FA climate

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Oct 30, 2012 7:49 am

I hold an undergrad and graduate degree in financial management. I worked for Schwab during the “market storm” of the late 90’s, then joined the military shortly after 9/11. My time with Schwab was client trading - I did no prospecting or book building.

The military is evaluating me for an early medical retirement. So naturally, I’m interested in returning to finance. But today’s climate is completely different than 14 years ago when I last held my licenses. The economy, investor psychology, and regulations have changed. So I’m approaching this as a true noob for the sake of simplicity and to avoid making a fool of myself. My finances are in excellent order, so I won’t “starve” for the period I would invest in building a book. But all the same, this time is a significant investment… and the opportunity cost of starting new/new in a business model that I know virtually nothing about naturally raises my concerns. That opportunity cost is not monetary, it’s psychological. I’m not accustomed to not succeeding in what I apply myself towards, and the FA climate is far more brutal than the late 90’s.

After speaking with a local EJ rep I know through church and the office manager for ML’s local branch, I’m convinced I have a future in financial planning and/or advising. I’m most interested in fee based, no-commission, wealth management/financial planning, due to convictions I have about conflicts of interest with brokers motivated by commissions. It is that reason which has led me to exclude several well known firms who compensate brokers that sell “preferred” funds. I don’t even want the appearance of having that kind of conflict of interest.

Feedback, counsel, or good “kick in the ass” advice would be greatly appreciated. As my post is nonspecific, I recognize your replies may be as well. But let me have it all the same. I’ve grown thick skin in the military.