Mar 29, 2015, 12:01 AM EST

First and foremost, it's not about the money

By Layton Cox

A little more than a year ago, I was calling everyone in finance I had ever met. I was drilling them with questions ranging from “How is the work-life balance?” to “How long do I have to wait to find out if I'm good at it?” Over the past year or so, I've discovered a few things no one warned me of. For everyone who was in my shoes a year ago, these tips are for you.IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEYI had heard countless stories of the young gun hitting it big by landing an “elephant” client. I expected to make two or three times my starting salary by the end of year one. Spoiler alert: It doesn't happen.Don't get into this business for the money. Get into this business to help people.(More from Layton: What I didn't expect about being an adviser)It will be amazing to learn how uninformed the majority of American investors are. You'll be even more amazed at how idiotic your peers in the industry sound. As an... Read full post

Mar 29, 2015, 12:01 AM EST

Tedious work and quarterbacking ultimately lead to grateful clients

By Sam Honey

It's hard to believe almost a year has passed since I joined Plancorp. New opportunities for growth and learning have presented themselves every day. At times, I've risen to the occasion, and other times I've found myself short of the mark. Through it all, the experience has been very enjoyable. It is a blessing to work in an environment with people who are genuinely concerned for clients and their progress. I can't recall many meetings in which the client hasn't expressed sincere gratitude for what Plancorp has been able to help them accomplish.(More from Sam: Variety of tasks, client issues makes each day instructive)Recently, the main challenge I was grappling with was the certified financial planner exam, which I took this month. Preparation for this exam was a real test of commitment and discipline (I find my family infinitely more enjoyable than AMT calculations). Through the occupied nights and weekends, my wife was extremely... Read full post

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