Logical place to start.. Let’s cover off a few misconceptions at the same time.
Financial Planning was once about being a salesman. Selling financial products and persuading people to buy whatever investment you were tasked with selling.
Over the last 10 years being a Financial Planner has moved in the direction of other professionals, such as Solicitors and Accountants… with an increased qualifications required and a ban on commissions.
As the old world dies out, there is a fantastic opportunity for new entrants to be part of the continued progress. Done properly, Financial Planning opens up possibilities and changes lives. You have the change to change peoples lives for the better, not just for the people you server but for their families and often beyond.
I grew up on a council estate in the north east, the only part I my life money played was being something we didn’t have! My GCSE and A levels were bang average (nothing higher than a C in any subject!) and I didn’t go to Uni. I stumbled into work for an insurance company, and gradually worked my way to being part of a financial advice firm.
There, sitting in on client meetings and seeing both care for what was important to client as well as expert technical knowledge being applied for their benefit the torch was lit for me.
Starting as an administrator I got a feeling for how things need to be delivered to a client for them to have a great experience. I built my technical knowledge through exams and made it to be a paraplanner, supporting the advisers with their recommendations.
The paraplanner is one of the most important people in a firm and a paraplanner at the top of their game will likely be the most technically astute person in the office.. yes I’m including the Financial Planners in that.
But for me I wanted to have the deeper relationship with clients that is afforded to the Financial Planner.
And this is the real magic of being a Financial Planner. You are in a highly privileged position, gaining insights into some of the most personal areas in a clients life which often they will not have shared this information with more than 1-2 people in the world as you look to guide their future.
After checking over any new emails and either filing, quickly dealing with them, or adding them to the to-do list the day really begins.
I am a self employed and still growing the number of families I work with, so I start most days with marketing. I will engage with and add a post of my own to my social network most days to stay front of people’s minds.
Once that’s done I have a couple of review meetings to book in, so a quick call to those clients to get a date in the diary and see if there is anything important they want to add to the agenda so I can prepare.
Then it is into the gritty stuff. I do my own paraplanning unless I am swept off my feet, in which case I will use an outsourced paraplanning firm for some help as needed. I met with two clients recently who have big plans for the future, including moving home and giving money to their kids, and they have no idea how they are going to afford to do it. Or even if they can afford to do it.
So I will be getting stuck into their report for a good few hours today, bringing together all of the things they hope they can do, with planning knowledge to arrange everything as efficiently as possible to do what is needed.
Its mid afternoon when I am done, and my brain is frazzled. So I will take care of any admin that I have, this will often be checking and forwarding forms completed by clients, typing up meeting notes from the weeks meetings or anything else that pops up on the to do list.
It is vital to keep your technical knowledge up to date, its amazing how quick it tails off once you aren’t sitting exams anymore, so the last half an hour of the day tends to be Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for me.
We have to achieve a minimum of 35 hours CPD each year to be able to continue as a practicing adviser, but keeping on top of technical developments, tax rules and updates from the regulator will take much more than 35 hours!
With the industry constantly evolving, there are always new ways of doing things. If you are prepared to immerse yourself into the world of financial planning you will get so much back from it. There are a whole army of new entrants into the industry, all with fantastic new perspectives either from other industry experience, or just from a new way of looking at things.
As you start your journey, I would encourage you to join adviser communities, find others local to you – either who are in the same boat as you and hungry to learn, or connect with more experienced advisers who could act as a mentor for you. Surrounding yourself with good, positive people who also want the best for clients is a sure fire way to ensure your progress.
Chris is a Financial Planner and Paraplanner at Ajax Wealth Management.
You can learn more about Chris and his role as a paraplanner role by watching his video below.
Read our Financial Planner Role Profile for information on salary expectations, entry requirements, exams, and where to look for vacancies.
Read another insightful article on ‘A Day in the Life of a Financial Planner’ to find out more about information about the Financial Planner role.
Read the inspiring article ‘From Sports Person to Financial Planner’ to find out more about information, tips and advise about Financial Planning and changing careers.