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 Post subject: Personal Finance as a Career
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 8:15 pm 

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 8:28 pm
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I am twenty one years old and have recently fallen in love with money and personal finance. I just finished my freshman year of college with my major undeclared. With my new found passion in personal finance I am interested in exploring the field as a career. With this in mind I need to learn more about my options. What types of degrees are the most appropriate for what types of jobs. I am thinking that I would like to be something like a personal financial consultant where I can help individuals achieve there financial goals. What is the job title for a career similar to this and what degree or certification do I need to pursue to achieve this profession. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Special thanks to all who are involved in this websight. I stumbled across GRS about 6 months ago and have been a daily visitor ever since. The tips and information that I have recieved from GRS have opened my eyes to sensible personal finance and I have more controll and understanding of my finances than I have ever had. I was living a life of debt and excessive spending to the point where I was drowning in debt. Thanks to this site I have began my financial recovery and will be completely debt free by the end of the year. You all have changed my outlook on money and life. When I see my friends making the same mistakes that I use to make ,even against my warnings, I get a tremendous feeling knowing that I am on the path to succeed and will be miles ahead of the field when there lifestyle choices catch up to them. Thank you all.

Sincerelly,
Luke


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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 1:23 am 
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Location: England
I can't remember if he's a regular visitor to this forum but I'm sure that JLP at http://allfinancialmatters.com is a fee only financial planner. I'm guessing thats the sort of thing that you want to go in to, maybe he'll be able to give you some advice.

If you were in the UK, you'd be looking at becoming an Independent Financial Advisor, for which a degree is not always necessary - depending on the employer, although lots of people would probably have the equivalent of at least some community college.

I guess that good majors would be finance, math, accounting, business or something that you're really interested in - but things may be different in the US.

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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 5:04 am 
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plonkee wrote:
I can't remember if he's a regular visitor to this forum but I'm sure that JLP at http://allfinancialmatters.com is a fee only financial planner. I'm guessing thats the sort of thing that you want to go in to, maybe he'll be able to give you some advice.

If you were in the UK, you'd be looking at becoming an Independent Financial Advisor, for which a degree is not always necessary - depending on the employer, although lots of people would probably have the equivalent of at least some community college.

I guess that good majors would be finance, math, accounting, business or something that you're really interested in - but things may be different in the US.


I've never seen him here, but yes, he's a financial planner. It's probably not a bad idea to drop him a line.

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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 10:56 am 
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As is Dylan, a frequent commenter here in the forums and guest author of a couple of recent GRS articles.

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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 2:13 pm 
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I am a fee only financial planner, and you (or anyone else seeking career information) are welcome to PM me with specific questions. I don't necessarily think that you need to be a finance major to have a career in personal finance (I was a criminal justice major). Psychology, economics, and even philosophy would all be beneficial to a career geared toward helping people reach goals. Math is fairly strait forward and financial planning goes well beyond just working with numbers, it's much more about working with people. And sometimes in personal finance you'll find that the mathematically correct answer is not the right answer. Also, we have calculators and computer software that helps with the major number crunching.

If personal financial planning interests you, it may be worth seeing if you could complete the Certified Financial Planner education requirements as part of your degree requirements (see http://www.cfp.net for information about schools offering the courses), but it does not necessarily need to be your major.

There are many different directions you can go with personal finance, some clear cut, others are tricky. So the best thing to do, IMO, is to contact as many different people in the personal finance career space as you can to get their thoughts. Also check out some of the professional associations.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 4:17 pm
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Location: Up to my eyeballs!
You have a noble ambition Luke. There are many, many people who are in need of real help in managing their finances to achieve their dreams. You evidently have a good deal of knowledge and interest about money management already. Allow me to offer you an insight to a facet of the business that you may not have considered already.

I think the pros will back me up on this: Financial planning is much more of a people business than it is a money business. What I mean is: your success will be based on how well you can take your knowledge, experience and enthusiasm and translate it into a practical plan for your clients.

There’s another current GRS post about Dave Ramsey. Whether you agree with his methods, you have to admit: he knows how to motivate people, which is why he is successful. It’s the same with Suze Orman right? It’s not the ideas but the methods that have led to accomplishment.

You’re bound to be successful Luke. Just don’t lose sight of the fact financial advising is more about people than money. Good luck.

Bill


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 Post subject: I couldnt agree more
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 9:55 pm 

Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 8:28 pm
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The thought of helping people to become financially secure is the part of personal finance that I am most interested in. There is nothing that I could enjoy more than helping people find the peace and happiness that comes with financial security that I have only recently discovered. I would love the opertunity to work with people to help them achieve there goals. Becoming a financial planner seems like a good career choice for me and I feel as if my personality would help me tremendously to be successful in this field that requires good people skills. So what is my next step. What degree would I benefit the most from? What jobs should I try to work while I am finishing school? Right now I am an educational assistant which is like a teachers aid in a classroom with special education students. What is a fee only financial planner and what other type of financial planner can you be? Comission I guess? Is a fee only financial planner a Certified Financial Planner? Once certified who do you work for? Do you truly help people or are you selling them garbage that they dont need? When I read the CFP website it was saying that you needed 3 years experience before sitting for the cfp exam. What kind of job do I get or can you take the exam while you are still completing your undergrad coursework? Sorry for all of the questions but if you all can help to answer some of them I would really appreciate it. Thanks for your support.

Luke


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 5:33 am 
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Location: Up to my eyeballs!
Hmmmm …

Luke, there are many people today who are gainfully employed outside their major field of study. Take those courses that interest and inspire you now. Education sounds like an excellent choice. What will you do as a financial advisor other than teach and motivate people?

Here’s a thought though: while you’re still studying, look for employment (summer and/or part-time) in the financial realm, e.g., banking, insurance, taxes, investing, etc. Larger financial companies sometimes provide internships to students. This will give you a better perspective of what the industry is all about and potentially help you with a career path.

Bill


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 1:15 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:03 am
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Location: Taishan, Guangdong, China
Many CFPs probably do choose the brokerage or insurance route to gain experience (selling stuff) from the list, there are other options. Some less "evil" options might be credit counseling or taxes/tax planning or teaching.


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 6:06 pm 
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You can sit for the CFP exam any time after completing the course work. You will still need three years of experience before actually becoming a CFP. If you pass the exam before you have the experience, the CFP Board requires that you still complete a certain number of continuing education credits each year.

"Fee only" planners only sell advice. If a planner is not "fee only," that just means that some or all of their compensation comes from some other source. To actually practice financial planning, you have to be registered, either as a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) or as an Investment Adviser Representative (IAR), by a state government or the US Securities and Exchange Commission. This is like your license to practice financial planning. Many CFPs that work for brokerage firms are not actually allowed to practice financial planning because they and/or their firm do not have the the appropriate registration. Most of the major wirehouses do not permit their reps to become registered as investment advisers. Those brokerage employees are only allowed to offer advice if it is "incidental" to the sale of securities.

If you really want to practice financial planning, I'd suggest looking for a job with an RIA and not at a brokerage firm. Especially now, due a recent US Court of Appeals decision against the SEC, it will be even more difficult to gain meaningful experience working for a broker-dealer. I think most people go the brokerage or insurance route because they are unaware of the other options. The recruitment power of brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies is huge compared to the small, actual planning firms. If you complete the CFP course work, pass the exam but need the three years experience, you could still find a job with a planning firm as an associate planner or paraplanner while you gain experience. I think this is the best route to go if your ultimate goal is to be a practicing planner.

As for the degree you'd benefit most from, I agree with Bill, study something that interests or inspires you. Become a well rounded, educated person. I don't have any employees, but if I and when I do hire a planner it wouldn't matter if they majored in chemistry, English literature, or finance.

If you know that this is the career path you want to take, a good next step would be to start the CFP coursework. It amounts to 18 credits if you do it as part of your undergraduate degree requirements, so it could be done electives or a as minor if your school offers CFP approved courses. If not, perhaps a nearby school offers it. I believe most schools only require that your last 30 credits be from them. The CFP instructors can also offer you some career guidance and can help you begin building your career network. See if there are opportunities to intern with a planning practice near your home or school. You can also check into the Financial Planning Association's Residency Program, see http://www.fpanet.org/member/meetings/conferences/Residency/upload/52997_1.pdf


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 12:10 pm 
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Location: Portland, OR
Try an internship first to see what you really enjoy.

I also work in Personal Finance though I call my self a Personal Finance Coach rather than a Financial Advisor. I focus exclusively on the education side and do not give investment advice. I'm kind of like the anti-planner because my main goal is to teach people enough that they won't have to hire a planner but will be able to do most things on their own.

It's rewarding and I love it. I fell into it by accident. I got so frustrated hearing the same basic questions which were due to lack of education that I developed a series of classes and it's taken off from there.

Find something you love to do and it will make your life happier in the long run. I wouldn't focus your education too strictly on finance because your interests might change in the future. Take the time to explore other areas and see what you really enjoy. I didn't get into this until I was past 30. Before that I was doing Operations Consulting so you never really know what will happen or how.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 3:36 pm 
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Quote:
I also work in Personal Finance though I call my self a Personal Finance Coach rather than a Financial Advisor.


Okay, now this appeals to me. Do you have any accredation? Or are you simpy self-educated regarding the subject? I've had a couple people ask if I'd be willing to give them financial advice, but I've steered clear because I don't feel I'm qualified. I don't mind chatting about what I know and what I've read, but I'm not ready to be held accountable for what somebody thinks I may have said. I love the idea of a personal finance coach, though. That sounds like something I'd enjoy doing. I'd love to hear more about it.


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 4:05 pm 
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Location: Portland, OR
JD,

I am a bit of both. Most of my knowledge is self-taught (or learned on the job - I used to work for Vanguard), but I also have a certificate in Financial Planning from Boston University. I'm debating whether I want to get my CFP or not. Technically I don't need it because I don't currently (and don't plan to) give specific investment advice. Investing is not my passion. I'm a firm believer that most people are better off just sticking to index investing if not just Target Funds over the long run.

My personal passion is the education side. I love helping people set up goal plans or develop budgets or debt management plans. I love coming up with creative ways to do things on the cheap and much of my classes are devoted to that kind of thing. I just enjoy sharing my knowledge and there is nothing more rewarding than looking around during a presentation and seeing everyone frantically writing down what I'm saying. I know then that I'm not only impacting that person but also everyone connected to them in their future. I know, it sounds a bit cheezy but it makes me feel like I'm doing something good.

If you're interested, I'm going to be hosting some free classes over the next few months to start spreading the word about my services. You are welcome to stop by and see what it's about.

pf101


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