FA Career Advice Requested

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Jun 15, 2006 12:42 pm

Seeking your advice on the following:  Like the throngs of others, I am considering a career change into the financial advisory business.  I have applied to the typical firms: UBS, MS, ML, SB.  My background includes a two-year non-business graduate degree and successful business experience.  I am in my 30s, married with a child - and am considering relocating to an area where house prices are cheaper to start this new career.  My sales experience is not extensive, but I've done just enough to know that I am decent at it.


Questions:


1) Will starting off in a new area doom me to failure?
2) I will be selling my home to move to this new area - I will need a salary to qualify for a new home - assuming I get an offer, will I be able to use that towards a mortgage?
3) When people fall out of the process, where do they end up?
4) Am I nuts?


Jun 15, 2006 12:44 pm

Also, have I picked the right firms?  I know Ameriprise is looking as well, although I've heard less than good things about that operation.  And is MS a big risk right now?

Jun 15, 2006 1:09 pm
opie:

Seeking your advice on the following:  Like the throngs of others, I am considering a career change into the financial advisory business.  I have applied to the typical firms: UBS, MS, ML, SB.  My background includes a two-year non-business graduate degree and successful business experience.  I am in my 30s, married with a child - and am considering relocating to an area where house prices are cheaper to start this new career.  My sales experience is not extensive, but I've done just enough to know that I am decent at it.


Questions:


1) Will starting off in a new area doom me to failure?
2) I will be selling my home to move to this new area - I will need a salary to qualify for a new home - assuming I get an offer, will I be able to use that towards a mortgage?
3) When people fall out of the process, where do they end up?
4) Am I nuts?



1.  Doom to failure?  Nope, but it is certainly better to try to do it where you know people--the more the better.  The benefit of being familiar with where you are is more than who you know--it's the ability to know where people with money live, work and play.  You want to get close to them.


2.  I suspect your mortgage company will consider whatever you tell them.  I am a fan of "no docs" mortgages.  I know they cost a point or two more in interest, but that might happen anyway if you go through the documentation route and the underwriters are not fond of what they see.  With no docs lending the borrower's credit is checked, the application is considered at face value and they don't ask for tax returns to substantiate it.


You'll have to have pretty good credit and a pretty good down payment.  If your family can help with the down payment approach them, parents love to help with mortgages much more than a request for enough money to spend a month on a Windjammer Cruise to celebrate your 25th birthday.


3.  Where do failures end up?  In sales somewhere.  Use the insurance industry as a place to get seasoning and learn the ropes, instead of a place to end up because you jumped into the deep end before you knew how to swim--or were big enough.


One of the real problems is that a failed financial advisor is considered to be a "super failure" because so many people consider the job to be some sort of mystical thing--and if you failed at that you certainly don't have much to offer somebody who sees their own career less magical.


4.  Are you nuts?  Not at all.  The nuts are those who sit around and tell you that getting $5 million AUM in your first year is a piece of cake, yet they haven't hit a million yet.  There is an almost crazy thing that dominates message boards like this is the "It's easy, It's easy, It's easy" mantra which is the epitome of the old adage, "Whistling past the grave yard."


Those who post nasty things about me and what I have to say never disagree with me--they're simply reacting to the fact that I am saying things they don't want to hear.

Jun 15, 2006 2:51 pm

I appreciate the detailed response Big Easy Flood.


I guess I would consider a sales position before becoming an FA, if it allows me to get a series 7 at the same time.  The issue is that I have made it to a manager level in my current professional services career, and I want to know fairly quickly if this path is for me, so I could retreat if need be.


I don't want that to be misconstrued as being uncommitted to an FA career, but with a family I need a continency plan.


Here's another question:  What is it that causes people to drop out?  I know some of the obvious answers, such as long hours/low pay to start, failing the series 7, not being hard working enough, family, etc.


But the larger question is: what is it about the sales portion of this job that is so difficult for most people?  What are the secrets that separate who makes it and who doesn't?



 


 

Jun 15, 2006 3:42 pm
opie:

I don't want that to be misconstrued as being uncommitted to an FA career, but with a family I need a continency plan.



They have some wonderful drugs for that, and adult diapers than are very thin, almost invisible.

Jun 15, 2006 4:47 pm

Yuck.


Anyway, I have a phoner with a wirehouse coming up - any tips other than being optimistic are appreciated.

Jun 15, 2006 5:29 pm

"Those who post nasty things about me and what I have to say never disagree with me--they're simply reacting to the fact that I am saying things they don't want to hear."


At least one day he will be senile and forget to log onto this forum.....

Jun 15, 2006 5:58 pm
Big Easy Flood:
opie:

I don't want that to be misconstrued as being uncommitted to an FA career, but with a family I need a continency plan.



They have some wonderful drugs for that, and adult diapers than are very thin, almost invisible.



spoken with the authority of someone with first hand experience....


sorry to hear about that--but it goes a long way towards understanding your generally poor disposition....






Jun 15, 2006 6:20 pm
opie:

I appreciate the detailed response Big Easy Flood.


Here's another question:  What is it that causes people to drop out?  I know some of the obvious answers, such as long hours/low pay to start, failing the series 7, not being hard working enough, family, etc.


But the larger question is: what is it about the sales portion of this job that is so difficult for most people?  What are the secrets that separate who makes it and who doesn't?



In a nutshell, they drop out because they're not making enough money to pay their mortgage and all the rest--so eventually they wake up and smell the roses, or their wife walks out, or their parents change the locks at their house.


I've done a lot of exit interviews and I am of the opinion that most were bad hires in the first place, but to the extent that the person who failing bears blame I think it's a failure to realize that you're dealing with people's biggest fears and hopes at the same time.


Think about the dynamic.  You're approaching a stranger and saying (in so many words) "I am better at offering advice than whomever is currently offering you advice."  Now, just how credible do you suppose that really is?


It's not, so there has to be something else.  Somehow you have to connect with the prospect.  Most of us encounter very few salespeople with whom we will form a "relationship."


I've bought and sold more houses than most--I've owned 12 homes since I got married in 1971. Of all the real estate people I've met I only know one of the to this day--so a financial advisor is going to be more important than a real estate agent.


All of us deal with car salesmen from time to time.  If you even want to know a car salesman away from the dealership you have no business being in this business.


Property and Casualty Insurance?  OK, here's a guy or gal with whom you might make a long term connection--but a lot of us don't.  I use USAA and don't have an agent--I bet most people don't actually have an agent.


Life Insurance?  This is where you find people with long term relationships.  I am a clientof New York Life and have been since my agent and I were young men long ago.  I have been to his home to a social event once--he  has been in mine a lot, but only twice for social reasons.  Yet I consider him my friend, I expect that if he dies I'll be at this funeral and I know that if I die he'll be at mine.


Broker, Financial Advisor, whatever?  I am not a good analogy, I use Fidelity and trade a couple of hundred times a month.  But my best friend is a good example.  He  has a broker with Bear Stearns who he met at a party.  They are an example of broker/client turning into friends instead of friends becoming broker/client.


That dynamic is actually very rare--at least at a meaningful level.  A friend might toss some business your way, but it's human nature to not want to lay all your cards on the table when a friend is going to be looking at them.  It's a great way to ruin a friendship--on the other hand some great friendships can be formed if the business relationship was there first.


Some people wash out because of the hours--their wife begins to snipe at them about being gone all the time, but the paychecks don't reflect the hard work.  The idea of having an understanding spouse cannot be overstated.


If you have a wife who is working there is a good chance that she will make more money than you will for quite some time.  That can take a toll on marriages after awhile.


Anyway, there are as many different reasons why people fail as there are people who fail.  It's a very difficult business in spite of the fact that this forum is supposed to be nothing more than happy faces and slogans.

Jun 15, 2006 8:36 pm

BEF is not a broker???...............



It all makes sense now.

Jun 15, 2006 8:52 pm
dude:

BEF is not a broker???...............



It all makes sense now.



You got it, I'm not a broker.  I don't even have a business card any more.


However, I have opened hundreds of accounts, personally traded in the CBOE crowds, conducted an average of three investor seminars per week for close to twenty years, opened branch offices, hired staff, been an operations manager, and hold a Series 3, 4, 7, 8, 24, 63, and 66 licenses which have not yet lapsed.


Everybody who reads this forum should be hanging on my every word, even though I am prone to not suffer fools gladly.

Jun 15, 2006 9:04 pm
Big Easy Flood:

[quote=dude]

Everybody who reads this forum should be hanging on my every word, even though I am prone to not suffer fools gladly.



You should add that you also kiss every mirror that you see.


You're a joke, BEF....or should I call you Put Trader?

Jun 15, 2006 10:04 pm

What is your problem BEF? You intentionally steer every thread off topic in order to make yourself feel like someone important. Yet instead, everyone seems to hate you. Why not just give friendly advice, good or bad, without all the extra commentary?


Just a thought, because if you are as successful as you say you are, many would appreciate your advice.

Jun 15, 2006 11:05 pm
wlooney:

Just a thought, because if you are as successful as you say you are, many would appreciate your advice.



I am not saying somebody should listen to me because I am succesful.


What I have is thirty years worth of increasingly responsible experience.  I know a lot, a hell of a lot, about what happens, why it  happens, who made it happen and so forth.


I do not steer the discussions away from anything.  I have opinions and I voice them.  I ask provocative questions to provoke discussions, to get the participants to examine their own thoughts.  Some agree, others do not.


That's life.


I also have time.  As I indicated somewhere I maintain a trading account with Fidelity and am sitting in front of a computer much of the time.  I try to remind myself that a watched pot never boils but I cannot help myself.


So I have Fidelity Pro Trader up and I also have the Internet up.  When the market begins to bore me, which it normally does most of the time, I goof around with the Internet, buy and sell stuff on e-Bay and play around with message boards.


About a dozen weeks a year I travel with my best friend, my wife of nearly thirty six years.


It's a tough lifestyle,but somebody has to do it.

Jun 16, 2006 1:17 pm

Fair enough. I just feel as though you antagonise many of the posters on here. Seems like it would be much more productive to ask these provacative, thought provoking questions in a less aggressive manor. That's all.