Provided by Moshe Alpert
Throughout my career, I have written extensively on many aspects of financial planning. In this article, I would like to shift gears and to talk more about the career of being a financial planner and financial advisor.
In deciding my career path, I had a very general idea of what I would like to spend my life doing. I had many questions:
What would I enjoy doing on a daily basis? What am I passionate about? How can I create for myself a path that is enjoyable and fulfilling, and that would also provide a healthy living? Will my career create a healthy life-work balance? Will it allow for me to live a good Jewish life?
I am also a person who likes to set his feet down and commit without jumping about, so I needed to make sure that my decision was well thought-out. And of course, prayer and realization of a Higher Power were necessary in my decision.
I was passionate about people and finance, so financial planning sounded like a good fit. But I still wasn’t sure. So, I attended Touro College’s career fair and interviewed with every company, from accounting firms to banks to not-for-profits. Sure enough, the only company to get back to me was Northwestern Mutual, a premier financial services firm based out of Milwaukee.
And, as they say, it was “off to the races.”
Starting a career as a financial representative is challenging. It is a commission-based position and requires you to work hard to establish your clientele. Salary caps we have heard of, but not performance caps. In this position, you get compensated on performance. It is in your hands. The advantage? The sky is the limit. With G-d’s help, I was able to build a practice in a very professional manner. With great training and a tremendous amount of resources from Northwestern Mutual, I was able to start building something significant. Once you get over the “hump,” your job becomes extremely rewarding and fulfilling, both on a financial and personal level.
In the beginning, your main goal is to arrange as many meetings as possible. At this point, your knowledge of finance is from company training and/or college classes. Being on the field is a whole different experience! Like I said, you are working with people. People have very specific needs and personalities, and it is our job to help them achieve their goals. These planning skills are learned through a senior mentor who is there to train you through observation. My recommendation is to not do any meetings alone for at least 3-4 months into the career.
Once things get off the ground, your days are filled with relationship building. People start coming to you for their insurance needs, they may start investing with you, or they may just ask for your general financial advice. Like any business, you start small. I would tell anyone that a good career is not a sprint. It is a marathon that is built over time. Slowly but surely, your client base grows both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Once you have moved past the beginning stages, your career begins to “flow.” Clients start coming to you with more advanced planning needs. And so is the general path for hopefully many years in a wonderful and impactful career.
One constant throughout my career is that one must not forget that you are dealing with people’s money. Second to health, this must be held in high regard and receive the utmost care. Every decision you help your clients through could have an impact in their future. These are extremely important matters that must be dealt with carefully. In addition, having the right product or plan is not the only thing that should be considered. You must clearly communicate with the client so they begin to trust you and feel good about the planning they’re doing with you. There is no point in overly stressing a client, it is not constructive. There is a delicate balance between guiding the client to act and being too aggressive.
Looking back, being a financial advisor has checked all the boxes for what I was looking for in my career path. Although challenging at first, it has proved to be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
If you would like to find out more about the career and to have a personal conversation, feel free to contact Moshe at 718-644-1594 and email@example.com.
Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) and its subsidiaries. Moshe Nison L Alpert, is an Insurance Agent of NM. Investment brokerage services provided as a Registered Representative of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS), a subsidiary of NM, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and member FINRA (www.finra.org) and SIPC (www.sipc.org). Northwestern Mutual Financial Representatives are Independent Contractors whose income is based solely on production. Commissions, fees and bonuses are subject to change.