How Can You Advance Your Financial Planning Career? Give the Extra 10%

In my role as an educator of financial planners, I get asked a lot of great and thought-provoking questions. Someone recently asked me a really powerful question, “How can I advance my career?

This question really made me stop and think about the best advice I could give. Every financial planner is different, so there are countless specific answers to this question. The exact advice I would give you would depend on things like your personality, work situation, motivation, and goals.

But what it all boils down to is giving that extra 10%.

Most people in the financial planning profession can do the job 80% to 90% of the way. But if you want to excel and stand out among your colleagues, you need to be willing to take your work that extra 10%.

Going Above and Beyond

What does it actually mean to go the extra 10%?

Again, the specifics will depend on your career, job, clients, and personality. But basically, it means doing everything you can to help each element of your work succeed.

For example, if you are a paraplanner, take the time to really dig into your assignments and create your best work. Focus on all the little details so that the planner you’re working with doesn’t need to make any changes once you turn it in.

You can also apply this idea to client work. Think about ways you can give a little extra to your clients to make their side of your partnership easier. Maybe that means communicating with them over the phone even if you usually prefer email. Or creating a comprehensive sample budget for a client who struggles with small details.

As your career evolves, the specifics of what it means to go the extra 10% will change. But the mindset stays the same, and that’s what matters the most.

What About Personal Boundaries?

As a financial planner, it’s important to create boundaries for yourself. Make sure you know what you are willing and not willing to do. 

Giving that extra 10% doesn’t mean that you should ignore your boundaries. But I think there are a lot of cases when you can do a little extra or take a different approach in a way that doesn’t violate those personal boundaries. And spending a little time figuring out how to do that will pay off big in your career.

Give Your Best in Your Career

For most people in this profession, I think the key to long-term career success is being willing to give that extra 10% consistently. It’s easy to do the job “most of the way,” but it takes more commitment to go the extra step and make sure you are giving the absolute best experience to each client and coworker. 

It takes some forethought to figure out how to give of yourself that way without crossing your own boundaries. But spending a little time figuring out how to do that will be hugely beneficial in your career.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to advance your career as a financial planner? Add your advice in the comments below!

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