Are you just getting your financial planning career off the ground? Trying to figure out how to land your first job or whether to start your own firm? Being a young financial planner is exciting, but it can also be stressful, especially if you feel like there are hundreds of things you need to do to succeed.
Financial planning is a unique profession that can be life-changing for planners and their clients. Follow these steps to develop a fulfilling and successful career.
1. Consider your goals
If you’re brand-new to the financial planning profession, you may not know exactly what sort of job you’re looking for. Maybe you aren’t even sure exactly what it means to be a financial planner. Is it the same as being a financial advisor? Which one is better?
As you’re thinking about what sort of job to pursue, here are some other key questions to ask yourself:
- Do I want to work in an established firm?
- Do I want to start my own practice?
- Do I want to work with an experienced planner, or am I ready to take on my own clients?
- Do I want to work in a traditional office environment or have the flexibility to WFH?
- Who is my ideal financial planning client (e.g. young people, retirees)?
Taking the time to answer these questions at the beginning of your career can help you know what sort of jobs to look for and how to present yourself to potential employers.
You don’t have to know exactly what you want your entire financial planning career to look like. Chances are it will evolve throughout the years. But figuring out what you want for at least the next few years can help you avoid taking a job that isn’t right for you.
2. Think about certification
Another great question to ask yourself is whether you want to pursue your CFP® certification. You don’t necessarily have to become a Certified Financial Planner™ to work in this profession, but there are many reasons to consider doing so.
Getting your CFP® certification takes a lot of work and dedication, but it gives you the chance to drastically grow your knowledge base and improve your planning skills. Having your CFP® certification can open up new career opportunities with potential employers and clients.
3. Hone your skills
You’ve probably already learned basic financial planning skills, and you can continue to build your expertise in this area as you work with clients and/or learn from an experienced planner or mentor.
But you need more than just these technical skills. It’s vital to develop your “soft skills” as well, particularly creativity and communication. Creativity is essential in financial planning, whether you’re developing a plan for a client or deciding how to best apply your unique strengths at work.
And you need to be a good communicator too. That means being a good speaker and an active listener. Strong communication skills allow you to truly understand each client’s values and goals and offer your advice in a way that is meaningful to them.
Developing your communication and creativity skills can go a long way toward preparing you to be an impact player: someone who is willing to go the extra mile for their employer and/or client. Being an impact player means you have the confidence to offer assistance when you know you can contribute, even if it’s a project that’s outside your defined role. This type of self-motivation is the foundation of long-term success.
4. Build a resource library
There’s always more you can learn as a financial planner, so it’s important to make sure you have a great set of resources to refer to. You probably still have some of your college financial textbooks, and if you’re working toward your CFP® certification, you’ve got those materials as well.
But those aren’t the only important resources to rely on. There are countless other books, magazines, articles, and podcasts to learn from. Building up a list of go-to resources is essential when you’re starting out. It gives you the chance to get different perspectives, learn new things, and make sure you’re giving your clients the best possible experience.
5. Invest in your career
Continuing your education is important in any profession, but it’s especially vital as a financial planner. If you’re ready to take the next step, consider joining our flagship program, Amplified Planning CORE.
This unique training program gives you the chance to go beyond traditional textbooks and learn by watching real-life financial planning sessions. You get feedback and insights from experienced financial planners and a library of documents and deliverables that you can use with your own clients. Plus you can earn 20 CFP® Board standard pathway experience hours or 2 CE hours each month with Amplified Planning CORE.
Take the right steps to build your financial planning career
Financial planning is an incredibly important and fulfilling profession. It gives you a chance to truly make a difference in your clients’ lives. Before you start your own firm or take your first job, it’s essential to spend some time figuring out what you want and mastering key skills. The most important thing is to make sure you know yourself, your strengths, and your values, and to commit to honoring those with every client and colleague.
Do you have more questions about starting out as a financial planner? Or tips you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career? Let me know in the comments below!
One of the best ways to hone your craft as a financial planner is to learn from others. The Amplified Planning community is a fantastic place to get advice and encouragement from other planners. Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more essential tips and access to our online forum. When you’re ready to take the next step in your training, check out the Amplified Planning CORE program.