The financial services industry is broken in many ways. One that impacts both advisors and their clients is career path.
I am talking about the status quo for the financial advisor career path and would like to specifically focus on formal education and training. If you conduct a comparison of financial advisors to any other white collar professional industry such as medical professionals, lawyers, accountants, and more, you will quickly discover that the financial services industry is far from as professionalized and standardized as it should be.
The truth is that all of the other mentioned professions place education, training, and competence as their top priority. This is for a good reason. If a medical professional does not receive the appropriate education and training, they are far more likely to do harm to their patients and maybe even cause serious injury or death.
To go a step further, how many doctors, attorneys, and accountants do you know that had to start out their career by finding patients or clients to see before they could perform any services for them? Probably none. They went through an appropriate process of education and training and were likely mentored by one or more experienced professionals in a real world setting before they were responsible for autonomously sourcing any of their own patients or clients and providing those services on their own.
But the financial services industry is like the wild west when it comes to requirements and standards for education, training, and competence. It is true that in order to work and receive compensation, there are certain licensing requirements that may need to be met, most often including self-study and and exam process. I have gone through a lot of this in my career. Unfortunately, I have found that all of the licensing exams that I have studied for and taken have almost zero relevance to the real world that I operate in with clients.
Worse than that, the vast majority of our industry, especially insurance companies and wirehouses, make new advisors put on their sales hat before they are ever allowed, encouraged, or incentivized to get serious about their education and training. The truth is that most young or new prospective advisors in the industry are put on a pure commission compensation model and even if they earn some sort of a salary, it is generally small and is really only a draw against future commissions. If over a certain period of time that new advisor cannot meet their production requirements, they will either be fired or forced to quit because they cannot survive financially.
I know how true all of this is because I went through it myself. I can tell you that I saw a lot of people come and go along the way because they could not make it in this business framework. The truth is that some of them could have been excellent planners and advisors to their clients but the system prevented them from ever getting there.
Because of that I have strong ideals and a passion for taking the industry in a better, more professional direction…and if I want to be the change that I wish to see in the world, part of what I must do is pursue mastery of understanding the world of personal finance through rigorous ongoing formal and informal training. I have done some of this in the past and plan to do much more in the future. Going forward, and I want to share it all with you. I want to keep you up to date on all that I learn and how this is influencing the advice that I am giving to my clients.
So check out my most recent posts below and / or take a look at the categories that I have created if there is a particular topic that you are interested in getting perspective on. I look forward to helping you in any way that I can.