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Jan 26, 2007 6:50 pm

I'm 55 and considering a career change to FA after a long and successful career in retail, business ops and IT management... looking for advice and realistic expectations for my success.  I know about the Year 3 and Year 4 "earnings trough" - that assumes I even make it to those years.  But what does it really take to succeed?  Is it cold calling?  Seminars?  SB is offering to train me and give me a decent starting salary - but I'm concerned about falling out after 3 years and not being able to get re-established.  I've heard from existing FA's "it's a tough business" -


Kinda wondering if I've waited too long to consider this move... but any and all advice or suggestions is appreciated.


Thanks

Jan 26, 2007 6:59 pm

I don't think you should jeopardize a successful career at this stage in your life.  This job has a high failure rate and I’m of the opinion it’s best to get started when you’re young and don’t have a whole lot to lose.   <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Jan 26, 2007 7:35 pm

Are you retiring from your current career with a pension, or just want a change?.  If you have a cushion for the first few years and can financially live on much less than you are earning now, it could be feasable.


Here are the things to consider some pro some con:



You could use up all of your cash reserves and wash out in a few years.  Do you have a fall back plan.  If you fail, can you go back to work somewhere else.  Would no need to go back to work?
It takes anywhere from 3 to 6 years to reach full potential. Some people do it faster.
If you have a lot of contacts and people who would be willing to allow you to invest their money you may have a faster start
The job requires long long hours in the beginning.  Is your spouse up for that?  Are you physically up for that?
This is a sales job.  Yes, you need to know your investments and theory and all of that, but you must be able to enjoy selling, enjoy dealing with people. 
Rejection.  Can you handle being told NO!!, buzz of and other not so nice variations on that theme. 
Can you handle dishing out the bad news (investment went down and client lost money...client's hate your for ruining their lives) as well as being able to be the hero (investments are up....client's love you)
Age is in your favor.  People trust advisors of our mature stature.

There are many more points.  What it really takes to succeed is dogged persistence and a tough skin. In the beginning it isn't so much quality as quantity.  Lots and lots of contacts with people who may be persuaded to hand their financial lives into your hands.  Then it takes lots of hand holding and ongoing contacts with your clients to keep them happy.  (Ever tried to herd cats?)   Eventually, you will have built up a reputation and have satisfied clients referring their friends and families to you.....or not.  


Seminars are nice but think of them in this way.  As a musician (which I was at one time) you eventually get to perform and enjoy the applause and attention, but behind the performance are countless hours of vocal  practice and calloused fingers until you are ready for the spotlight.  Before you get to play the big show, there are all the little crappy one night stands and smelly beer bars with chicken wire to deflect the beer bottles and idiots trying to grab your a@@ (well maybe not yours  ....  I digress) You don't get to start out as a headliner.