Best approach for me, given my situation

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Dec 27, 2009 9:47 am

At 45-years-old, I am looking to start a new career as a FP--I am finishing-up a 25-year career in the fire dept. I have many contacts in civil service that I can sign-up as clients (average net-worth is around 200-300K). As a high-ranking fire official, I can advertise to the lower ranks who have worked for me at one point. My criteria are:



1) A situation where I can benefit the most from bringing in my own business.

2) I don't want to do call-calling or door knocking



Should I look for a RIA or join an established firm? What are the things to look for? Btw, I have a Masters degree in labor relations from Cornell.

Dec 27, 2009 10:33 am
fd2121:

At 45-years-old, I am looking to start a new career as a FP--I am finishing-up a 25-year career in the fire dept. I have many contacts in civil service that I can sign-up as clients (average net-worth is around 200-300K). As a high-ranking fire official, I can advertise to the lower ranks who have worked for me at one point. My criteria are:



1) A situation where I can benefit the most from bringing in my own business.

2) I don't want to do call-calling or door knocking



Should I look for a RIA or join an established firm? What are the things to look for? Btw, I have a Masters degree in labor relations from Cornell.



We had a guy with similar background come to our firm.  He was a vice president at a local company and had been there for many years.  He got the axe when they were acquired so he figured he'd start this career and immediately have a market of the managers who worked for him and the 1000 union members who were the factory employees and drivers (not wealthy but were union so had decent incomes). 

He came into the industry and found out in a big hurry that the people who had worked for him wanted nothing to do with him knowing their finances and did not trust him.  He was well liked, but his employees viewed him as their "old boss" and not as a financial professional.  The market he believed he had was nearly worthless and he was with us for 2 years buying leads and going to see orphans and farmers to sell life insurance and do $10,000 IRA Rollovers before he had enough.  He ended up landing at Principal and does group benefits of somesort.  He's been with them for 5 years so he must be decent at what he does there, but he's an employee and does not own his own book.

Dec 27, 2009 10:44 am

You may have lots of great contacts, connections, and warm leads but these people will view you as a rookie in this business.  Its not like you worked at the bank for 25 years and are now moving onto this side of the business.  Your people view you as the pro on how to prevent or put out a fire.  They will not see you as the one that can manage their financial future until you have a few years of it under your belt.  Anyone not willing to do door knocking or cold calling for the first 3-5 years in this business will not make it.  I have never seen anyone come into this biz with enough warm contacts that puts them into really good shape even for 1 year.  Good luck to you either way...

Dec 27, 2009 10:50 am

Why door knock though when I can hold seminars and guest speak at functions? btw, I am viewed as the financial guy in the FD. I've negotiated 2- contracts and have lectured and published with regard to pension issues. At any rate, even if it takes a while, I don't care. My home is paid for and I have $7,200/month in pension coming in. I just want the best situation for me, given what I think I'll be able to bring in.

Dec 27, 2009 11:12 am

FD,

what size market do you live in?
Honestly, if population under 75k, I say EDJ and make yourself suck it up and do a little dookknocking, after you pass the first few months they honestly dont care how you get business.
Otherwise I'd say find a way to get licensed (ameriprise or some other chop shop where you dont have a contract, I believe; double check on the specific firm FIRST) and go be a bank broker, providing you can sell yourself to the hiring manager.
That route, if set up properly will feed you leads, but ultimately it's a sales job and if you cant close business you'll be out the door.
My greatest concern would be that no reputable financial services firm will hire you without a willingness to cold call or doorknock (depends on the firm which you would be expected to do) but without being hired by a decent firm where would you learn the ropes of what's needed to be successful?
As an aside, with your retirement income, you could probably afford to attempt to go indy, but if your "great network and leads" dont pan out you'll be forced to either close up shop at a loss.... or learn how to doorknock/cold call and hone the sales skills neccessary to close.
Good luck!
DC
 
Dec 27, 2009 11:28 am

Your background may give you some interesting alternatives. At the current time there are many underfunded municipal pension plans. A number of these plans are union plans that cover fire and police. You may want to loo in to this market. If this area does interest you, try to hook up with an RIA or wirehouse consulting practice that specializes in this area. On the wirehouse side MSSB, UBS and ML all have small areas that specialize in this. In the vast majority of cases, you are a consultant and are being contractually engaged for a hard dollar fee.



If this area interests you, Ryan Labs has some interesting articles on there web site that you might want to read. Also, pick up the phone and call them. Ask them about the market and any good practices in your area that specialize in this niche market.



If you want to pursue the individual business that you describedm find a firm that you feel comfortable with that markets to the wealth niche that you described. This would excluded most of the wirehouses. You may want to speak with Ameriprise, some of the regionals that are in your area and a few independent shops. I would make sure that the firm you go with has a decent training program. This may exclude some of the smaller RIA firms.



Whatever you choose to do good luck. It is a difficult business to succeed in , but very rewarding. Make sure you select a firm that fits your needs and your personality.

Dec 27, 2009 11:34 am

$7200 a month pension and no mortgage tells me you can do low production for a couple of years while trying to build a base of trails.  The seminar circuit is dying out in most areas except for all of the plate lickers coming out for a free meal.  You won't know unless you give it a try......7200 a month?  Is that you only or spouse included? sweet deal on that.....don't see that high of pension very often...

Dec 27, 2009 12:27 pm
fd2121:

Why door knock though when I can hold seminars and guest speak at functions? btw, I am viewed as the financial guy in the FD. I've negotiated 2- contracts and have lectured and published with regard to pension issues. At any rate, even if it takes a while, I don't care. My home is paid for and I have $7,200/month in pension coming in. I just want the best situation for me, given what I think I'll be able to bring in.





Dude, were you the state fire chief. $7200/ month. That's some nice jack. Go ahead and go for it. Use your contacts to speak with the heads of the various departments in the state. That's what I'd do. Forget door-knocking unless nothing else is working.



Dec 27, 2009 1:55 pm
fd2121:


1) A situation where I can benefit the most from bringing in my own business.



You can get business either by networking, cold calling or referrals.

fd2121:


2) I don't want to do call-calling or door knocking



So network or learn the referral game. Also, what advice will you give? Are you looking to get paid by transaction, by the hour or for ongoing asset management work? Do you want to do other business (paid speaking, labor consulting, etc) or are you willing to devote all of your time to asset gathering and asset management?



Have you ever run your own business? Are you comfortable risking your paid for home?

Dec 27, 2009 1:57 pm
Moraen:


Dude, were you the state fire chief. $7200/ month. That's some nice jack. Go ahead and go for it. Use your contacts to speak with the heads of the various departments in the state. That's what I'd do. Forget door-knocking unless nothing else is working.





Government pensions are awesome. The very best are the Fire and Police. California may go bankrupt because of pensions like this though.



TANSTAAFL!

Dec 27, 2009 3:21 pm

where are you located? Your Pension is great but i fear it is a backbone that you will rely on and not really "have to" build your practice.

Otherwise though, it is great that you want to build your practice on referrals and networking, but your unwillingless to doorknock/cold call is going to keep you from doing whatever it takes.

realistic question.... if your target market doesnt work out... how are you going to build yourpractice? what are you going to do?

Dec 27, 2009 3:36 pm

With all due respect, dude, you haven't really "worked" in more than 20 years.  Let's be honest.  In this career, you don't get paid to show up, lift weights, bake your officemate brownies, hold a boot at intersections, apply ArmourAll to tires, do minor spraypainting, or judge chili-feeds.  There are no paid sick days, paid sick leave, time-and-a-half, paid vacations, shift differential, comp time, paid holidays, or even paid vacation.  You get paid to produce, and you eat what you kill.  You have no freakin' idea just how soft you've gotten until this business gives you the gigantic bitch-slap in the face and horses kick in the rear end you have coming until you sign up.  But, when you fail, please don't blame it on "the business."  Blame it on the fact that you never had a grown up job in your whole pathetic grown up life.  Puh-freakin'-lease!!!!  Your skill set translates NOT AT ALL!!

 
I have been in positions to hire before, across all types of business in corporate America, and there is no profession that has a harder time adjusting to real work than retired firefighters.  I have personally never met a "former firefighter."  Because, none of you ever quit!  If you can get on that gravy train, get it while the gettin's good.  You, sir, are in for one very damn rude awakening.  Just remember, check your ego and security blanket at the door.  And, good luck to you.
Dec 27, 2009 5:24 pm
AGEMAN:
fd2121:

At 45-years-old, I am looking to start a new career as a FP--I am finishing-up a 25-year career in the fire dept. I have many contacts in civil service that I can sign-up as clients (average net-worth is around 200-300K). As a high-ranking fire official, I can advertise to the lower ranks who have worked for me at one point. My criteria are:

1) A situation where I can benefit the most from bringing in my own business.
2) I don't want to do call-calling or door knocking

Should I look for a RIA or join an established firm? What are the things to look for? Btw, I have a Masters degree in labor relations from Cornell.

If you want to benefit the most from the business you bring in simply go independent since you have the nice pension.  That way it is your business and you can do whatever you want to do....
 
I disagree, unless he has a mentor set up.  The book info he may have learned needs to be put into practice.  The best way to learn is to team up with someone who knows what they're doing.  Otherwise, he'll be practising with clients.  And that is very dangerous for the client and advisor.
Dec 27, 2009 5:42 pm

Thank you all for the advice. The $7,200/month pension is 60% of my salary, which is what I am entitled to after 25-years. I will not be retiring as a rank-and-file fireman; I am a fire chief in a large metropolitan FD with over 800-people working for me. I headed the bureau of fire marshal for over 5-years and have developed extensive management and investigative experience. I've been investing on my own for over 20-years, but I need guidance and solid training before I could ever consider going solo.

Dec 27, 2009 6:29 pm

"...but I need guidance and solid training before I could ever consider going solo."



Jones is a good choice then, just never drink the koolaid.

Dec 27, 2009 7:04 pm


I would contact the institutional consulting divisions at UBS, Smith Barney. At UBS it is called institutional consulting group at SB they have a small division called greystone and a larger consulting group. Try to get on with a team that does this. It will be almost impossible to do by yourself from scratch.



You might also try AON and Hewitt. If they do not think it is a match ask who they would recommenfd you speak with. This is a fairly small niche market as far as the number of people nwho work in it. I think that your masters and the job that you held might make you interesting to some groups. Especially if you have gone through the politics of this before.



Good luck

Dec 27, 2009 10:05 pm

Why retire? According to what you say your income is $144,000 per year. You are at the top of your field. Why would you walk away from something like that? This business is tough, the competition is ferocious. You are going to run into a lot of disappointment. Besides, you are only 45 years old, and you are about to retire? Isn't that kind of young, even for a fire hall? Unless there is more to this story, I don't  know why you would want to do something like this.  You might succeed because you do know a lot of people with money. But, you won't make the kind of money that you are making at the fire hall anytime soon in this business. Unless Warren Buffet's brother is one of your firefighters, and I don't think he has a brother.

Dec 27, 2009 10:15 pm
Tropic Lightning69:

Why retire? According to what you say your income is $144,000 per year. You are at the top of your field. Why would you walk away from something like that? This business is tough, the competition is ferocious. You are going to run into a lot of disappointment. Besides, you are only 45 years old, and you are about to retire? Isn't that kind of young, even for a fire hall? Unless there is more to this story, I don't  know why you would want to do something like this.  You might succeed because you do know a lot of people with money. But, you won't make the kind of money that you are making at the fire hall anytime soon in this business. Unless Warren Buffet's brother is one of your firefighters, and I don't think he has a brother.

 
I think he is full a crap..
Dec 27, 2009 10:34 pm

do not get in this business.

Dec 27, 2009 11:04 pm

I second that