Dec 14, 2014, 12:01 AM EST

A whirlwind of change — transitioning into the financial planning industry

By Kelly McNerney

The last six months have been full of transition. The first wave of change was graduating from William Paterson University in New Jersey and accepting a job as an associate financial adviser with FJY Financial in Virginia. My emotions were mixed; I was thrilled to be offered an amazing job at a prestigious firm, but I was nervous about leaving my family and friends to move to a new, unknown city. Although it was bittersweet, I am thrilled to say that I am more than satisfied with my decision. I do miss my friends and family and value the time I am able to visit them, but I love this new place I now call home. I am lucky to be working at a firm with incredible mentors who have been teaching me more than I could have even imagined; I have been given responsibilities most recent graduates do not have.The next period of change occurred three months in, when I was no longer in the training phrase. I transitioned from shadowing and training... Read full post

Dec 14, 2014, 12:01 AM EST

The more I learn about planning and taxes, the more interesting the job gets

By Treavor Dodsworth

During the past five months at NorthWest Financial, I have learned a remarkable amount about all aspects of financial planning, from the technical side of concepts and strategies to the relationship essentials of connecting with clients and fellow employees. I have enjoyed my time very much and hope to continue working in this industry.I am studying for my second of four certified public accountant tests. Once I finish the CPA tests, I will have the Series 65, insurance and certified financial planner tests waiting for me. It is an incredible amount of studying. But since I am working as a financial planner, I am able to apply the material to real-world situations. This allows me to see how the material actually helps individuals and makes the studying — dare I say — fun.The firm has tasked me with a variety of projects. I have made multiple templates: new client bill, tax data worksheets, etc. The firm also has had me... Read full post

Oct 5, 2014, 5:41 PM EST

In financial planning, the details can create or destroy your career

By Amanda Moore

I've always been a firm believer that success is created and destroyed in the details; it's one of the reasons I thought I would make a good financial planner.While at Virginia Tech, our academic adviser would tell us that advisers wanted their new hires to be detail-oriented. Every time the topic came up, I would check the imaginary box in my head. I proofread my e-mails, triple-checked my calculations on exams and paid attention to every bullet point when reading textbooks. As far as I was concerned, I had that quality mastered. However, a couple months into my residency I had a wakeup call; my undergraduate definition of detail-oriented paled in comparison to the professional definition. At school I was required to be detail-oriented during my one-hour exam rather than for eight hours a day while answering the phone. Instead of being given the facts and figures and told to solve for a variable, at work I was given “B”... Read full post

Oct 5, 2014, 5:39 PM EST

Variety of tasks, client issues makes each day instructive

By Sam Honey

My role at Plancorp has certainly grown over recent months. I may have finally entered the asset column of the human capital balance sheet. As I have become more familiar with clients, processes and financial planning in general, my task load has grown to include not just preparing client data for meetings but also to providing relevant analyses of income tax issues, estate planning documents and market conditions. One contributing factor to my professional growth has been the level of expectation from my co-workers. Initially when small mistakes were common in my day-to-day work, my team was (and still is) patient as I progressed, but they never lowered the bar. From the beginning, I was expected to be a contributing member of the team. I have often been given projects which, for me, required a lot of research and critical thinking.(Know someone looking to enter the advice business? Send them to the InvestmentNews NextGen Virtual... Read full post

Oct 5, 2014, 5:36 PM EST

What I didn't expect about being an adviser

By Layton Cox

“I'm calling today to introduce myself.” That is how I begin 90% of my conversations. The other 10% are opened with, “Did I catch you at a bad time?”As a 20-something, first-year, inexperienced financial adviser going up against an industry with an average age of 55 and an average of 20-plus years of experience, life can sometimes make you feel small. Lucky for me I come well prepared. I was interning with Pathways Financial Partners two years before I was hired on full-time. I know our investment philosophy, fee schedule and financial planning software like the back of my hand. I've also started to become almost too familiar with ERISA law, fiduciary liability and 401(k) best practices over the last several months. I'm expected not only to service our current private and defined-contribution clients, but also bring new money into both categories. On top of these expectations, Pathways Financial Partners has... Read full post

Jun 29, 2014, 12:01 AM EST

Transitioning from student to employee poses challenges

By Mariah Acap

As a recent graduate, I am really looking forward to beginning the next chapter of my life. College was an absolutely fantastic time, but I am truly excited to move on. Juggling work with classes made me feel as though I couldn't dedicate my time and energy to being as productive as I would like to be at Buttonwood because I would constantly have to break for projects, study groups, etc. I really felt as though I wasn't completely in the loop because I couldn't be in the office every day. But now that I'm full-time, I can attend more client meetings and contribute more to the firm. I really enjoy having more responsibility with client correspondence and involvement in the planning process. Additionally, I am looking forward to spending my first year furthering my knowledge about all aspects of the business. My colleagues really enable my learning because they make a point to include me in any learning opportunity possible. I am really ... Read full post

Jun 29, 2014, 12:01 AM EST

Summer of change comes with anxiety, excitement

By Treavor Dodsworth

This summer will involve a considerable amount of change. I will graduate, get married and start my new job at NorthWest Financial — all in a couple of months. These changes do come with some anxiety, but they also come with great excitement.After interning with NorthWest last summer, I look forward to joining them full time July 7. The staff at NorthWest places great importance on training their employees. I know they will invest in me as I in turn invest my time and energy in their company. When I interned with them, the office always had a very positive and encouraging atmosphere. I am excited to see how my personality will fit into their established company culture.After beginning my job, they will have me start sitting in on client meetings, as well as preparing supporting documents for those meetings. After hours I will be studying for the CPA exams. The plan currently is to work through the four CPA tests and then focus on ... Read full post

Jun 29, 2014, 12:01 AM EST

Tackling the challenge of relocating

By Kelly McNerney

If anyone asked me four years ago, “Kelly, where do you see yourself after you graduate from William Paterson University?” my answer would be very far from the reality of where I am today. Today, I am an associate financial planner at FJY Financial in Reston, Va. Four years ago, I did not know that the financial planning industry existed, nor did I know that I was attending one of the top schools for it. It is clear that a lot has changed in the last four years, and these changes have brought me to where I am today. When I was offered the position at FJY Financial, a mix of emotions ran through my head. I knew this was the firm I wanted to begin my career with, but I was hesitant to leave my family and friends in New Jersey. I am extremely happy with the decision I made to relocate and begin working with the FJY team.During my first few days, I have spent a lot of time being trained on the different software FJY uses. I... Read full post

Jun 9, 2013, 9:39 AM EST

April Peterson: Studying for my CFP

It's been a few weeks since graduation and I am soon to begin working at USAA. I am excited about my future with this company. I am currently studying for the CFP and will sit for the November exam. As I begin working, my first task is to take the series exam and learn the company's procedures. I am excited about gaining knowledge and experience in the industry. Although waking up every morning to go to a job will be new to me for a while, I am excited to get to work and learn. As of right now, though, this is new to me and will be for a while. Once I settle in, I will be able to share more of my strengths -- and weakness -- as revealed by what I learn and my experiences.... Read full post

Jun 7, 2013, 1:23 PM EST

Madison Ernst: 'They offer a degree in that?'

My name is Madison Ernst. I graduated this May from the best school in the South, in my opinion that is, The University of Georgia. I completed my college experience with a degree in Family Financial Planning. When I tell many people about my degree they are often confused and say, “They offer a degree in that?” They do not know how much the program and this degree have prepared me for my future. The FFP program at UGA is superb. The professors are phenomenal and have many years of direct financial planning experience. They truly want to help each of the students in any way they can. The program provides opportunities for outside experience through involvement with the community. I participated in the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. I was also lucky enough to be chosen to become a Financial Counselor at the Aspire Clinic as well. The Aspire Clinic is located at UGA and provides financial counseling and ... Read full post

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