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Any advice for a young, aspirant registered rep?

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Jun 6, 2011 8:44 pm

Hi everyone! I'm typing this pretty quickly as I'm in a rush; forgive me for any grammatical errors or leaps between ideas. Please take the time to read all of this, as I know that this community will definitely be able to provide a satisfying and excellent answer to my questions. :) 

I'm new to the forum and have been lurking around reading posts. You are all a brilliant community and I've decided to come to you with my questions about my college choices potential careers. I'm a young, seventeen year old kid with plenty of radiance in my academic background, athletics, and especially community service. I don't mean to brag or come here acting like some bragging prodigy fresh out of high school, but I do have a notable amount of confidence and I am really interesting in becoming a registered representative! 

Just a few things about me to give you all some factors when giving me advice: I am OBSESSED with the market, especially what flows through its veins, MONEY! I love english and writing, everything about it. I don't plan on becoming a full-time writer, but I have been told I'm good at articulating ideas on paper. I love helping people and giving people advice on money. I had given my brother and a few other people great advice on the colossal climb silver stocks made back through the winter and spring. Enough bragging, back to what I love. 

I view everything through the eyes of money and cost. When I go out, I keep track of all spending. I view friendships in costs of money, and if they're really worth the fiscal costs, much more than any emotional or moral costs. I think I may be obsessed with money, but the fact that I'm extremely stringent with it may help with becoming a sophisticated and professional registered representative.

I apologize for the rambunctious and perhaps selfish gloats I've just written. Here are my questions: Am I the ideal character to be a Registered Representative? Or is another career perhaps more of a match to me?

I plan on attending university and dual-majoring in English and Economics with a minor in Finance. Is there a better combination of those majors/minors or would that be enough? (I think Finance should switch places with English) OR, do majors and minors even matter? 

I plan on going to law school after the first four years... Is that a good idea? Corporate law interests me but I don't think I want to become some corporation's watch dog... Would business school be a better choice?

Albeit, thank you all so much if you took the time to read this mess. Thank you in advance for any advice offered!

Jun 6, 2011 10:36 pm

Take the road less traveled and find a RIA to link up with for internships during the Summer and Winter breaks while in school.  You can lend a helping hand while picking up on the industry.  This should give you a nice start to your career. 

As for what to do after you obtain your undergrad degree I would suggest jumping into the business before pursuing JD or MBA.  This is due to the high cost of these education programs and there is no guarantee that this business will be profitable for you to succeed.  Better off waiting for your career to pick up and know that you made the right choice before racking up unwarranted education costs. 

My 2cents.

Jun 7, 2011 6:22 am

What exactly is an RIA? I've never heard the term before. Are there any other ideal jobs or internships I should consider?

And cost aside, what do you believe is preferred in the industry, the JD or MBA? 

Oh, and thank you!

Jun 7, 2011 12:24 pm

RIA (Registered Investment Advisor), google it. 

If you are dealing with legit high net worth clients, $5mm plus, than a JD might be good to have if you focus on estate planning.  For the most part, an MBA will do nothing for you in this career unless you are aspiring to get into management or use it solely for networking. 

Jun 7, 2011 1:55 pm

Brandon, you seem to be a very intelligent kid.  Assuming your standardized testing is in line, your writing and penmanship are strong enough to get you into many top-ranked schools.  In my opinion, while you want to have a direction of where you are heading in your career, I feel that your primary focus should be on your education.  Get the strongest education you possibly can while it is available to you.

While many on this board will tell you that education is not a high factor to success in this industry, do not listen to them.  You are not in this industry, currently.  You have a lot of life ahead of you before becoming a registered rep - who knows what life may bring you down the road. 

My point is this, never devalue your education.  It will stay with you for the rest of your life.  Particularly so if you receive an education from one of the top-tier or Ivy League schools.  For the rest of your life, people will ask you two questions.  Where are you from?  Where did you go to school?  Being able to answer with the correct answer will immediately set you apart.  Anyone that says differently either doesn't have an education or is lying to you. 

By having a strong education, many of life's doors can be opened for you, these are intangible benefits.  You will have choices.  If you choose to start your career as a registered rep, so be it, it will certainly be an option.  But, do realize that being a RR is not so much about "the markets".  It's about salesmanship.  The product you are selling is financial services.  Sales first, markets second. 

You may want to also look into being an analyst, portfolio management, investment banking, etc. as potential career aspirations.

For now, get into the best school you possibly can and get an internship at one of the wire houses or big firms.  You will learn a tremendous amount.  More importantly, you will have an inside connection to an industry that you love. 

Good luck!

Jun 7, 2011 2:20 pm

Let's take a vote on a scale of 1-10 how important is education (post undergrad) in this career?

Jun 7, 2011 2:38 pm

In my response to Brandon, I was stating that, regardless of his career, he should never undervalue his education.  He is not you or I, whom are actually in this career, currently.  (I'm assuming you are actually in this career). 

He's 17.  He has a lot ahead of him.  And, just maybe...  He has the ability to aspire to much greater heights than becoming an RR that he has not thought about previously.  When I was 17, I certainly hadn't weighted out all my options that would be available to me later in life! 

Are you saying that as a 17 year-old, he should now ditch his education because it won't really matter in this career anyway?  And, you are now looking for others to support your opinion?  I would certainly hope not. 

He has a vast amount of time ahead of him before he ever enters this career - if he so chooses to do so.  Until then, he should focus on preparing himself for a life-long journey in the business world.  By valuing his education now, many more opportunities will be available to him later in his career, whatever career it may be.

Additionally, I was not speaking to a post-graduate, career changer looking to become an RR.  In that light, I would not tell that individual to go back to school and get a degree at a prestigious university.  At that point, your life's successes and failures - outside of any classroom - will carry much greater weight.  It's a completely different ball game in that scenario. 

Jun 7, 2011 4:16 pm

Responding to your first post, Mr. Net New, does the school you attend really matter? I've been told many, many times that the school's name you attend won't matter in any industry; what will matter are the grades you get. I'm currently stricken between attending the most prestigious private university in my state, or a slighty above-average state university that's slowly getting a lot of fame (it's already somewhat known nationally). Here's the deal: If I attend the private college, I may end up having to pay around $20,000 a year ($40,000 tuition cut by scholarships); however, if I attend the state college, I would be receiving free education and about $1500 a semester through pocketed scholarship money. I've been told that a free education will always beat any expensive education if you make the best of it. I'm still awaiting more scholarship notifications for the private university, so it may be fully paid, but I won't have any clue for another month or so.

Would it be wise to attend the state school and become a high grade student graduating in the honors college; or, attend the highly prestigious private university and potentially have to pay a large sum of money and have potentially harder classes. 

And to your second post, Mr. Net New, I really have no idea what I want to pursue in life. I also understand that there are many successful people out there who never knew until their late 20's or even mid 40's. I just see myself as a registered rep or someone working in the industry because of my people skills, love for the fluctuations of money, and my love for money and the rollercoaster of the market. I really don't know anything about the industry and I don't know what else there is other than an RR, lol. 

njh_at_lfg, how would I go about finding an internship at an RIA without experience? Could you go more in-depth about the decision between a JD or MBA? 

Jun 7, 2011 5:26 pm

I have an intern sitting in my cube area right now without prior experience.  If you called 10 RIA firms in your area and let them know you are looking for an internship then a couple might entertain the thought of bringing you in (better odds if you are willing to intern for free!).  You might not learn much in the first Summer you do this but as you build a reputation of a hard worker they might feel more inclined to give you more responsibilites which will bring better knowledge of this career.

I know many folks in my industry who took time to pursue an MBA or EMBA program to further their career.  However, it turned into a money pit that just eats time.  You might be able to pick up some good clients down the road thru the relationships you develop in this program but I would not bank on it.  As for the JD, the higher the net worth of a client generally means the more complex planning and advising you must do such as estate and tax minimizing planning this is where a JD would come in handy.

Jun 7, 2011 5:51 pm

Intresting... I'll definitely look into interning at an RIA. Thanks for the advice, I think I'll probably want to pursue a JD now. I had already planned on it but this had completed my aspiration. I just need some advice on what I had previously posted and I think I'll be set straight. Thank you all again!