Q&A: Mid-Career Switch - Financial Consultants

Question: I’m feeling very unfulfilled in my current job. Can I make a mid-career switch to become a financial consultant?

Answer: Perhaps the lifestyle of a ‘banker’ in tailored suits and slick silk ties has caught your fancy – or you want a ‘click-clack’ rhythm as the elegant lady in pristine, four-inch stilettos.

But to answer your question – of course you can! In fact, many financial consultants were already on to their second or third careers when they made the career switch.

And if you’re caught in a dead-end job with a monster for a boss and meaningless drudgery for work, the idea of earning a substantial amount of commission can seem like heaven in comparison.

The esteemed profession goes by many names, including financial planners and financial advisors, but they all have a common goal – assisting their clients in retirement planning, planning for their children’s university funding, estate planning and other general investments.

Understanding Financial Consultants

In the past, the financial marketplace was all about specialisation – insurance agents who sold life insurance, stockbrokers who pitched individual stocks and bonds, and bankers who offered customers security with safe-deposit boxes. But the distinctions to those traditional professions have since been blurred, and multi-faceted financial consultants are required to wear numerous hats to effectively do their jobs in the modern economy.

No doubt, the profession brings with it a fair amount of challenges. But if you are able to build your network and rise above tough waters, then the rewards in this career path can be promising. Here are some things you should expect.

Build Your Network – As a financial consultant, constantly expanding your customer base and network is crucial to your success. By spreading referrals from satisfied clients to prospective ones through word-of-mouth, the likelihood of clinching your next big deal becomes higher. Whether it’s attending seminars and roadshows, signing up for investment classes, or simply by cold-calling (think pesky telemarketer with overly-enthusiastic phone mannerisms), build your network you must.

You Make Your Own Schedule – If you feel that regular clock-punching eats into you, you’d be pleased to know that financial consultants are given more liberty in their schedules.

Clients are usually keen on meeting with you once their regular 9am-5pm hours are over – thus the freedom to run your own errands in the morning! On the flip side, this would also mean trudging through appointments late into the night and even sacrificing your weekends. After all, your schedule works around your clients’ schedule, which can seem quite counterintuitive at times.

It’s All on You – When you are in the (grave) position of managing people’s money, the inevitable sandbag of pressure is never far away. If there is a downturn in the investment market and your client’s portfolio goes down by 10 per cent, you will feel responsible for the effect – even if your client doesn’t blame you for it. But you assist your clients in fulfilling their goals, and the satisfaction derived from a mere “Thank You” is immeasurable. In fact, as you journey with these clients, they often move on to becoming your friends!

Financially Rewarding – The first few years might be hard and you are bound to be in shambles as you struggle to find your footing and build your network from scratch, especially if you have had no prior experience. But hard work breeds prosperity and a financial consultant’s profession does pay well, when you manage to hit the nail in the head and do it right!

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