By Dante De Gori CFP® professional, CEO, Financial Planning Association of Australia
With the end of the academic year fast approaching, both high school and university students will be considering what their career choices are. It is also a time when those already in the workforce might be considering a career change in the new year.
With this in mind, have you considered entering the financial planning profession? Most people assume because I’m a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional, commonly known as a CFP professional, that I was pretty good at maths in school. However, at its core financial planning is less about maths, and more about guiding people to achieve their own financial goals and security through personalised strategies.
Choosing a career is rarely a clear-cut choice, but if you value making a difference in people’s lives, I highly recommend you consider putting becoming a financial planner on your career vision board. Here are six good reasons why:
1. Unlock dreams. Financial planners help clients look further down the road of life than the everyday journey usually allows. A recent report issued by the FPA shows one in two Australians dreaming more about their futures now than they did five years ago. Private Client Advisor at IPAC John Molnar is proud of all his clients’ achievements. “I was able to successfully coach and guide a young couple to achieve their financial goals, while they juggled children, progressing careers and wanting to get into the property market. Over the course of a number of meetings, we were able to put in place a plan that helped them make smart financial decisions with confidence and clarity. They eventually bought their dream home and achieved one of their most important goals. To me, this is where I was able to see the difference I can make as a financial planner,” says Molnar.
2. Creative thinking. Every client has their own story, challenges and dreams, and every strategic financial plan has to have the individual client’s best interests at heart. Proficiency with numbers plays a supporting role to a passion for finding solutions to real problems. In any given day you might be asked to advise someone on whether to sell the family home to fund retirement, how to afford good schooling for their disabled child in the midst of medical expenses, or how to get a new business and independent life up and running after a divorce.
3. Work/life flexibility. As a financial planner, you have the freedom to work at a large financial institution, a smaller boutique firm, or even start up your own practice in a location that suits you. Former investment banker turned CFP® professional, Jim Fenwicke from Fenwicke Financial, changed careers for a better work/life balance. “The move to financial planning and self-employment has fulfilled all my pre-requisites regarding work like balance. I am now much more available for my family and really enjoying life,” says Fenwicke.
4. Entrepreneurial spirit. For anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit, there has never been a better time to be in financial advice. CFP® professional and founder of Verse, Corey Wastle has seen his practice grow into a booming business since inception. “Starting Verse from scratch and working to build momentum and deliver something we’re truly proud of to clients has been a remarkable journey so far. It’s truly fulfilling when you pour your heart and soul into a cause to create something that didn’t exist before you,” says Wastle. “All you need is a vision, passion, determination and the courage to try. If it’s something that you want, do it. Life doesn’t last long.”
5. Family business. Not everyone wants to work with their brother, spouse or uncle, but it works for a lot of Australians, including brothers Joe and James Stephan who co-founded Stephan Strategic. “For James and I, it has worked from the get go. We have a very similar vision and values, however, we are very different in our make-up and skillset and what we like to do in the business. Whilst we are both client facing, different clients prefer different advisors. This is where we are able to assess the needs of a particular client and offer them the correct advisor,” says Stephan.
6. Growth and learning. If you want a career that offers predictability, routine, and no requirement to stretch and grow professionally and personally every year, financial planning is not for you. New government regulations coming into play later this year will put more onus than ever on financial planning professionals to sharpen their skills and engage in constant learning so that they can provide the highest standards of service. In the meantime, the FPA website is a good place to start if you are considering a career in the profession.