Financial Planner Career Transition Strategy
I am a Navy Officer about 1 year away from retirement in Hawaii. Rather than taking a job as a defense related contractor I would like to break free of the DoD and become a Financial Planner. I have a BS in Economics and an MBA.
Question: What can I do now in my final year of active duty to speed my transition? Could I study for and take the Series 7 exam now? I want to minimize the time between retirement and building my business. How soon after joining a firm could I take the Series 7 exam, assuming that I studied for it in advance?
Any other advice or thoughts?
As a former 20 year government employee I totally understand your willingness to change. I also have an MBA and looked to the financial world for change.
Please understand most (good) jobs in the finance world are a 10-12 hour workday, if you are looking into a Financial Advisor position. The FA running joke: you can work half days in this industry, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9... 12 hour days in your 20's/30's are easy. As most people get older they have more responsibilities (sick kids, sick elderly parents, etc...)
I started with a live class (Series 7) from Kaplan before I got hired. Read the book first then take a class. The class is a supplement to the book not the other way around. The class does not cover everything in the book. The class will focus on some key points, such as options, but you should have some prior knowledge of how options work. I took the class twice and understood everything much better the second time.
I believe the whole package is around 450.00 for the class, book and online questions. It is somewhat high but the package is good for one year and you can retake a class if you have not passed the test. That being said, I do not work for Kaplan and used STC along with Kaplan to help pass the test. I looked on the Kaplan website and do not see a live class offered in Hawaii but they do offer the online class. The test questions are very helpful. My instructor said it would take 2500-3000 practice test questions to be comfortable for the Series 7 test,.... he was right. Also, you cannot take the Series 7 test unless you have a company sponsor. I believe starting the Series 7 on my own increased my odds of being hired. You can take the Series 66 without a sponsor but it will help to learn all Series 7 information first.
Good luck. Hope this helps.