With nearly 20,000 new jobs expected over the next decade, personal financial professionals are solidly in the “hot professions” column, according to MassMutual (Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company).
Noting that when looking for a new job or simply a change of pace, choosing a profession or industry in high demand is a great way to jump-start the process, it says this leap in opportunities represents a 7% acceleration, faster than the average growth of all other occupations.
To put the demand in perspective, U.S. News & World Report recently ranked personal financial professionals among the top 10 in its list of 2019 Best Business Jobs.
Is a career as a financial professional right for you?
The most successful and fulfilled financial professionals are typically drawn to the profession because they have a passion for helping others. For example, Lalit Jallan, CLTC®, LUTCF, a MassMutual financial professional in the Houston area has been helping clients prepare for the future and avoid financial hardships for over 20 years.
“My grandfather died when my grandmother was 35-years-old and had five children,” explained Jalan. “Life insurance was not available where they lived in Punjab, India, so she had to work three jobs. She managed the best she could, but it wasn’t easy. Both her story and encouragement inspire me every day,” Jallan says.
Beyond helping people, there are many other reasons to become a financial professional. Financial professionals also enjoy the freedom and flexibility that goes along with building a practice. Because they are ultimately responsible for their outcomes, people with a high degree of professional drive and an entrepreneurial spirit tend to do well.
“With the right firm, you can run your own business without the risks other entrepreneurs assume,” according to Devang Patel, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, LUTCF, a MassMutual financial professional in the greater New York area.
His advice? Ask questions before taking the plunge.
To ensure the greatest degree of personal and professional fulfillment from your career as a financial professional, aligning yourself with the right firm is critical, Patel says, adding that to determine whether a firm is right for you, consider asking these questions: Will you have both autonomy and support? Will the firm encourage you to run your business the way you want while also offering resources and support if needed? Does it provide training, expertise, helpful technology, and marketing support?
“Because every client presents unique needs, it’s comforting to know you are not alone. There are qualified professionals who are armed with resources and willing to help you succeed with just a phone call or mouse click away,” Patel emphasizes.
What’s the firm’s reputation?
It’s easier to gain market acceptance when backed by a company clients already know and trust. Conversely, one doesn’t want to have to apologize for a company’s shortcomings. Independent rating agencies, like Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, can help one assess a company’s financial strength and stability.
Patel advises to also determine whether working with a stock or a mutual company would best serve your clients. Keep in mind, stock companies ultimately report to shareholders while mutual companies report to their owners or policyholders.
Does the company address the needs of underserved markets?
Multicultural markets historically are underserved by the financial services industry. Only a handful of companies have made inroads into understanding and addressing culturally diverse financial planning.
If you’re interested in multicultural markets, assess the commitment and dedication the company has made to your market. “My company’s multicultural research and insights on important topics such as the dynamics of families, those saving for college, and business owners help me understand the market’s needs and refine my approach,” Patel added.
Does the firm share your values?
While social responsibility and corporate philanthropy are not required business practices, they speak to a company’s values and commitment to the community. Besides looking into the causes, the company/firm supports, find out if they also encourage a professional’s individual efforts. Financial professionals can give back to their communities by providing educational seminars, serving as experts on non-profit boards, administering scholarship programs, and even offering a free life insurance program.
To do so, however, you need to work with a company that views community involvement as a productive and meaningful use of your time and talent.
No matter your career path, the company or firm you affiliate with play a significant role in your ability to succeed. Never shortchange yourself. Make sure to take the time to discover how the company can help you achieve your professional, financial and personal goals.