The financial services industry presents an incredible opportunity for Millennials looking for not just a job but a career. The demographics of our industry alone make a compelling case as the average financial professional is over age 50 and approaching retirement within the next ten years. We are going to see many of those practices needing to be transitioned and eventually succeeded, and Millennials like myself are well-positioned to take advantage of that.
But there’s more to this than just demographics. There are many things about being a financial professional that should appeal to Millennials.
Financial professionals make a difference. Millennials are a generation known for wanting to make a difference in this world, and many are taking career paths more focused on impact than on money. Our core benefit as financial professionals is the ability to truly help people. We educate them, act as a sounding board for ideas and give them the confidence to make financial decisions that will shape the course of their lives.
One of the main reasons I came into this business is because I really love to help people. The two most important challenges people will ever have in their lives are raising kids and managing money, and there is a dearth of training on either topic. Although I am still figuring out the parenting deal, I get a lot of satisfaction out of being an integral resource for my clients. People desperately need guidance, and it’s up to us as financial professionals to provide it.
Financial professionals are entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit of our business should definitely appeal to Millennials. The flexibility of greatest value is the degree of freedom you have in building a practice. There are thousands of financial professionals in this country, and it’s pretty remarkable that each one of them runs their practice differently. There’s no one right way to do it — from the planning software they use to the products and strategies they implement. Financial professionals have control of their destiny, of how they want to tell their story to clients, what services they want to offer and the path they want to follow for their career. If you hate the idea of working in a traditional corporate setting and ‘climbing the ladder,’ financial advising may just be right for you.
Financial professionals can be rewarded for working hard now. Millennials are often chastised for expecting higher income bases straight out of school. However, our business allows for that for those who are willing to put in real work. There are no income limitations based on your seniority like most other careers. What you earn is based on how hard you work. It does take a while to build, but your income is not capped by any salary structure; rather it is capped by how hard you will push yourself to help others.
Financial professionals have equality of opportunity. Successful financial professionals tend to have similar characteristics: great at building and maintaining relationships, being excellent communicators, a knack for really listening, and being selfless and hard working. These traits do not favor either gender, and as our industry focuses on the importance of providing advice to both men and women, we continue to see plenty of opportunity for both men and women to make an impact in the lives of others.
Financial professionals increasingly work in teams. Millennials often prefer to work in teams, something that was emphasized in our education. We prefer the personal interaction, working with others and sharing ideas to solve problems. The life insurance industry has traditionally been a career where financial professionals were ‘lone wolves,’ but that is changing. The complexity of the financial and regulatory world we live in almost requires that we work in teams. Millennials can help drive that change and be integral team members.
I was recruited into this business right out of college. The recruiter who found me was looking for competitive, yet intelligent, athletes (not sure how I got selected with that criteria!). I was a psychology major with a business minor, and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career. The personality profile tests I took online were pointing me to either sales or non-profit work. Those seemed to be irreconcilably different to me, however, the more I learned about financial advising the more I knew this career was right for me. I can be entrepreneurial, build my own business and rely on my competitive instincts, while at the same time be truly helping people and making a real difference in their lives. I was blessed to find this career path, and I hope more Millennials will find our industry as rewarding as I have.
Top Tips for Millennials Considering a Career in Financial Services
For those who are considering a career as a financial professional, here are some tips to consider.
- Don’t specialize too early. You can take your career on whatever path you choose. I recommend people come into the business with an open mind and explore as many options as possible. There may be a lot of opportunity in retirement planning, but maybe you will find you enjoy doing complex life insurance cases, or working with businesses to structure succession plans. If you specialize too soon, you may never discover what you really enjoy doing.
- Being a generalist helps build trust. People want objective advice, and they want to know you are acting in their best interest. If you run a well-rounded practice, this will give you a range of offerings to meet every need, whether that’s life insurance, mutual fund and stock portfolios, or annuities. It’s about the best fit for the client, not just what you are able to sell.
- It’s about relationships first, and domain knowledge second. As financial professionals, we get caught up in wanting to learn as much as possible so we can answer any question a client might have and not get embarrassed by not knowing everything. In reality, our clients just want to like us, they want to trust us, and they want us to be there for them. Of course we must be knowledgeable in order to be the resource our clients need us to be, but don’t let your fear of being vulnerable early in your career prevent you from having conversations with the clients you really want.
- Make your youth work for you. Right now, age may seem to be a bit of a disadvantage. When I started in the business, I would sit down with people and they’d say, “Adam, I like you, but I’ve been investing longer than you’ve been alive. I think I’m going to stick with what I’m doing.” Now, 12 years into the business, I’ve had a good amount of experience, and I work with people from age 18 to 90-something. My youth has turned to an advantage, because people feel good knowing that I’m going to be there for the long haul to help them through their retirement. Most other financial professionals are likely to be retired, sitting on the beach next to them rather than working hard to make sure all the plans they worked hard to create with their financial professional get carried out. People who look at the big picture will value youth.
This post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as specific financial, legal or tax advice. Depending on your individual circumstances, the strategies discussed in this presentation may not be appropriate for your situation. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Always consult your legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.