Career switch to FA

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Sep 12, 2012 6:23 pm

I am in a comfortable job in tech industry making > 150K / year with 20 years of experience; want to try FA. Appreciate comments and suggestions.

Oct 1, 2012 4:43 am

As you said that you have 20 year experience in technical industry then why are you trying to switch from this field.

Oct 1, 2012 1:32 pm

Can you sell?

Oct 3, 2012 10:42 am

I’d guess at least 75-80% of the senior FAs in any office would switch places with you in a heartbeat. Most are not making what you make. Does that change your mind?

Oct 3, 2012 4:27 pm

Lotusleaf - Bottom line is that there are some very important questions to ask yourself -

Are you comfortable making a complete career change in your 40’s? I’m just starting at 46 w/a sales background but it’s still daunting. This isn’t just a new job, you really have to look at it as if you’re opening a new business. If you’re in Mgmt now you likely work about 50 hours a week, and have to travel once in a while. Well, imagine as an FA that your day is 6:30am to being last one out the door, a night or two a week later to make evening calls, and likely 1/2 day every weekend. Networking lunches and dinners a few times a week, and 50 calls a day MINIMUM, but more like 80 if you want to make enough contact to build a pipe.

Do you have the resources to support yourself (and family) for the first 3-5 years it takes to really build a practice/client base? Some firms offer a small salary for the first 24 months, but it starts decreasing at month 12, supposedly offset by commission, some firms (mainly insurance-based) offer nothing for licensing period and then only a $3K-$9K stipend for “marketing”, some firms offer no monetary support. Realistically, just building a pipeline once you’re producing can take at least 3-6 months if you know what you’re doing. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Do you have resources or support or a spouse w/a good income?

Do you have some kind of “book” or client list coming in to this that you could start off with. Depends on what you do in Tech, right? But also consider EVERYBODY that you know, family, friends, associates, club members, frat bros, little league, Rotary, and their friends and family. I have a training associate who came from a Raytheon/Boeing type background and as a tech/engineer type is all wound up in the details and can’t sell to save his life.

I suggest getting some informational interviews out of the way with some new AND Sr. FA’s. Really do your research on the industry. Find out the difference between wirehouse advisory and insurance-based advisory. Everyone will tell you - 90% washout rate… worst job in the world and best job in the world, etc so you need to know what you’re getting into.

If your career needs a jumpstart, why not consider putting 1/2 the energy that you’d expend studying, licensing and building a business to just get an additional advanced degree or two, MBA, etc and make yourself more marketable.

Good luck.

Oct 3, 2012 5:25 pm

Unless you are walking in with a book of known money, stick with your current career. Even then, it’s still a big question mark as an FA.
If you’re 20 years into tech, hopefully you’re only 10-15 out of retirement…

Oct 8, 2012 3:57 pm

First, I disagree with the posted comment that 80% of senior FAs would trade places with LL. From my vantage point senior FAs all are established producers well beyond survival stage making in excess of 200k per year. In my office alone the only producer making under $150k is a second year trainee. The rest of the crew here is at 250k or better.

LL, unless you have extensive sales experience then most likely making a career switch into this industry would be difficult. There is what most people think this career is, and then there is what it really is. And, what it really is, is a brutally hard sales job. Regardless of what path you take within the industry, product salesman, transactional, fee, CFP, nothing happens until you get someone in front of you to listen to your story. And doing that is 'The Art of Selling Intangibles."

Jan 4, 2013 11:11 pm

Lotusleaf, Why do you want to become a FA?