Too old to start in this business?

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Dec 31, 2008 1:23 pm

Is 57 too old to start? I have lots of contacts from previous work. But I am wondering if the "spool up" time will be too long to make the effort required to get licensed worth it. EJ got me thinking about going into this field. I was successful in real estate for years but that is going to be slow for awhile.

Any input is appreciated.
Dec 31, 2008 1:45 pm

Your age will actually be an advantage IMHO

Dec 31, 2008 1:45 pm

some of the best brokers I know started between 55 and 65 yrs old.  If you can afford to put in the time and effort you'll be fine.

Dec 31, 2008 1:54 pm

Borderline, imo. If you have contacts and an existing network, yes you can do it. But pushing 60, most people don't have the energy to follow the EJ 'recipe.'

I'd also have a concern that by the time your business will be maturing, you will likely be giving it up to retire, with no benefit to you. If you're going to bust it for 10 years, you want to be able to sell it or transition it to a family member.
 
Dec 31, 2008 2:03 pm

Thanks to all for the input thus far.

I have found my age and experience and contacts to be a plus in real estate.
I know I don't have the energy I used to have.
So the input so far is certainly on the mark and I appreciate it.
Dec 31, 2008 2:03 pm

The guy I'm working with/for now started in the industry 18 yrs ago when he was 52 and is now writing close to $600k working 2-3 days/week.

Dec 31, 2008 2:06 pm

Darner, here is one way of looking at it...if you don't do it, what WOULD you do?  You could join the firm, take the salary for a year or so, make some commissions, get a decent income, and in 1-3 years evaluate if it's going to work or not.  That's what everyone (without knowing it) does when they get into this business.  Worst case, you make a decent income for a year or so, and it's not for you.  Best case, you knock the ball out of the park and love the work.

Dec 31, 2008 2:10 pm

EDJ is by far the softest on having advisors removed, I have seen a number of sub par brokers hang on for years..Maybe your contacts allow you the ability to get out of the gate quickly, your first challenge will be the study sessions at your age. 7,63,65 and insurance license. Great time to start in the biz though, half of the advisors are hiding from clients instead of increasing communication.

Dec 31, 2008 4:11 pm

Starting in the old AGE system, I saw three very distinct phases with my own business development, as well as that of my training class comrades.  0-6 months: figuring out if you've got the skill set to pass the exams, start the prospecting engine, begin actually working with clients, and opening tons of new accounts, or washing out.  6-18 months: homing in on what you enjoy doing within the business, getting comfortable in the role of advisor/blame-taker/glory-maker, or washing out.  18-36 months: really hitting your stride in your area of focus (rollovers, insurance, actively managed holdings, etc.), getting the referral engine cooking, leveraging your contacts and spheres of influence, or washing out.  If you can make it to the 5 year mark, you're pretty much going to survive.

 
Said all that to say, you ought to plan on a 5 year journey toward the point at which your business is no longer running you, but you're running your business.  Maybe your real estate career compresses that some, but I'd still say 3-5 years gets you to the point where you can exhale and start to enjoy it more.
Jan 3, 2009 8:36 am

I am in my mid 50s and I am  a few years into the process, I think age is an advantage to clients. Age is a disadvantage on building a business, energy, drive is not the same. I have been in sales for a long time and I really wish I had started in my mid 30's. My drive to be sucessful and at the top of my game. is not the same as it was years ago. Now I would rather spent time with friends, family travelling. I find it hard to give up Saturday....I wish I had started sooner.

Jan 3, 2009 2:22 pm

Depending on what you did before, I'd try hitting up one of the larger firms. When I was talking to MS they were very interested on whom I knew and how I planned obtaining their business. 

Jan 3, 2009 6:36 pm
darner:

Is 57 too old to start? I have lots of contacts from previous work. But I am wondering if the "spool up" time will be too long to make the effort required to get licensed worth it. EJ got me thinking about going into this field. I was successful in real estate for years but that is going to be slow for awhile.

Any input is appreciated.


Darner, Check your inbox

Jan 3, 2009 10:28 pm

I have to say this at this point. There are alot of GOOD PEOPLE on this board that care about others, and try to help them do the right thing. I am impressed by this. Thank you.

 
This newbie needs all the help he can get, and will return such kindness to other newbies if and when the opportunity presents itself. 
 
Respects,
dennis
Jan 4, 2009 1:54 pm

Darner,

 
As others have said, your age will be a big help to you.  People do not want to entrust their financial future and lives to a 23 year old kid straight out of college.  Your age and maturity automatically give you credibility that a young person with even several years of experience can not have in the eyes of the masses. 
 
Besides, you only go around on this ride once (that we know of), so do what makes you happy!  Failure sucks, but in my opinion regret is worse.  Heck, another thing that I haven't seen mentioned on this board is a side benefit - learning financial planning for yourself as you approach retirement age...whether you retire or not.  You will be paid to learn financial planning and can apply those strategies and techniques for yourself.  Not a bad way to earn a living!
 
Hope this helps.  Best of luck to you in your endeavors!  Let us know how you do.
 
PS.  To the person who said you wish you started in your mid-30s I say "God bless you!"  I am 35, have been in the industry for a decade and am getting ready to take the plunge to a wirehouse.  You make me feel good about this! 
Jan 4, 2009 2:00 pm
CFP2BE:

Darner,

 
As others have said, your age will be a big help to you.  People do not want to entrust their financial future and lives to a 23 year old kid straight out of college.  Your age and maturity automatically give you credibility that a young person with even several years of experience can not have in the eyes of the masses. 
 
Besides, you only go around on this ride once (that we know of), so do what makes you happy!  Failure sucks, but in my opinion regret is worse. 


Great post CFP to be.
I joined the industry later in life as darner is considering, and my regret is also that i didnt do it when i first wanted to, in my thirties. You are right, regret is worse than failure. You can learn from failure, but cant turn back the clock on regret.

Jan 5, 2009 8:50 pm

I'm 39 and will turn 40 in a few months. I'm hoping it's not too late for me as well, it feels late to be changing careers entirely but I'm going for it.  One more test to go. 

Jan 5, 2009 11:42 pm
darner:

Is 57 too old to start? I have lots of contacts from previous work. But I am wondering if the "spool up" time will be too long to make the effort required to get licensed worth it.


If you start new in this business at age 57, in 5 years you'll be 62!  Whereas if you keep doing what you've been doing, in 5 years you'll be ... exactly 62 also.   Hmmm.  Coincidence?

Life is short.  Spend it doing what you want.  Screw the critics, the cynics and the naysayers. 

Good luck.


Jan 6, 2009 12:38 am

Well, after reading all that, being in my mid-twenties and just getting into the business I'm either screwed or way ahead of the game.  OR...that could all be irrelevant, being that it's all about how I approach it along with many other factors.

Jan 10, 2009 3:03 am
RickRoss:

Well, after reading all that, being in my mid-twenties and just getting into the business I'm either screwed or way ahead of the game.  OR...that could all be irrelevant, being that it's all about how I approach it along with many other factors.

 
RickRoss,
 
The answer to your question is both!  Bittersweet irony!  This feels weird giving advice as a ten year vet and "only" being 35 years of age.  Anyway, the reason it is a positive to start early is because by the time you are my age or 40, you will have 10 or 15 years of experience and that builds credibility with clients, and wisdom and knowledge for you.  The only way (in my opinion) to make your youthful age a positive is if you first go to work in lower level, customer service type jobs for several years (five-ish years), and gradually work your way up.  Learning valuable industry knowledge in the meantime.  It's called "working your way up the ladder".  
 
I toiled in lower level jobs my first five years or so, then upon completing the CFP program, acquiring many licenses, and a lot of great on-the-job experience, I was able to start to become a "hot commodity" in our industry.  I am getting ready to take the plunge into production, and am confident that I have enough knowledge, wisdom and background to be successful.
 
Now, where your youth could betray you is if you try and go into production right out of the gate.  People do not want to entrust their financial lives, or that of their family, to a kid less than a decade removed from puberty!  Face it, that's just the truth about it.  Especially the people you would want as your clients - the affluent.  I can't tell you how many times I was asked in my twenties "son, how old are you?" and told "I have ties older than you!  What do you know about financial planning that I don't?"  Even if I know TONS more than they did/do...which was certainly the case.  At 35, I am just now getting to the point where I feel taken seriously by in their 40s, 50s, 60s and older.  I no longer get the condescending remarks about my age.  I can also say I have been through the two worst markets since the Great Depression, and that I have a decade of experience in the industry.  That gives me instant credibility.  As an aside, a recent survey of producers in the industry shows that the average producer is 46 with 15 years of experience.  I am 35 and have almost that amount of experience already. 
 
Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying a twenty something can not be a successful producer right out of the gate!  As with anything in life, if you have the determination, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.  Some of the more successful middle age advisors I have met started in their early twenties and excelled from day one.  Those guys had "it" from day one.  I'm just saying that if production is your goal, put in your time in your twenties, learn a lot, acquire licenses, build your resume, then in your early to mid-30s take the plunge and set the world on fire.
 
Hope this helps.