So ya' wanna be a Stock Broker?

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Feb 16, 2006 4:22 pm

OK boys and girls, for those who have an interest in becoming a Financial Advisor, Stock Broker, Investment Representative or whatever.....  Here are some thoughts which may be helpful in your decision to pusue this career.


1 in 10 make it in this business


You will work like a slave for at least 5 years, with the majority of your daily activity focused on approaching strangers and asking them for money, most of these people will not want to talk to you.


You will be VERY good if you are closing 50% of your prospects in your first year or two.  More likely is 20%.  (you may eventually close some of the ones you weren't able to down the road though)


Each account you try to earn will require quite a bit of work to get from a "cold" contact to a proposal.  You have the marketing, selling the client on a meeting, meeting the client to profile, analyzing the client's portfolio, preparing proposals, contacting other advisors (attorney's, CPA's etc..) researching miscelaneous issues, educating the client, presenting your proposal and addressing objections.  All the while you'll only reap rewards from 20% to 30% of the people you do all this work for. 


You'll most likely be broke for a couple years..... so have some serious $ saved (or don't have kids and a wife). 


If you're married with a spouse who stays at home, you have another major obstacle because no matter how eloquently you describe the business and it's requirements, they have NO way to really appreciate the intensity and challenge.  All they see is that you're never home and when you are, you are pretty drained.  All the while they are pissed about making next to nothing.  Needless to say I'm sure Stockbrokers are high on the list of broken marriages.


You can pretty much count on being a marketing machine during your waking hours.  Even if you're trying to relax at a party, when someone mentions money or finances you will subconsciously be thinking of ways to steer the conversation into an opportunity to get their money (it's natural when you are starving for business).  In fact it will be difficult for you to not think of people in terms of business opportunity.  It will consume your days, nights and dreams (mostly nightmares ). 


When it's all said and done and you have been lucky enough to suceed,  you'll be at a high risk of heart disease and other stress related ailments, unless you are truly gifted in stress management.


The above being said, it is my belief that the following types of folks have some serious disadvantages to succeeding as a Financial Advisor:


1) Young, little professional experience, no wealthy contacts


2) Young, married with kids or married with young kids


3) Fear of initiating conversations with an agenda


4) Sales phobic


The following types of folks might have a chance


1)  Older seasoned sales professional with deep contacts


2)  Young (or older) extraordinarily motivated marketing guru


3)  Young or older individual with a strong warm market of people with money, willing to give you money.


Now here's food for thought.  Almost all of the well established Brokers I know (this is in the multiple dozens) say that if they had to do it over today, they would probably choose a different career.

Feb 16, 2006 4:26 pm

It has been a challenge.  No way I'd want to do anything else(now that I'm clearly too old to be a professional heavy metal guitarist).


I think Blarm might take issue with some of your statements.  He's done rather well for himself.

Feb 16, 2006 4:29 pm

Joe,


I'm generalizing.  Blarm is definitely exceptional and you know it. 


I wanted those with eyes bigger than their stomachs to get a taste.

Feb 16, 2006 4:37 pm
joedabrkr:

It has been a challenge.  No way I'd want to do anything else(now that I'm clearly too old to be a professional heavy metal guitarist).


I think Blarm might take issue with some of your statements.  He's done rather well for himself.



I tried the professional guitarist gig (made $ at it too), not all that it's cracked up to be, in  fact it makes being a stockbroker look easy.  You may not realize it but the amount of work to reward ($$$) ratio is way worse than a 1st year stockbroker with a far lower probability of sucess.  Plus the leather pants, makeup and wigs are a pain in the ass .

Feb 16, 2006 4:39 pm
joedabrkr:

It has been a challenge.  No way I'd want to do anything else(now that I'm clearly too old to be a professional heavy metal guitarist).


I think Blarm might take issue with some of your statements.  He's done rather well for himself.



I tried the Rock Guitarist gig, it's not all it's cracked up to be.  In fact the work to reward ($$$) ratio is far worse than a 1st year stockbroker.  Plus the leather pants, makeup and wigs are a pain in the a*s.

Feb 16, 2006 4:41 pm

Oops, looks like a double post.  sorry for any confusion

Feb 16, 2006 4:46 pm

Nice post. Solid and good advice.


Hey do you view a wife who works, without the kids, as a pro?

Feb 16, 2006 5:42 pm

well I just got married, we're in our late 20's and starving as is so i guess we're pretty much ****** here pretty soon once i get licensed

Feb 16, 2006 6:25 pm

I don't know what prompted this thread, but here's my experience. At an

interview at Morgan Stanley, back when Morgan Stanley was Morgan Stanley,

the VP asked me how many millionaires knew who I was. Read it again if

you must.   



If I had to choose another career, I would have studied engineering instead

of finance and become a builder/developer. I would have traded in my

Brooks Brothers suit for a pair of khakis and my BMW for a Range Rover.

Feb 16, 2006 6:35 pm

I tried the Rock Guitarist gig, it's not all it's cracked up to be.  In fact the work to reward ($$$) ratio is far worse than a 1st year stockbroker. 


I was a singer with a jazz/blues band (way back when in SF in the late 70s) and I agree.  You spend uncounted hours of practice if you can get everyone in the same room at the same time.  Gives a whole new take on herding cats.  When you get a job you make squat and end up drunk or worse to boot.  Rinse and repeat.  Probably 1 in 2000 make it in the music industry.


Plus the leather pants, makeup and wigs are a pain in the a*s.


All but for the wig, I agree


Joe has a good point.  Without trying to discourage the wanna bees it is important to go into the biz with eyes wide open.  I seriously don't see how people with small children and a stay at home spouse can make it in the first few years and still keep a home life. That being said.  I love what I do and can't think of anything else better.....except to change places with Bonnie Raitt instead.

Feb 16, 2006 6:36 pm
7GOD63:

Nice post. Solid and good advice.


Hey do you view a wife who works, without the kids, as a pro?



That's a workable situation.  The wife will be much more understanding since she is in a similar boat.

Feb 16, 2006 6:46 pm

To clarify,  if you are married, it's my belief that it's much much better to have a working spouse (preferably in a professional field) than a spouse who stays at home if you're going to pursue this business. 


I should note that I'm speaking from personal experience here.  My wife (soon to be ex wife) was/is a stay at home mother (we have 2 younger children).  The biggest issue I have faced with her concerning my job is a complete lack of appreciation of the challenge and required dedication to be successful.  I don't blame her though 'cause she's home alone with 2 young children all day without a break.  Knowing what I know now, I probably would have avoided this career (even though I love what I do) simply because it has caused my family a great deal of strife. 


Feb 16, 2006 7:27 pm

You're getting a divorce because you're spending too much time building your business??


I don't care who you are, when you are BUILDING A BUSINESS/PRACTICE, be it a contractor, developer, doctor, lawyer, etc you spend A LOT of time doing it.


If a woman wants a clocker watcher husband who is home at 5:15 on the dot every night, good for her.  Just don't be pissed you are driving the '95 Taurus instead of the BMW.


I work 60 hours a week now EASY.  It just habit for me at this point.  I remember when I first graduated college thinking how much it would suck to work a WHOLE 40 hours.  I have no idea what is even on television before 6:00 (I know Cramer is on then). 


Then again, I have no wife, no kids, no dog, not even a plant.  I like it that way.  I also have no debt (outside a mortgage), no b*tching wife, and I put away a lot of money, both inside and outside my 401k, I go wherever I want on the weekends, etc


I am pretty sure the whole marriage thing is more hassle than it's worth at this point. 


Feb 16, 2006 7:30 pm

Good thread and good posts, dude.

Feb 16, 2006 8:09 pm
dude:

To clarify,  if you are married, it's my belief that it's much much better to have a working spouse (preferably in a professional field) than a spouse who stays at home if you're going to pursue this business. 


I should note that I'm speaking from personal experience here.  My wife (soon to be ex wife) was/is a stay at home mother (we have 2 younger children).  The biggest issue I have faced with her concerning my job is a complete lack of appreciation of the challenge and required dedication to be successful.  I don't blame her though 'cause she's home alone with 2 young children all day without a break.  Knowing what I know now, I probably would have avoided this career (even though I love what I do) simply because it has caused my family a great deal of strife. 




Yes having a working spouse helps with short term income fluctuations and understanding of a demanding schedule. However, it gets much more complicated when kids are in the picture....

Feb 16, 2006 8:14 pm

Great post- I could write for hours on this one.  But I'll spare you.


More than 1/10 survive.  Likely the "1" is the person who actually survives/succeeds on their own merits.  There are others who are connected, inherit a book, get that magical call-in, etc.  Or the son who joins the father's "business."


I wouldn't do it again from scratch.  I started with nothing but a desk and a phone.  100 hour weeks were commonplace for me in the first 5 years.  I still work 75, but at least now I'm well compensated for it and get to work "smart." But I digress.


More to share.  After all, I'm "The Judge."  Anyone recall?


Hutch?.........



Feb 16, 2006 8:26 pm

Great initial post Dude. Those are the realities that we all face. Whether we are studying for the 7 or 2 years in or 15, some if not all those points hit a nerve with us all.......

Feb 16, 2006 9:10 pm

On top of the family advice. Would you agree that husband & wife should work as a team. If the wife is professional then she could refer clients to husband. The husband/broker/PFA has a better chance of networking at events, gatherings and functions with the wife?

Feb 16, 2006 9:27 pm

Dude?  What the f**k?  Here's a bit of advice and maybe not what you want to hear.  Family comes first.  I LIKE my job but I LOVE my family.  For some reason I was under the impression you had those two reversed.

Feb 16, 2006 9:29 pm

I had a great manager/mentor once take us out spouses included. He gave the best talk I have ever heard. He thanked all the spouses for being supportive, and understading.I having no spouse, can't relate. I just can imagine it would be tough to feed another mouth or mouths when you first begin.