Will This Work?

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Oct 14, 2008 10:47 am

This has been a great forum. I've learned a lot from you guys (and ladies) about how the field really works (not just the golden paths the companies tell you!). I'm looking to become an FA, but I also plan on moving in several years. From those of you with experience, or who have done this. Should I wait or get started now? Here are some specifics:

I plan on starting an FA training program with a national company by the end of fall. But then plan on moving to a major metropolitan area in a new state within 3 years and start again there. Is this crazy?   A little about me: I have financial services experience (about 6 years ago), but no investment sells experience or licenses. I'm currently employed in the nonprofit field, but I expect them to run out of money with in a year to year and a half. I'm already working long hours (from what I've heard, longer hours than a hard working new FA) Wife is employed in a very stable field. We have enough in savings plus her stable job to live comfortably until we move even if I'm out of work for a year and a half. Staying where we are really isn't an option. We love the people but it's just not the right city for our long term goals. I'm assuming that proving that I can do it now will make it easier to find a job when I move. Plus, getting licensed would another feather in my hat.   I want to start here and then move but does this make sense to those of you already in the field?
Oct 14, 2008 12:55 pm

It’s SORT OF crazy.  However, if you are OK with starting over in 3 years, then knock yourself out.  The first 3 are the toughest, so part of it will depend on the firm you hook up with in the new city.  If it is a wirehouse that is willing to put you on their “newbie” rolls and pay you a starting salary all over again, then that might make sense (you would be getting some income while re-building your book, and you would now know WTF you are doing).  BUT, if you have to come into a new market, with no clients, and no salary, THAT would be crazy.

  Will your wife have a good job in new city?  How far is new location from current one?   Just remember, it will be like 5-7 years of tail-busting instead of 3-5.
Oct 14, 2008 2:05 pm

Yes, my wife will have a good job in the new city. Her salary will be around 6 figures (non sales so all base, no commission) and the company’s big base of operations is there, they aren’t leaving anytime soon. (of course, you never know nowadays!) The new city is 10 hours, and two states, away.

  So would the tail-busting here be worth it is the question. By doing a great job in the 3 or less years here put me in a better position in being an FA in a new city than not doing it?   If I don't do it, I could plug away where I am now until they run out of money and then be Stay-at-home-dad for the year or so the move, doing the whole school/community involvment thing. Would that look bad to a future co? Or, would getting in now open up networking doors where I could meet the BM or DM in the new city to get me a better position there?   Also, how much, if any, of the accounts I get here could be carried across state lines to a new firm, both legally and realistically?   By the way, I'm in the final interview process with both MS and EDJ.
Oct 14, 2008 2:38 pm

I think more than anything this all comes down to you.  If your willing to start over or potentially get hooked up by your firm in the new city, then go for it… and who knows, maybe your mood with change and you’ll decide to stay, then what?  3 yrs wasted, NOT building up AUM.  Judgment call.

Oct 14, 2008 2:44 pm

I say go for it.

  I don't see it as a waste of time. You could always cold call part of the day to the area you are moving to. This could make the transition smoother.   Also, it's going to be less of a waste of time changing locations than changing carreers in 3 years.    
Oct 14, 2008 2:52 pm

Can you sit down with a soon-to-retire couple and tell them that you will take care of their retirement planning – knowing that you will be gone in 18 months? There’s an ethical dilemma there.

Can you doorknock all day, knowing that many of the people you might not be ready to meet with you until year 2 or 3 -- when you are ready to go. I think it could work if you worked fast and found a bunch of rollovers. But if you want to position yourself as an advisor, it will be tougher. I would stay home, take some classes, spend time with your family and network like crazy in your future city.    
Oct 14, 2008 3:23 pm

I have to politely disagree with B.A.H…

I agree with the ethical dilemma part - it's tough to tell people something that you know to be false.  It's also tought to work hard when you know you are leaving, which is not fair to your firm that has shelled out for you (not that they are looking out for you). However, I would NOT stay home (and you can't possible network in a city 10 hours away). This would look bad to employers (right or wrong).  If possible, try hooking up with a local RIA firm, indy BD office, or wirehouse team as part of their support staff.  Not the most glamorous job, but it gets you exposure to the field, and without the committment to finding short-term clients.   Again, on the flip-side, I think you may eb able to make a go of it with someone like Jones, since if you do well, they may be willing to back-fill your office, and consider you for an open office or GK plan in your new location.  However - and this is up to you ethically - I would not tell them about your plans during the hiring process.  Chances are they would not bother with you.  Worst case scenario - you join the firm, work for a few years, build some experience, build an office, then move, and then they won't find a new spot for you in the new city.  So you go to another firm in the new city.  You likely would not bring many clients with you that far, but you may also be pleasantly surprised.   Either way, getting the experience NOW would certainly make the transition to the new city easier.   What is the city you would be moving to?
Oct 14, 2008 5:16 pm

You have a fundamental misconception about being a FA.  You have a bad case of employee-ism.

This is NOT about “finding a job” or doing something to impress your potential BM or being a good employee.  This is about having an opportunity to earn a living based strictly on the results you generate.  Totally different mindset.  The only people you need to impress to do that are prospects and clients.  If you succeed at that, any BM will want you, in any firm in any city. 

Similarly, to develop a client base and then move away will hurt your results, and thus your income.  Perhaps some clients will stick with you, but some won’t.  It’s not a question of legality, it’s a question of how many clients want to work with someone who they were just getting comfortable with when he moved away. 

This business is hard enough without going into it with one hand tied behind your back. 

Oct 15, 2008 12:13 am

I would get a real job until you move, find something you like because you will be back as fast as you fail.

Oct 17, 2008 5:05 pm

Thanks for the advice. Some of it was almost as much tough love as the stuff over at TGF!

  We've decided to go ahead and move now as opposed to waiting. Wife is giving up stable job and won't be able to get the stellar job, but it will be easier for her to keep in touch and she should have no prob finding something good. Plus, we've got enough in the bank to tide us over until my production gets going.   That leads me to a new question about training pay standards. I've talked with several companies and EDJ's culture matches best with me so I'm going on with them. For studying for the exams, the verbal offer is 1/2 of my current salary which would be a little north of 25k broken out hourly with the expectation of 5-15 hrs of OT at time and a half each week. Is this standard or should I expect more or be happy that they're paying me this much just to study? (ok, to some this may reek of employee-ism but I just want to make sure I'm getting a fair shake)
Oct 18, 2008 9:54 am

This is all you’re going to get. I was making about 125K in one of the most expensive areas of the country, and I got about what you are getting.

Oct 18, 2008 9:24 pm

Thanks for the info.