Thinking about entering the workforce in the financial industry

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May 25, 2011 10:12 pm

Hello I am a naive recent college graduate from a crappy, yet, accredited state university. Though I graduated summa cum laude in economics I pretty much know nothing about generating leads, nor do I have much knowledge of financial products. I know economic theories and reasoning, I know at what level of growth GDP needs to be at to quell the unemployment problem, and crap like that.

Cut to the chase, why am I contemplating becoming a financial planner? Because I like to think analytically, I think I understand general principles of markets pretty well, I think I understand people and what decisions they should make regarding their income levels and background, and there's quite a bit of hiring going on in this industry. Honestly I've been playing the throw a line out and see which fish catches the bait game a lot.

I made a list of pros and cons about working in this industry, but the cons seem as though they are easily rationalized; sales of financial products is a real risky business, and it's sink or swim; most sink-- why should anyone expect to be paid a salary or have their licensing exams paid for them? Way, way too much risk for an employer to handle.

But when going through the cons my biggest gripe seems to be with cold-calling and cold-walking, since my similar experience seem to be quite miserable. And maybe they were just arcane for the lines of work I was in.

 For cold-walking I worked as a field canvasser  for a non-profit, I felt I didn't do well there because I was asking people to give funds (not donations) that weren't tax deductable, while I offered them no product or service. The organization functioned pretty much to inform people about demonstrations and to write angry letters off to their local government representatives. Even our grand fundraising guy  who came from elsewhere performed miserably in our neck of the woods (Florida). One of the other duties was to get people to sign-up as members of the organization (then they'd hit them up later via telephone for money). I'd say half of my co-workers did well in this respect, but when I overheard them talking to people they didn't say who the organization was affiliated with, and they also made it seem that people were signing a petition and not in fact signing up to become a member of the organization-- in short they could've gotten fired by doing this. But, I quit after two weeks because I felt the leadership was way too radical (they wanted us to watch a movie glorifying Hugo Chavez!); that the organization lacked research and a focus to build a membership base, and that I can't just deceive people into becoming members.

I had experience in a telemarketing type job, it was more like market research, I suppose. What I did was to try to get people to attend a screening of pilot TV shows followed with commercials at hotel conference room, but I wasn't allowed to know anything about what people would see when they attended this screening-- were they mainly going to see TV shows and get pitched at. In fact you could've gotten fired for attending one of the screenings while you were employed there. Also, we'd call up people who lived 3 hours away from the screening events. Most people didn't do well here either, but I wonder if it was it me, or was our base saturated, as people would claim they we already contacted them multiple times a day.

I have to wonder if I have what it takes to cold-call and cold-knock, I don't think it was me, but that I was working at places that had business models that didn't work. Also, I'm wondering if cold-calling or cold-knocking is still relevent today? As most people have cell phones and have gotten used to dealing with door-to-door sales people.

Thank you for your time in reading in this. Any input would be much appreciated.

May 27, 2011 5:42 pm

Here's a better question:

What can I do with a series 65 and a degree in economics?

 I've never really had the chance in a sales position, and I see myself more as an analytical type-- I've taken some classes in research, statistics, and econometrics. I've been seeing quite a few posting where it also requires the applicant to also have a series 7, I know I'd need sponsorship with that. I wondering how good a series 65 would be on a resume, and even if employers require more liscenses if some of the them would actually consider hiring me and allowing me to obtain other licenses under their sponsorship.

I am interested in financial instruments and the stock market even though I don't know much about  them, I feel more adept to the labor market. However, as I gain more knowledge I get more interested. One of my main interests with the stock marjet is how is a good indicator of the health of the economy and how firms are performing. WIth understanding of how firms perform we can infer what actions they take in production and hiring. Another reason for my interest is how people can maintain a quality of life and retirement through making investment decisions on the stock market.

Also, how do I get spell check to work on this thing?