"How late is too late?" Am I too old to become an Advisor?

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Feb 21, 2011 11:22 am

First post and I come seeking advice and counsel.  For the past 12 years I've been successfully sellling Voluntary Benefits to the employees of small businesses.  I am well-skilled in creating appointments with the Business Owner then opening, presenting and closing sales as an Independent Producer but in recent months I have:  A) become somewhat bored selling 10-dollar-a-week Accident or Cancer or Disability plans to the average Joe  and:  B) I think I'm well-suited to dealing with a higher level of client.   Here's my concern:  I'm 61 years old.

Yes, I'm fit, healthy, energetic and reasonably bright but even if I go full-bore for, say, the next 10 to 15 years, will I have enough time to build a business that will provide both the immediate annual income and a residual stream that will serve as my "pension fund?" 

I've already created my "Project 200," but before I go marching into the field while getting trained by a well-respected local group of Financial Advisors, I would very much appreciate any feedback regarding this career path -- particularly at my present age. 

And believe me.... I can't believe I'm actualy SIXTY-ONE either!       Many thanks for the advice and consideration.

Feb 21, 2011 12:32 pm

I'm not going to waste more words than are needed here.  So here goes... Yes, 61 is too old.  No, 61 is not too old.

If you think you'll love it, go for it .. but I wouldn't be doing jack at 61 I didn't HAVE to do or LOVE to do.

Good luck.

Feb 21, 2011 12:37 pm

Good point, Supe.  Just to clarify for the board, I am far from fincially independent, so yes... I MUST do something career-wise -- even if it's not this.

Feb 21, 2011 1:26 pm

Hey New Veteran...  Our situations are not too different, except that I am about 7 years younger than you.

The bad news is... this is hard work for an "old" guy!  And, some people who you think are slam dunks to want to work with you... well, they won't for one reason or another.

The good news is... our age can work to our benefit. 

Young people don't have money.  Lots of 50+ people DO have money but, for the most part, don't feel comfortable handing it over somebody close to the age of their children.  So, the new 24 year-old FA starts off at a big disadvantage.  He can't work with his friends, so he spends his day trying to convince a bunch of people two or three times his age that he knows more about managing money than they do.  That's why the young guys usually hook up with an older guy.

Now, enter Mr Professional looking 61 year-old guy.  You can screw just as much or more as the 24 year-old, but you at least START with the presumption of being a professional.  You also speak their language, share their fears about geting old, etc.  All the underlying challenges are still there, but you get a 'pass' to get past square one.

Also, like you, I need to create a pension out of this thing.  So, if you have to work a lot longer, you might as well do it in a telephone job with tons of flexibility.  The worst part is getting it off the ground.

Just curious... are you an AFLAC guy now? 

Whatever you decide... GOOD LUCK!!

Feb 21, 2011 1:47 pm

WhatNow makes a number of good points, especially about relating to clients.  What's more, the young guy just doesn't have the contacts in the community that a veteran does so there's another point in favor of the geezers. 

And to answer your last question, I've spent ten years with AFLAC but when I realized that the company's business plan is to Hire Anyone, I added a contract with Allstate Workplace.... virtually the same products, more commissions due to far fewer levels of management and -- best of all -- Allstate Workplace comes without the stigma now often attached to AFLAC when cold-calling,  "Hey, you're the 10th AFLAC guy to call me this week.  Put me on your Do Not Call list!"   When face-to-face with an employee, they have no problem with Allstate... ever.

(And not that anyone is asking, but another option I'm considering is forgoing the Advisor route and focusing on Disability  for business owners.  May then pick up DI groups and even expand that practice into Life for the business owners.  I understand many successful Guardian practices were built this way.  Besides, I already have a good handle on DI concepts; perhaps going the full-blown Registered Rep route is biting off more than I can chew.)

Feb 21, 2011 9:26 pm

Hi Vet,

I think that 61 years old is too old to be starting out in this business.

Yes, as others have mentioned the appearence of experience will open a lot of doors. But it will only get you that far.

Everyone that I know who's "made it" in this business did so working 12-14 hours a day and Saturdays. Starting out in this business is a young man's game.

Also, despite what others may say - the series 7 is not a joke in it's difficulty. The material itself isn't what makes the test difficult but rather the imense volume of information and rules you need to learn. Remember, the 7 is a 6 hour, 250 question marathon of a test. A lot of firms require you pass it the first try or you're fired.

Besides the long hours for the first 3-5 years the other big disadvantage for you is simply time remaining.

If you do very well, defy the odds and make it past year 5 - then what? Another 5 years and you're 71 years old.

I know several FAs your age and one thing they all have in common is they had started 30 years earlier and are coming up on their sunset soon.

My advice would be to pick something else - maybe Allstate or State Farm insurance? I've heard nothing but BK stories when it comes to Farmers and American Family.

Feb 21, 2011 10:01 pm

If you need immediate significant income, I would stick to what you know which is the insurance industry.

Feb 22, 2011 6:08 pm

Go for it. I promise you, the next ten years of your life will be richer and more interesting than they would have been otherwise. It’s a great business.

Feb 25, 2011 9:37 am

You will find that everyone has an opinion. If you want to do this go for it.

Feb 25, 2011 6:26 pm

New Vet - check your in box - sent you a PM.

Jan 31, 2018 3:24 pm

What did you decide? NewVet? Did you do it? I am 43, wondering if it's worth a career change.