Career Transition

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Jul 29, 2013 5:39 am

I currently have a good job, but have a passion for Financial Planning. I don’t want to quit my good paying job with benefits and jeopardize my family’s finances.

If possible, what would be a good way to ease into the financial services industry (without quitting my day job until I can afford it)?

I understand that I can’t take the Series 7 or 66 exams without being associated with a broker. What certifications should I get for this process? It seems to me like the Series 6, 63, and 65 seem to be the most applicable.

Thanks for the help

Jul 31, 2013 1:59 pm

It depends on how deep you want to go into the industry, moreover what specialization you or industry focus you prefer. Being an expert in everything is unrealistic, though you can focus on planning through the CFP designation, which will likely keep you focused on being in front of clients. This designation focuses more on trust and estate planning, even tax, compared to the next designation. If you want mobility to other wealth management functions, even hedge funds, an MBA may be an option, or you can go with the gold standard for the financial industry, i.e. the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. You become a “Charterholder.” This may lead you toward wanting to work on pensions or other pools of investment money, but it also may give you a leg up with clients. You can even start your own RIA and attempt to avoid needing to work for another wealth management firm.
It starts with learning more about what type of business you want (from yourself and the culture of any given firm (or your own) that you prefer. The next step is to figure out what those people are doing. CFA, MBA (probably already knew this), and CFP, as I understand, do not require the series 6 or 7. Also, there are firms that don’t base your pay solely on commission. I say work toward the professional designation and more importantly, consider a firm that will help your transition, while allowing you to keep a certain lifestyle. Though not realistic to look for a firm paying crazy money without crazy sales, but you’ll realize where ultimatums are and where they are not. You will likely not find the ideal firm, so I recommend the professional designations and looking into the RIA. You’re building your own book while with a firm, anyway, so potentially, you could just start on your own with the RIA. It can be harder to transition into your own firm once you have the cushiness and branding associated with working under a given firm.

Jul 31, 2013 8:23 pm

Thank you for responding to my post.

I looked into the CFP before, but it seemed like I would have to quit my job to meet the experience requirement (I think it is 2000 hrs for 3 years).

I would like to test out the waters and see what area I am most interested in. I am trying to avoid making a huge commitment of time and money, and then find that I dont like my new profession.

Would passing the Series 63 and 65 be the appropriate next step to see which area of specialization is right for me?

When a person has passed the Series 63 and 65, do they have the right to sell advice?

Thanks for the help!

Aug 1, 2013 6:02 pm

You may want to look at companies like Primerica, who sponsor and employ individuals like yourself to work part-time in our industry. This way, you can keep your day job until you are sure that this industry is your career path. Good luck.

Aug 1, 2013 7:00 pm

The 65/66 is not nearly comprehensive enough to get going on the road to becoming a financial planner. Plus, you can’t put IAR on your business card. You need something that will get you the knowledge and will let you put letters on your card. The CFP designation is perfect for this and people are familiar with this designation. Not nearly as many people are going to be familiar with with the CFA designation. The CFA designation is well known and and highly regarded within the industry but not necessarily to outsiders. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am CFA charterholder.


Aug 2, 2013 3:50 am

Would I be able to meet the CFA experience requirement of 6000 hrs in a total of 5 years if I was not doing Finanical planning full time?

Aug 11, 2013 2:33 am

As they say don’t quit your day job! Do a serious amount of researching and asking questions before you try and break into financial services. A serious amount. It’s a lot harder than rolling up your sleeves and having self confidence. It is sales, plain and simple.

Aug 23, 2013 12:19 am

Well put BigSky. Sales indeed. But intelligent sales. Its more intellectually stimulating then selling software, being a vendor. As an FA, you bring a variety of quality products to help families wealth grow. We all need this, no matter what the amount. The very successful advisors (1m gross yr) are very smart people. Not brilliant, but they know their stuff and can sell well. They are out and about always working. At the gym? your working! At the pool? your working. Out to dinner? Meet the owner! Always keeping your eyes and ears open to get more assets. You def have to be pretty smart…I believe. Wealth Management is a lot different then it was a decade ago. They aren’t so much stock brokers anymore, they are full businesses. Of course if you want a broker, they will place trades for you. No problem for them…more commissions. Teams are now doing the entire financial PLAN. Retirement planning, estate planning, insurance, mortgages even!, and of course the separately managed accounts, HFs, 529s,etc. Plus, teams are, according to what I’m reading and hearing, adding wealth planners. The planners do the analytical work, the advisors are the rainmakers (asset gathers). The advisor is the CEO. Planners are the COOs. In Financial Advising you want to have your own business…plain and simple. You can use the word interchangeably of course, but a popular route today is having one or two rainmakers, and then a team to support them. The more knowledge on a team, the better!

I’m looking to move back into the industry. I left wealth management to gain sales experience. I simply wasn’t ready to ask someone for 1m+ dollars at 26. Plus I wasn’t sure it was for me. Now I believe I can do well as I’m a bit older. However, I do not have a network of wealthy people at 31…my family wasnt rich rich, and my friends are still getting rolling. Thus I’m looking to join a successful team to start in the planning aspect. Certainly an honorable position to gain expertise in multiple areas.


Jan 3, 2016 6:46 pm

You may want to look at companies like Primerica, who sponsor and employ individuals like yourself to work part-time in our industry. This way, you can keep your day job until you are sure that this industry is your career path. Good luck.[/quote]

You are forgetting the poster wants experience with financial planning, not learning how to recruit and sell cookie cutter term insurance.