring better results when nurtured, breakfast sessions are one of the best ways to nurture them.
Serving Existing Clients
Existing clients are the backbone of any financial advisor career.
And so, many advisors take their time in the morning to check their emails and respond to clients’ questions.
They also organize face-to-face meetings, zoom calls, or phone calls to update clients about their investment portfolio, financial market news, or new financial services the client might find useful.
Other times, the conversations with clients may be casual just to find out the client’s new milestones or changes in life.
Maybe they’ve married, got new employment, started a business, or got a child.
This information could help an investment advisor adjust the client’s financial plan to better address the client’s current situation.
Meetings with clients don’t have to be daily except when there are pressing issues to be addressed.
The meetings are mostly quarterly.
Advisors working with affluent clients may have meetings annually.
Prospecting for New Clients
This is the most important part of an advisor’s work.
In fact, new advisors can spend up to 75% of their daily schedule prospecting.
That’s more than half a day!
Experienced financial advisors also prospect for clients to avoid stagnation.
Prospecting is crucial because it’s the only way to build a thriving book of business.
Advisors implement several prospecting strategies to continuously have a stream of clients, or at least some leads in the pipeline.
The most common prospecting strategies include:
- Referrals from friends, family, existing clients, and strategic alliances. Seasoned advisors are more likely to capitalize on referrals as they’ve established themselves in the industry.
- Social media channels like LinkedIn and Facebook are also platforms where advisors search for prospects.
- Emailing or calling contact lists is yet another way advisors find clients.
- Attending seminars, sponsoring corporate events, and lunch meetings are also prospecting avenues.
An advisor will spend a good percentage of their day using a combination of these strategies to prospect for new clients.
It’s the toughest part of being an advisor.
But trust us here.
If an advisor puts in the work, they’ll definitely get results.
Reaching to prospects also includes meeting the potential clients in person to discuss the value the advisor is bringing to the table.
Administrative duty is what many advisors will describe as the boring part of a financial advisor job description.
And it might be, to be honest.
Administrative duties consist of those mundane tasks that an advisor must do every other day.
Administrative duties include updating clients’ records, processing trade tickets, filling out paperwork, managing archived client communication, and so on.
Apart from consuming 41% of an advisor’s time, these duties are incredibly tasking, as one needs to pay attention to every detail.
Therefore, having an administrative assistant take care of these duties can significantly boost a financial advisor’s productivity.
Financial Planning Work
Financial planning is where an advisor put’s their expertise to work.
It’s at the core of financial planners’ responsibility.
Despite the gazillion tasks an advisor must handle in a day, they must also create time to develop their clients’ financial plans.
To do this part of their job effectively, advisors must have a thorough understanding of the financial products they recommend to clients.
They must understand the wide range of investment strategies and which ones would better meet a client’s specific financial goals.
Not only that, they must stay abreast with the financial industry changes and market trends to give up-to-date solutions to address clients’ needs.
With that said, here is how financial planners help clients reach their financial goals.
Collect Data From Clients
At this preliminary stage, an advisor asks the client a host of questions.
These questions may include their relationship with money, investments, career, family, financial goals, savings plan, and financial concerns, among others.
The goal here is to have an overview of the client’s financial situation.
Assess Client’s Current Situation
The advisor would then analyze where the client is currently and where they want to go.
The puzzle is how they can help the client bridge the gap.
Compare Different Scenarios and Tailor a Plan
This stage calls for an advisor to review the client’s current investment holdings and saving plans and then figure out which financial products and services will suit the client.
Since there is a wide range of products and services, an advisor would compare different scenarios and how they can impact the client’s goals.
From there, they’ll tailor a financial plan with the products that will be better suited to the client’s needs.
In the financial industry, education is ongoing.
At times, an advisor would spend weeks studying for exams or attending seminars for specialized topics.
There are licenses that advisors need to sell specific products.
Moreover, certification programs like certified financial planner, chartered financial consultant, or personal financial specialist may be just what an advisor needs to take their career to the next level.
For that reason, taking those certifications is inevitable,
Besides that, there is continuing education (CE), which are specific coursework that an advisor must do yearly to keep up with the ever-evolving industry rules and regulations.
Beyond these programs, an advisor can further their career by pursuing a master’s degree.
And even when an advisor is not taking these courses, there are always training programs to help advisors sharpen their skills.
Generally, learning about new products or techniques equips an advisor to serve the client better.
Role of Financial Advisors
Personal financial advisors wear many hats. They are educators, salespersons, marketers, financial planners, strategists, and your go-to customer service representative in financial matters.
Advisors don’t necessarily remove one hat to wear another.
Often, they perform these tasks simultaneously.
Every continuing education coursework, training, or seminar an advisor attends adds to their wealth of knowledge.
Advisors use their knowledge and experience to educate clients about managing their money.
They help clients understand what it takes to reach their dreams.
They may handle topics like saving and budgeting at the beginning of a relationship with a client.
As they get to understand the client’s financial life better, they delve into more detailed topics.
Suppose they’ve developed a financial plan for a client.
They’ll help the client understand every aspect of the plan.
Advisors also organize for seminars to offer investment advice and help prospects better handle their personal finance.
The education aspect also takes the form of blog posts and social media posts, where advisors share snippets about wealth management, retirement planning, investment management, estate planning, and general matters about financial life.
As stated earlier, financial advisors can only offer advice if there are clients who need their help.
For that reason, marketing is a very important aspect of a financial advisor’s work.
Different advisors implement different strategies to market themselves and their financial services.
Client events are an absolute gem when it comes to advisors marketing their services.
Requesting clients to come with a plus one can be a great way to get the business in front of people who could benefit from an advisor’s services.
Local networking events are one of the platforms where advisors meet with like-minded individuals and potential clients.
When these events are online, they open up an even bigger audience where advisors can connect with many people at one go.
More than educating people, blog posts and social media showcase advisors’ expertise.
If an advisor can be found online, they’re a step closer to getting new clients who have already interacted with their work.
An advisor is a strategist by default.
They develop a financial plan that takes into consideration every aspect of a client’s financial situation.
A CFP has to consider several investment strategies before developing a holistic plan to help the client meet their goals.
At the core of a personal financial advisor career is sales duty.
Selling is an ongoing process that advisors do anywhere at any time.
Sales really is about advisors telling prospects who they are, their services, their offers, and how they can help the client.
If they are offering life insurance, why should a prospect care?
How can their retirement plans help a potential client hoping to retire in the next 10 years meet their retirement savings goals?
As a salesperson, advisors strive to articulate the value the client will get if they hire them.
Financial professionals give people peace of mind because they clear all doubts whenever a client or a prospect has a concern.
Fiduciary advisors put their client’s interests first.
They are open about all the financial decisions they make on behalf of their client.
Besides, advisors employ a hands-on approach.
They check up on their clients.
They send cards and flowers to clients during birthdays, anniversaries, childbirth, and weddings.
They are always letting their client know they are on their minds.
It’s not only about securing their financial future.