How much can be made?

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Apr 10, 2006 7:35 pm

I hope you guys can give me some good advice.


I have been an accountant with a big firm for 6 years.  I am 28.  I am looking to switch careers, because 1) I'm bored with it and 2)I have a new boss who I hate (think Bill Lumberg from Office Space, seriously).


I've talked to the Edward Jones and Merrill Lynch people.  They both paint a rosy picture, but I'm not sure.  How much money can you make as a financial advisor/IR?  How much do you guys make?  If you had your pick, which firm would you want to work for?  Also, if you could do one thing differently in your career what would it be?


Thanks any help!

Apr 10, 2006 8:05 pm

You can make 100k after 1-3 years of making 40k.

Apr 10, 2006 8:06 pm

First of all, set aside a couple of hours and read the previous posts on these boards. That should help you decide which broker/dealer is appropriate for you.


Second of all, you need to really think about your choice of career. I believe the best way to get somewhat of a feel for the brokerage business is imagine you just quit your present CPA firm and went out on your own. Think about all the issues that would entail: marketing, sales, etc. 


The similarities between being a broker and a CPA end there, however. As a CPA, you deal with a fairly tangible product that has almost certain results. The concept is easy for people to grasp and they pretty much know what to expect. However, being a broker, the product we sell is intangible with uncertain results. Thus, it's much harder to sell. 


You could always snatch some clients from your current firm, set up your own CPA office, and do the brokerage stuff on the side. There are some broker/dealers who are set up exclusively for this type of business model.


Good luck!

Apr 10, 2006 8:17 pm
RecordGuy:

I hope you guys can give me some good advice.


I have been an accountant with a big firm for 6 years.  I am 28.  I am looking to switch careers, because 1) I'm bored with it and 2)I have a new boss who I hate (think Bill Lumberg from Office Space, seriously).


I've talked to the Edward Jones and Merrill Lynch people.  They both paint a rosy picture, but I'm not sure.  How much money can you make as a financial advisor/IR?  How much do you guys make?  If you had your pick, which firm would you want to work for?  Also, if you could do one thing differently in your career what would it be?


Thanks any help!



You're probably a second year manager, right? You make about $75000 right now and bust your ass for it? I made about $80,000 my first year in this business and $150,000 in the second year. I would say I worked NO harder than I did as an auditor at Arthur Andersen. Also, I'm MUCH happier than I was as an accountant. The only area where you may have a problem is that you will try to use your brain too much. In this business, the dumber you are the more you will make.

Apr 10, 2006 10:08 pm

In our office the Median income is around $250k, with the average much
higher.  ML may be able to give you the same salary as you have
now for 18 months, time to build a business.  After that, you are
earning from your production only.  Its all up to you, your
ability to adapt to the business, your drive, your passion for the
business, and your work ethic.  If, after a few years, you are not
making 6 figures plus, you are doing something wrong.  PM
Blarmstrom after next week, he is getting ramped up and doing well, but
this week he is in on Vacation.

Apr 10, 2006 10:09 pm

I actually almost took a job as an IR with Edward Jones out of College, but instead went the accounting route.  I really hate the work and regret not becoming an IR.  As for thinking too much, I would be thrilled to not do so much of it all day long.  I'd like to know what you mean though about thinking too much.  Can you give me an example from your experience?  I think what you mean is just sell to people and not try to be the all knowing god of financial planners.


I'd like to get started with Edward Jones.  Is there a better place for a noob to start?  150K a year is nice! 


Thanks for the replies, means a lot to me.

Apr 10, 2006 10:21 pm

Remote is off base is my opinion.  The average rep is a good sales
pod but has little true thought behind their work.  Know more than
most others, which is not hard, and
be good at sales and you will do better.  But remember, the sales
part is harder.  Your accounting experience can only help
you.  Audit?  Good corp contacts.  Personal?  Good
personal contacts.  

Apr 11, 2006 7:04 am

Ok SOMEONE needs to tell him.  9 out of 10 people who come into
this business are fired within the first two years for not producing
enough.  How do you like your chances? 



Why do you want to start your own business?  Do you find it
logical to start a new business in a market that is completely
saturated already?  What will make your business different from
the millions of others that have failed?




Apr 11, 2006 8:28 am

Why do 9 out of 10 fail, in your opinion?  Sounds like a tough career at first, but if you make it, is very rewarding.  I envy you guys who have made it. 

Apr 11, 2006 8:37 am

9 out of 10 fail because they don't put the work in to succeed.  The only work that counts is being in front of clients or fighting to see clients (or prospective clients)


Your income is limited by your work ethic and your talent.  There are plenty of people who make well over $100,000 in their first year.  However, I only think that this is possible if you have lots of talent.  


If we assume that you don't have much talent, but are willing to work your ass off, there is no reason that you won't make $50,000 in your first year and $100,000 by your third year.  $250,000 in year 5-7 and ultimately $500,000.  On the other hand, if you have a strong work ethic and you have talent, your income is truly unlimited.  I know plenty of 7 figure producers.

Apr 11, 2006 9:06 am

Maybe 4+ out of 10 fail since they have no contacts or real work experience right out of college.


Maybe 2+ out of 10 fail since they can't focus on the job after sitting on a phone for a month and coming into industry with to much baggage (debt and other crap)...


Maybe 2-3 fail since they do not have the essential skills... 1. SALES!! 2. Communication 3. Trust (poor reputation) 4. Diverse knowledge of people, culture and professions 5. Ability to NETWORK



Maybe 1 is the winner since they are opposite of everything above...


This is not based on fact, but information on this board.. Anyone feel free to rip this apart.

Apr 11, 2006 9:21 am

Not I sir.

Apr 11, 2006 10:42 am

7GOD63,


Did you ever get a brokerage job?  Not taking a stab at you, seriously curious.

Apr 11, 2006 10:46 am
Scorpio:

Ok SOMEONE needs to tell him.  9 out of 10 people who come into
this business are fired within the first two years for not producing
enough.  How do you like your chances? 



Scorpio is absolutely correct.  The most optimistic industry-wide figure that I've heard is that eight out of ten fail.

Remember that the 80% to 90% failure range includes all firms and all experience levels.  As an experienced CPA you have a much higher chance of success than a 21 year old fresh out of community college.  (Don't get too excited. You're still going to fail if you can't sell).
If you join a top firm with good training and good local management, you also increase your chances of success.  This situation is hard to find, but as a CPA you're a premium candidate.  Be picky. Of the three categories mentioned above, good local management is the most critical.  If you don't click with local management, then don't take the job.
Write your own marketing plan before you commit to one firm.  As a CPA, you're a natural to work with small business owners.  Your state probably has rules about CPA sponsored seminars and other kinds of "free advice".  If you can work within the rules that's probably the best way to go.  You may also consider setting up referral channels with other CPAs.
If your best marketing plan is generic, then your chances go way down.  The best marketing plans take advantage of some unique "edge" that other few advisors share.  Your CPA is a good example of an edge.  Other advantages include natural markets, existing networks and existing referral channels.
If your best marketing plan depends mostly on cold calling, then walk away. Lots of smart people join this business thinking they can be good at either sales or financial planning and fake the rest.  That's wrong.  The job is part finance and part
sales, and you must be good at both to make it at a top firm. 

If you're not good at financial planning, then might fake it for a
few years before a market correction eats you alive.  A good firm can train you and give you tools for this part, so choose your firm carefully. If you're not good at sales, then you'll be gone within a year. Maybe less. Sales skills are critical for short term success.  Planning skills and good support are critical for
long term success. Hope this helps.

Happy Hunting!

Apr 11, 2006 10:55 am

9 out of 10 people fail for various reasons.  This job, especially in the beginning, is full of rejection.  People will politely and rudely tell you to go to h#ll.  People will reject your ideas and even after they are your clients, it feels sometimes like herding a bunch of unruly cats.  The emotion toil of constant rejection and pressure from your broker dealer (assuming you are not an independent) is enough to break many people emotionally.  Until you grow a thick enough skin, every day in the first year is emotionally painful. 


Unlike your current occupation, where people come to you and are willing to pay you for your advice, in our occupation you need to be persistent without being a pest.  You need to chase people down and force them to listen to you.


The optimistic income figures that you get from recruiters from Jones and other companies is not always realistic depending on your demographic area.  They are generally averages or even figures from the top of the income curve.  You need to determine how much savings you are willing to see evaporate while you are in your first 3 years of struggling. Also as a "younger" person you might find some resistance in taking financial advice from your elderly clients.  As you are young (the same age as my child....I am old) I think I can offer you the vantage of hindsight and the perspective of an "older" person.  28 is on the edge of being middle aged to you......but still young to the 75 yr old client, unless you are a very mature 28.


That being said.....all the negative.  Once you get over the hump, this is a wonderful career.  You will have deep and satisfying relationships with your clients who you have helped achieve wealth and accomplish their goals.  They will refer you to their friends and families and the grind of the early years will be much less. You notice, I say much less.  It never goes away. 


Going independent in the beginning may be too hard for a new young broker. The suggestion that you continue with your CPA business and ease into the advisory business is a good one.  You already have credibility, I presume, with your CPA clients. 

Apr 11, 2006 11:44 am

Some great insights....I can't really add too much.  I love the analogy about herding cats.  Somehow I'd never heard that one before.

I started young, but that was over a decade ago when I think it was easier to get started in your 20's.  You could still easily build a book then by cold calling with stock ideas.

If you do, use every tool you can to build credibility.  Dress extremely conservatively and very neatly.  To make life simple I suggest make all your suits grey and blue with white shirts, and then add flair with unusual ties and cufflinks.  Always wear a suit, or at least a sportcoat if you do casual Fridays.   Find opportunities to volunteer with important charities in your community and use it as a chance to network.  Learn to play golf, well.  Find a local restaurant that is nice enough for a good business lunch and go there often enough that you are known to the staff and treated as a regular.   Drive a clean, conservative, but not overly expensive car.  (Keeps your expenses low too.)

Just a few random thoughts to add to the mix.

Apr 11, 2006 1:09 pm

I picked up a $400,000 fee based account today (and closing on a $260,000 annuity at 5 pm), and I am wearing a polo and slacks.



Gotta love the bank.

Apr 11, 2006 1:30 pm
BankFC:

I picked up a $400,000 fee based account today (and closing on a $260,000 annuity at 5 pm), and I am wearing a polo and slacks.



Gotta love the bank.


I did $700,000 in fee-based thus far this week, without a suit, and without a bank taking 60% of my gross off the top.


Gotta love being free from the bank...

Apr 11, 2006 2:41 pm

Haaaa, haaaaaa.. Joe as for the car.. I agree, but when I tell you my story and send you a picture you are going to laugh.. Keep costs down and 20k in the bank...


Bank: As for the job 86.4% there, the rest is the 7 and 6.6%. Very very close to being an apprentice with proper certifications.


GO POLO!!


Wow, the level 2 access is awesome! I never dreamed of having access to information like what is available.. Also for FREE, well sorta...


Does anyone here think the ability to Market is a great task for this industry??? I know it is since it goes hand and hand with sales, but curious about your opinion...


Apr 11, 2006 8:07 pm

BankFC:

I picked up a $400,000 fee based account today (and closing on a $260,000 annuity at 5 pm), and I am wearing a polo and slacks.



Gotta love the bank.


----------------------------


Forget casual Fridays, I have clothing optional Fridays. One of the perks of being Indy.