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Top Tips for Young Financial Advisors

Aspiring financial advisors may find that time is on their side. The average age of people working in the profession in the United States is 57, according to J.D. Power.

That suggests there are going to be plenty of job opportunities in the wealth management industry for young talent over the next decade or so. Here are some tips on how to set yourself apart from other candidates, build a decent client book, and advance up the career ladder.

Key Takeaways

  • If you're interested in finance and helping people to manage their money better, a career as a financial advisor could be the right choice for you.
  • You'll need to put in lots of work, not just to get a job but also to get a decent number of clients on your books.
  • Being super qualified and keeping abreast of developments can definitely help.
  • It's also important to hone your people skills, get out and about, use plain English, and ask the right questions.

Study, Study, Study

To get interviews and stand out from the crowd, having the bare minimum of qualifications to practice as a financial advisor probably won't be enough. When you've got the time and are in the rhythm of studying, try to rack up as many qualifications as you can. And, once you have them, never forget the importance of staying on top of changes, whether that be regulation, technology, or products available. The more you know, the better you can help your clients.

"Get chartered and/or certified level qualifications asap," said David Gibson, a financial advisor based in Northern Ireland. “It demonstrates to clients the highest level of technical competence and will be what employers are looking for. From a practical point of view, it’s tempting to sit back once you’ve achieved a certain level. But once you’re in the ‘studying for exams’ zone just keep going and get the qualification—it’s much harder to get back into the exam mindset after a prolonged break from study.”

Young advisors should always be reading books and articles, taking online training courses, volunteering with professional organizations, and securing new educational credentials to continue enhancing their value to both clients and employers.

Find a Niche

Being different from the competition is important. There is demand for advisors but that doesn't mean competition isn't rife. Having a niche could help separate you from others looking to get a job and bag you more clients.
"I would lean into what sets you apart," said Joshua Nash, a Chartered MCSI based in Dubai. "It could be that, as a young advisor, you have a greater understanding of influencer finances and sponsorship deals and you can make this your niche, as an example."

Focus on the Counsellor/Coach Elements of the Job

Plenty of people become financial advisors because they are interested in finance. However, if it's just finance you're interested in, you're probably best suited for another job. The financial advisor profession is a people job. You're going to be spending your days talking to people. And that's important to master if you're ever going to succeed.

The technical/investment piece of my job is relatively small when compared to the amount of time spent discussing with clients what’s important to them and how to use their money to optimize their lifestyle," said Gibson. "In my experience, once you’ve been through coaching and counseling as an advisor/planner you are better equipped to have conversations with clients about what matters to them. The investment element could potentially be done quite easily by artificial intelligence (AI) in the future but getting out of clients what’s important to them is key to developing a financial plan for their future and I’m less convinced that AI could do that well.”

Ask the Right Questions

Financial advisors set themselves apart by connecting with clients on a personal level. You can't do a good job if you don't fully understand the needs of the people you're serving.
Minesh Patel, a chartered financial planner based in England, stresses the importance of getting to really know clients and their lifestyles. "The assets and income support and facilitate their lifestyle and this should be at the forefront of an advisors focus," he said. Asking the right questions is an important part of the job. "Move the conversation on to the why and not the how," said Nash. "Ask great questions to get an understanding of what the client needs from you. Your aim here is to uncover the emotional triggers that lead them to this point."

One of the best ways to become a top advisor is to learn from those more experienced. “Spend time watching and observing experienced advisors to develop soft skills, including conversation themes," said Patel.

Socialize

Having the ability to get new clients isn't just about being good at your job. You also need to be known and accessible. When people talk about financial advisors, you want your name to be mentioned. And reaching that status requires putting in some extra hours.

"Whether it be a religion, charity, walking, sports, or volunteering, be a part of a group where you are known as the "go-to financial advisor," said Nash. "You can build genuine relationships and it’s a great way to break down a lot of trust barriers people have with financial advisors."

Speak in Plain English

New entrants may try to compensate for their lack of experience by trying too hard to prove they know the ins and outs of finance. The thing is, jargon and technical language don't come across as intelligent. Those who really know their subject matter are able to express it in simple, easy-to-understand terms.
“There is a temptation to over-share your technical knowledge or jargon to compensate for the fact you may be newly qualified or just young in age," said Nash. "This will come across that you are insecure and won't gain the trust of your prospective client, who already assumes you have the required knowledge/skills/qualifications.”

Enjoy the Job

Starting a new career can be stressful. However, it's important you don't lose your enthusiasm and wake up every morning with a smile. Being happy is a nicer way to live. And it will help you out more than may think in your job.

"Your work will be infinitely better executed if you enjoy the process of becoming a first-class financial planner," said Patel. "People like to work with people who bring enjoyment and joy to others.”

Why Are There So Many Financial Advisor Jobs?

Financial advisors are in demand because the stresses of the job lead to a fair amount of turnover and because a lot of people require advice on managing their finances. The average age of the profession also contributes a bit. Many financial advisors are in their late 50s and closing in on retirement.

How Can I Succeed as a Financial Advisor Just Starting Out?

Veterans of the financial services business will tell you that the first and most difficult task is to build a book of clients. You might consider using your youth as an asset. Many financial advisors go for a niche clientele. Your niche might be people like you: young, well-paid professionals just beginning to build long-term wealth.

Do I Have to Be Tech-Savvy to Be a Financial Advisor?

These days, a financial advisor is expected to be adept at the software packages most commonly used by advisors and their savviest clients, like MoneyGuidePro and eMoneyPro. Moreover, you need to be looking ahead to see what's coming that can give you and your clients an edge.

The Bottom Line

If you're interested in finance and helping people to manage their money better, then becoming a financial advisor represents an attractive career path. There's plenty of demand in this field and the pay is usually decent, too.
It is also competitive, though. Getting your foot in the door and building a client base requires plenty of effort. To have a decent chance of succeeding, you need to come up with ways to differentiate yourself, be super accessible, socialize, develop people skills, take a real interest in clients, ask the right questions, refrain from using jargon, and go to work with a smile.
Article Sources
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  1. J.D. Power. "."
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