Is This Career For You?

Is This Career For You?
17 Mar 2016

I am often asked if the financial planning field is a desirable industry to work in. Well, like many questions, it depends. I came into “the biz” in October 1989. At that time, the industry was very focused on insurance related products and did not involve much planning. Much of the training consisted of telling a prospective client, “Hey, we have this great product that solves all your problems and let me show you why you need it.”  Well, the industry has really changed for the better and is soon set to change even more.

The tools that we have today are so much more efficient and accurate. The software available to do financial plans are much more consumer friendly. Heck, we didn’t even have software for financial plans when I came into the industry and whatever we did use was quite archaic. Fast forward to today:

  • Information is produced at the speed of light. Whether or not this is beneficial to the client is debatable.
  • Costs have been driven down with the availability to better compare investments and more efficient trading platforms. Is cheaper always better, well, we will see.
  • Suitability will likely be replaced by a Fiduciary Standard (see proposed DOL Fiduciary rule) which will make those firms that embrace this even more competitive and those who don’t….well, we will see.

I think we are at the beginning of a very interesting shift in our industry. Behind the scenes, compliance costs and time have increased; which means at some point firms will need to decide what is in the best interest of the client AND still be able run a profitable enterprise. My company is not a nonprofit. Although in my heart, I would love to help people for free, that’s not a very good business model, nor is it fair for my existing clients. Nonetheless, I really feel this is the best time to consider this career to work. Chaos and disruption provide a foundation for great ideas I believe.

At the end of the day you get to help people solve problems, motivate them to get out of the way of themselves and along the way develop some really great relationships. Oh, and if you do a good job, it can be rewarding to you in many ways beyond financial.

Good luck! Jeff

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Jeffrey Johnston

Jeff has over 30 years of experience in the investment industry. He currently holds his FINRA Serices 6, 63, 66, 7, 24 & 51 licenses with LPL Financial as well as his health and life insurance licenses.