Sam, Manager of Professional Development
Although financial planning might not be a career considered by many school leavers, Sam, the National Manager of Professional Development at Deakin Financial Planning, believes that it's the right time to get into the field, as it's a profession that's likely to go from strength to strength.
What skills do you need?
In order to become a financial planner, Sam says that you'll need to be highly articulate, and good at explaining fairly complex things in understandable terms: "You will be required to explain complex pieces of legislation to people who don't know much about what you've spent years studying. You'll need to present your clients with recommendations, and go through the justifications and consequences of these recommendations so that they can make choices about their finances."
"A young person starting today really has it all lined up. The new legislation has meant we've lost some of the older players, and as more and more people become conscious of the need to invest, the demand for financial planners will increase. With compulsory superannuation, and the early retirement of the 'baby boomers', well I believe we'll have a real shortage of financial planners in 5 years time."
How do you get into financial planning?
It's quite difficult to start a business and build up a client base from scratch, so Sam recommends working with an established financial planner until you do build up a solid client base.
Sam also emphasises that high ethical standards are critical in this line of work. "When you're dealing with other people's money, and more often than not, their life savings, it's especially important to be ethical and honest."
What are some of the pros and cons?
The work of a financial planner is quite rewarding, according to Sam. "A lot of successful financial planners take Wednesday afternoons off for golf, and depending on your client base and how hard you're prepared to work, you can earn a pretty decent living!"
However, the job does have its downsides. Sam says that every time the share market takes a dive, the phone doesn't stop ringing. "People worry about how this will affect them, so you need to educate them about their investments and how these are influenced by market trends. "Sam adds that sometimes, no matter how great your plan, things still go wrong. "You've got no control over the economy!"
Any tips for new players?
And finally Sam advises, "Persevere and work hard. You must enjoy talking to people, have first class ethics and be prepared to put the client first. It won't come easy, but once you build up a good reputation, your clients will return for business and refer their friends, and things will become easier."
Find out more about a career in financial planning
Visit the myfuture website to find more about duties and tasks, work conditions, earnings and required qualifications for a career as a financial planner.
Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).