For financial professionals just embarking on—or restarting—their career as a financial advisor or planner I have some advice to lend,… Read More
What Financial Firms Need to Hear from a Next Gen Planner
• Sasha Grabenstetter • May 5, 2022
The financial advisory profession is not immune to the more widespread talent challenges employers are faced with today, such as labor shortages and team representation that better aligns with the diverse backgrounds and needs of the markets being served.
The future growth of financial advisor talent has come under increased spotlight against the backdrop of aging workforce demographics. According to an estimate from Cerulli Associates1, one-third of the financial advisor workforce is retiring over the next decade.
In addition, there’s a lot of work to be done by wealth management firms to create more diverse and inclusive environments where everyone feels welcome. To collectively improve this, financial firms must find ways to build bridges with the next generation of the financial planner workforce.
Next Generation Financial Planner
I had an opportunity to connect with an incoming financial professional, Linda Olvera, who sits on the eMoney Student Advisory Board, to discuss her career aspirations and expectations of the industry at large.
This advisory group supports our efforts with the eMoney University Program, which aims to develop the next generation of financial professionals by providing college students who are pursuing a financial planning degree with training on the eMoney platform as part of their curriculum.
Linda Olvera is currently a student at the University of Georgia. She is achieving a master’s program in financial planning.
Financial Planning as a Helping Profession
What comes to the forefront when asked why she chose to pursue financial planning as a career is the fulfillment from helping or taking care of others. For those looking to serve others, the field of financial planning is an excellent fit.
For Linda, money was a stressor while growing up. She recognized how money was very much an integral part of society, impacting both everyday activities and long-term choices. Pursuing financial planning will allow her to help others address how finances can be less worrisome and assist people to live more fulfilling lives through better money management.
And while she was aware of the role of a financial advisor, like many others, she had associated the profession with a demographic she did not identify with, who was focused on serving only the wealthy.
However, Linda sees that the financial services industry is evolving and there is a lot of opportunity within financial planning to increase financial literacy to a wider audience. Her motivation to pursue financial planning draws from her desire to be the change as a minority female, and to shift the stigma of who a financial advisor is and who can be served.
Internships and the Importance of Gaining Experience and Exposure
The initial path for Linda into the financial planning curriculum wasn’t always clear cut. While educational programs in financial planning have grown tremendously and become more widely available, this area of study sit may sit outside or adjacent to the business school and the broader area of finance. A professional experience—an internship or an externship—is a program requirement at many colleges as it helps students gain real-world exposure into the avenues they may enjoy most within financial services.
For eight weeks last summer Linda was a financial planning intern at a trust company—an experience she hopes to revisit this summer. Her experience really married the financial planning process she was learning in the classroom with how to onboard and work with clients. She was also introduced to topics she hadn’t yet encountered in her curriculum—such as estate planning—and a different financial planning software than what was being used during her courses.
Linda’s master’s program also focuses on the behavioral side of financial planning and has given her a window into other career opportunities, such as financial therapy. It has been these valuable experiences and networking opportunities where Linda has seen firsthand the different avenues of the financial planning profession.
Amplifying Experience with Additional Education and Industry Certifications
Gaining practical experience in the internship setting was vital for Linda. As a student soon to be entering the profession, she sees that her greatest limitation can sometimes be age and experience level.
Many university education programs are setting students up for eligibility to complete a requirement of the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM designation accredited by the CFP Board. In addition to her degree, Linda sees the added benefit that the credentials could bring to her and her future clients.
Recent grads may lack confidence, and sometimes clients can associate a younger advisor or planner as lacking the life experience necessary to dole out financial advice. Because gaining clients’ trust and building a book of business will be a challenge, the designations are an opportunity for students to further develop themselves and show the dedication to truly serve.
What She Seeks in Future Financial Services Employers
Opportunities for growth and development are certainly top of mind for young talent and especially this aspiring planner. Linda would like to land in an environment that supports her efforts towards professional development—whether that is assistance towards industry certifications and designations, or the chance to attend conferences for education and networking.
And while Linda is still unsure about her ultimate path in the profession, a firm’s service model and culture are high on her list of considerations. She is looking for employers who are mindful about managing their own employees’ mental health and work-life balance within the profession.
I hope the insights shared from this bright and hopeful student shed some light on what’s top of mind to next generation talent and how to improve industry-wide growth in the financial planning and advisory profession.
For more tips on how technology can play a role in the talent strategy for your firm, especially for next generation financial planning talent, check out our eBook Retaining Talent and Growing Your Enterprise with Financial Planning Technology.
1 Thrasher, Michael. “The Wave of Advisor Retirements Is About to Break.” RIAIntel, 5 February, 2020.
DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.
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