David Grant started out as a receptionist at a fee-only firm, trying to work his way up to eventually becoming a financial planner. But after three years at the firm, he realized that career track wasn't materializing for him. He wasn't sure what steps he needed to take to get that planner job he coveted. Then last summer, Grant, now 28, was hired as a financial planning analyst at Vantage Financial, a fee-only firm. At Vantage Financial, his career route is very clear.
“Getting your foot in the door is a lot harder in the fee-only space,” Grant said. And so Grant decided to create NAPFA Genesis, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors' networking group geared toward younger people looking to get into the fee-only space, which officially launched in January. He is the founder and volunteer leader of the group. While the Financial Planning Association's NexGen group for younger professionals has been around for a while, the group focuses on all business models and offers a voice to people under the age of 36.
Grant recognized a need to focus on fee-only careers for people in their 20s and early 30s in particular, as people in this age range were getting sidelined at NexGen. His group is only open to those who are 33 or younger, because he wanted to focus on college students and young associates getting started in the career. There are 45 NAPFA members who meet the age requirements, and so are considered automatic members of the group, but Grant and NAPFA expect the group's membership will grow.
It's a good time for it. The wealth management industry has lately been worrying over the graying of the profession. Half of all advisors are over 50, with only 19 percent in their 30s and a mere 6 percent under 30. Among fee-only advisors, there are 17 percent in their 30s and 5 percent younger than 30. The average age of advisors rose to 48.6 in 2010, according to Cerulli Associates.