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Feb 9, 2007 1:55 pm

I am currently a stay at home mom to a 3 and 1 year old.  I've worked the past 10 years in the pharmaceutical industry where I was extremely successful (top 1% of reps and then managers).  So I know how to sell, find and close the business.  However, with all the mergers, layoffs and increased regulation in the last several years (3 layoffs in 5 years - although I survived, the uncertainty about whether or not you had a job was tough), I've been looking for a change. 


I've always been interested in financial planning and have been looking at becoming an fa, focusing on wealth management (estate planning, insurance, tax planning, etc.).  Eventually going indie and opening my own practice where I can be the boss (I'm tired of working and making a lot of money for others). 


While I'm taking some time to be at home with my children while they are young, I'd like to get my master's.  My bachelor's is in International Language (Spanish & Japanese) and Business.  I'm wondering which would serve me better and set me up to be able to get a successful job with a wirehouse, to train and establish a book: a masters in financial planning (American College), an MBA (although the general courses seem like a lot of what I've learned through experience) or an MS in finance?  Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

Feb 9, 2007 2:04 pm
tri$mom:

  I'm wondering which would serve me better and set me up to be able to get a successful job with a wirehouse, to train and establish a book: a masters in financial planning (American College), an MBA (although the general courses seem like a lot of what I've learned through experience) or an MS in finance? 



I'd go with none of the above. Getting a position at a wirehouse won't require any of the above degrees, and once you're there, and have the time, I'd suggest earning a CFP designation over any of the above degrees.

Feb 9, 2007 2:11 pm
mikebutler222:
tri$mom:

  I'm wondering which would serve me better and set me up to be able to get a successful job with a wirehouse, to train and establish a book: a masters in financial planning (American College), an MBA (although the general courses seem like a lot of what I've learned through experience) or an MS in finance? 



I'd go with none of the above. Getting a position at a wirehouse won't require any of the above degrees, and once you're there, and have the time, I'd suggest earning a CFP designation over any of the above degrees.



The MS is Financial Planning through American College would set me up to take the CFP, although I wouldn't have the 3 years work experience.  However from looking at the CFP requirements, I could fulfill that after I took the classes and even sat for the exam.  I was hoping to be able to learn more about financial planning formally while I was staying at home with my kids, that would round out my work (management & sales) experience and make me look that much more attractive to a wirehouse.  But also, that would fill the employment gap and time while I'm staying at home. 

Feb 9, 2007 2:15 pm
mikebutler222:
tri$mom:

  I'm wondering which would serve me better and set me up to be able to get a successful job with a wirehouse, to train and establish a book: a masters in financial planning (American College), an MBA (although the general courses seem like a lot of what I've learned through experience) or an MS in finance? 



I'd go with none of the above. Getting a position at a wirehouse won't require any of the above degrees, and once you're there, and have the time, I'd suggest earning a CFP designation over any of the above degrees.



I think it's smart of her to plan ahead, though.

It also wouldn't hurt to start the CFP coursework while she has more time, as opposed to when she is working.

You should understand, though, "mom", that the courses are largely theoretical and real-world practice is not always the same.  Too, they don't teach you anything about the selling/prospecting skills you'll need to succeed.

Good luck.

Feb 9, 2007 2:44 pm
tri$mom:

While I'm taking some time to be at home with my
children while they are young, I'd like to get my master's.  My
bachelor's is in International Language (Spanish & Japanese) and
Business.  I'm wondering which would serve me better and set me up
to be able to get a successful job with a wirehouse, to train and
establish a book: a masters in financial planning (American College),
an MBA (although the general courses seem like a lot of what I've
learned through experience) or an MS in finance?  Any thoughts or
suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!





An MS in finance will surely make you too smart to be a retail broker. An MBA is likely to do so as well.



Being an Wirehouse FA is about sales, knowing anything about
investments could hurt you, because you might then lack the conviction
needed to recomend wirehouse products (A-shares, annuities, overpriced
wrap programs etc). Then again, in this business sincerity is
everything, and if you can fake that, you have it made.



Having two small children, I wouldn't become an FA since it will suck
up alot of your time. Children grow up once, and you don't want to miss
it. Your presance and love are worth more than the money from any job.




Feb 9, 2007 4:05 pm
AllREIT:
tri$mom:

While I'm taking some time to be at home with my children while they are young, I'd like to get my master's.  My bachelor's is in International Language (Spanish & Japanese) and Business.  I'm wondering which would serve me better and set me up to be able to get a successful job with a wirehouse, to train and establish a book: a masters in financial planning (American College), an MBA (although the general courses seem like a lot of what I've learned through experience) or an MS in finance?  Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!



An MS in finance will surely make you too smart to be a retail broker. An MBA is likely to do so as well.

Being an Wirehouse FA is about sales, knowing anything about investments could hurt you, because you might then lack the conviction needed to recomend wirehouse products (A-shares, annuities, overpriced wrap programs etc). Then again, in this business sincerity is everything, and if you can fake that, you have it made.

Having two small children, I wouldn't become an FA since it will suck up alot of your time. Children grow up once, and you don't want to miss it. Your presance and love are worth more than the money from any job.



Allreit obviously has an axe to grind. Shamelessly he lays this on someone looking for unbiased advice.


There is absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing more education while you are between careers. The advice given by both joe and mike is good. Degrees do impress hiring mangers who look for patterns of achievement. However, once past the front door the extra sheepskin will nothing for you past taking up some wall space. Which you won't have for the first four or five years of your career. And while there is value to what you will learn, much of it is academic. 


The Pharma sales experience is a plus and a minus. Pharma people are exactly the bright, tough salespeople we are looking for. However, getting laid off, while maybe not your fault, will impress no one. It's the maybe that raises the issue. Top managers here might look at that as top people don't get fired, regardless. And yes,we are aware of the bloodletting in the pharma indusry. So, be ready for that one if you get an interview with a hard line manager.


Your best chances of success are with a wirehouse. They offer the best training, and longest salary programs. Most also have mentor programs which can really help a young trainee. So plug that into your thinking.


One thing that Allreit said that does ring true is about time with your children. If you want to spend time with your kids then I'd delay a start until they are much older. To succeed here you'll need to invest 70 hours a week without distractions. It's a total commitment. Hiring managers will grill you on this point.

Feb 9, 2007 5:18 pm
AllREIT:





An MS in finance will surely make you too smart to be a retail broker. An MBA is likely to do so as well.




::rolling eyes::

OMG Allreit are you kidding?  I think you need to give the sardine can opener thingy a rest for a day or two.  I have no love for the wirehouse world, especially the bureaucrats, but the advisors there are by no means a bunch of mouth-breathers.  Give it a rest.

Feb 9, 2007 5:45 pm

Being an Wirehouse FA is about sales, knowing anything about investments could hurt you, because you might then lack the conviction needed to recomend wirehouse products (A-shares, annuities, overpriced wrap programs etc). Then again, in this business sincerity is everything, and if you can fake that, you have it made.


Hey, Allreit, I guess you are free to relentlessly attack the ethics of all broker dealers and their affilitates on the registered rep site, but you need to answer a few questions about your own situation.


You are starting to sound like a loser.


You should understand, though, "mom", that the courses are largely theoretical and real-world practice is not always the same.  Too, they don't teach you anything about the selling/prospecting skills you'll need to succeed.


Just get the CFP while being with kids. As far as resume gap is concerned, you don't have to justify staying home with the kids in this century, that is real, respectable work.


Like Joe says, it is theoretical, and you can complete the requirements when you are working, where your proven sales skills will be blended with your helping and nurturing skills, all cynical rhetoric aside.



Feb 9, 2007 5:51 pm
BondGuy:
AllREIT:

Allreit obviously has an axe to grind. Shamelessly he lays this on someone looking for unbiased advice.


Not exactly, I think persuing more education is a highly good thing.
It will make you a better FA, but it might also make you less suited
for a career in this industry.


This is a sales job, and for the first year starting out that's what
its all about. Education that teaches you about managing money is
surely a good thing, but it won't help your career since in the
beginning it is all about gathering assets.



There is absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing more
education while you are between careers. The advice given by both joe
and mike is good. Degrees do impress hiring mangers who look for
patterns of achievement. However, once past the front door the extra
sheepskin will nothing for you past taking up some wall space.


It may help with networking, and credibility with clients. But in general it don't mean a thing once you are on the inside.


Also, finance has gotten alot more Quantative since the days of the
HP 12C. You may need to take some college level math classes.


[quote]Which you won't have for the first four or five years of your
career. And while there is value to what you will learn, much of it is
academic. [/quote]


And if you learn too much, you may lose the ability to work with a
straight face IMHO. There is a reason that people tend to become
educated after and not before entering this profession.

[quote]The Pharma sales experience is a plus and a minus. Pharma
people are exactly the bright, tough salespeople we are looking for.
However, getting laid off, while maybe not your fault, will
impress no one. It's the maybe that raises the issue. Top managers here
might look at that as top people don't get fired, regardless. And
yes,we are aware of the bloodletting in the pharma indusry. So, be
ready for that one if you get an interview with a hard line
manager.


In the interview you want to come across as being a low risk,
predictable and sucessful candidate. I.e I was sucessful before, I will
be in the future, I won't give you an ulcer or waste your time.


This business is about making other people's financial lives more predictable. Making your boss's financial life more predictable is the way to position yourself. 


[quote]Your best chances of success are with a wirehouse. They offer
the best training, and longest salary programs. Most also have mentor
programs which can really help a young trainee. So plug that into your
thinking.


Conversely they also have the toughest sucess criteria. It is
annoying to put in 2-3 years of serious effort and have nothing to show
for it.


[QUOTE]One thing that Allreit said that does ring true is about time
with your children. If you want to spend time with your kids then I'd
delay a start until they are much older. To succeed here you'll need to
invest 70 hours a week without distractions. It's a total commitment.
Hiring managers will grill you on this point.


Again 100% true. This is hard work. There is some risk of burnout too.

Feb 9, 2007 5:54 pm
joedabrkr:
AllREIT:





An MS in finance will surely make you too smart to be a retail broker. An MBA is likely to do so as well.




::rolling eyes::

OMG Allreit are you
kidding?  I think you need to give the sardine can opener thingy a
rest for a day or two.  I have no love for the wirehouse world,
especially the bureaucrats, but the advisors there are by no means a
bunch of mouth-breathers.  Give it a rest.





We need a Sarcasm flag.



You see a wide range of people in the wirehouses, some very smart
others not so much. What everyone who is sucessful in that enviroment
does have is alot of drive and hustle. That is not related to anything
you will get from education.




Feb 9, 2007 5:58 pm
planrcoach:

You are starting to sound like a loser.



yeppers. I thought the smily gave away the fact that I was joking.




You should understand, though, "mom", that the
courses are largely theoretical and real-world practice is not always
the same.  Too, they don't teach you anything about the
selling/prospecting skills you'll need to succeed.

Just get the CFP while being with kids. As far as
resume gap is concerned, you don't have to justify staying home with
the kids in this century, that is real, respectable work.


Much harder than getting $15M in two years at ML.



[quote]Like Joe says, it is theoretical, and you can complete the
requirements when you are working, where your proven sales skills will
be blended with your helping and nurturing skills, all cynical rhetoric
aside.[/quote]


While it is a man';s world sometimes, being female gives you
incredible insight into the other 50% of the market. A highly
underserved market at that.

Feb 9, 2007 5:58 pm

Check out the definition of 'patronize'.

Feb 9, 2007 5:59 pm
planrcoach:

Check out the definition of 'patronize'.





OIC, well I'm sorry that I came across sour. I apologize.

Feb 9, 2007 6:03 pm

Thank you, accepted.


Would you answer a few questions about potential conflicts of interest in your current position, since I think you go beyond sour to more like aggressive in your attitude toward broker dealers and their affiliates - is that fair?

Feb 9, 2007 8:34 pm

Personally, I think getting any of thee degrees she mentioned shows her

conviction in pursuing the career. She has a great sales background, so i

think there is a little too much "over analyzing" going on with her

situation. She proved she can sell, she will prove that she wants to learn.

Not much more she can do. I say go for the American College program.



And someone did make a great point - make sure you want to commit to

the time needed to succeed. Because if you fail only because of that, it

will be hard to come back to the industry once you're gone. Waiting a few

years may be wise so that you know you can commit the time.



Then again, if you can get up and running quickly, it might be better to

do it while the kids are really young (as it gets tougher when they are

older).



That's just my opinion, but don't be discouraged by this forum. If you

work hard and are committed, you can succeed. You sound like you have

the right stuff, so good luck.

Feb 9, 2007 10:29 pm

Thank you all for your comments...even AllReit.


I've read this board for a while now, and have been reviewing my options over the last 3 months.  For the record, I was never laid off during any of the lay offs.  I chose to leave to be a stay at home mom, both for my kids and because I was no longer passionate about the work I was doing.


I'm aware of the long hours and work involved in being an FA.  I too worked long hours in pharm sales, often one full week of travel a month, with weekly dinner meetings with top docs (what you might equate to a dinner or lunch seminar).  There are a lot of similarities in the selling aspect to both careers.  However the long hours is why I'd like to take the time now to enhance my finance knowledge through formal education and then work as an FA once my children are in school. 


Formal education in any form never tells the real story, whether it through a university or a training program.  The best education comes from getting out there and pounding the pavement.  I know this because I've lived it.  However I also know that its not only who you know, but what you've done that gets you in the door.  And that's what I'm hoping furthering my education in finance would do.  Set me up to get the best position possible when I choose to start working as an FA.


Thank you for all your insightful comments. 

Feb 9, 2007 10:49 pm
tri$mom:

Thank you all for your comments...even AllReit.





The key thing is that there is Academic degree in financial planning. A
CFP is closest thing, and it worth having so you can speak/relate with
confidence.



If you were to take classes on academic finance and investing (in an MS
Finance or MBA), you would basicly learn what the DFA funds website
says, and then learn that behavioral finance makes efficient markets
for securities hard b/c of bounded arbitrage and relative numbers of
noise traders vs rational investors.



You would also learn about Modern Portfolio theory, and CAPM and why CAPM doesn't work but it sure is easy.



However, all that $0.89 will get you a donut.



So what I would recomend is talking to some local indy brokers/RIA's,
and seeing what they do and offer. Someone with enthusiasm will always
go far.




Feb 9, 2007 10:51 pm
planrcoach:

Thank you, accepted.


Would you answer a few questions about potential conflicts of
interest in your current position, since I think you go beyond sour to
more like aggressive in your attitude toward broker dealers and their
affiliates - is that fair?





I'll bet $0.02 your're going to ask about portfolio drawdowns, and having passive portfolio's of directly owned holdings.



But ask away.

Feb 9, 2007 10:57 pm
AllREIT:
tri$mom:

Thank you all for your comments...even AllReit.




The key thing is that there is Academic degree in financial planning. A CFP is closest thing, and it worth having so you can speak/relate with confidence.



So then the MS in Financial Planning at American College may be worth getting?  It would prepare me for the CFP and be directly related to conducting the work of an FA.  As my original post stated, in the research I've done, my work experience is better or at least comparable to anything I might get out of an MBA or general MS in finance.  I was looking for feedback from those who are FAs in their recommendations on furthering my education in finance that would best serve me both as an FA and in securring the best job possible. 


From your post, it looks as though an MS in Financial Planning which would prepare me to sit for the CFP exam may be worth it.

Feb 9, 2007 11:07 pm
tri$mom:
AllREIT:
tri$mom:

Thank you all for your comments...even AllReit.



The key thing is that there is Academic degree in
financial planning. A CFP is closest thing, and it worth having so you
can speak/relate with confidence.



So then the MS in Financial Planning at American College may be
worth getting?  It would prepare me for the CFP and be directly
related to conducting the work of an FA.  As my original post
stated, in the research I've done, my work experience is better or at
least comparable to anything I might get out of an MBA or general MS in
finance.  I was looking for feedback from those who are FAs in
their recommendations on furthering my education in finance that would
best serve me both as an FA and in securring the best job
possible. 


From your post, it looks as though an MS in Financial Planning which would prepare me to sit for the CFP exam may be worth it.





American College is a weird "university" set up by the insurance
industry to train insurance agent's in the late 1920s. It's not exactly
a real university, it is acreddited but they only offer certificate
programs and strange graduate degree's. I can't think of any other
university that offers an MS in Financial Planning for example



Many universities have a CFP prep certificate program. If you combine
that with Accounting 1+2 and a finance class or two, plus Micro/Macro
you should be all set.