Considering a Career Change? Make a Difference as a Financial Advisor

(BPT) - Nearly 100 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021 and 2022 as part of the 'Great Resignation,' with many making major career changes. Despite a less certain economy today, career shuffling continues. One-quarter of workers expect to change jobs in the next 12 months. If you are one of them, you can find a golden opportunity in financial advice - a field with growing demand, high earning potential and a focus on helping others achieve their goals, hopes, and dreams and build a lifetime of financial security.

You may be surprised by the independence and entrepreneurialism this career path offers - and the potential for career-changers to thrive. Tim Gerend, Chief Distribution Officer at Northwestern Mutual - a FORTUNE 100 company providing comprehensive financial planning to over five million U.S. clients through expert advisors - discusses the growing demand for financial advice, the skills and characteristics needed to succeed, and training opportunities for those looking to get started.

Why is financial advice worth a look for those exploring a career change?

First and foremost, this is a noble profession. Advisors help free people from financial anxiety and reach their life goals. Few careers are as impactful on a human level.

This industry is experiencing incredible demand. Two in three Americans believe their financial planning needs improvement. Many Gen X'ers are feeling anxious as they begin to see retirement on the horizon, and younger generations face a future with fewer pensions and uncertainty around Social Security. At the same time, much of the current advisor workforce is moving toward retirement. Moreover, there's an exciting opportunity to reach more diverse communities that have been historically underserved. Given these trends, the need for advisors is real and growing.

On a more micro level, this career offers a chance to build your own business with high earning potential. You can decide how high you want to aim based on your goals and ambition - the opportunity is limitless.

What qualities are a good fit for the job? Do you have to be a finance expert?

You have to enjoy and care about other people. Human interaction and connection are paramount in financial advice. The best advisors are also natural problem solvers. They are creative, curious, resilient and good at simplifying complex topics. Yes, you must be able to master a variety of financial concepts, but we don't expect prospective advisors to have that expertise at the outset. We look for high aptitude individuals who are eager to learn, and we provide comprehensive training to help build the financial acumen they need to flourish.

Are there certain sectors or roles that are conducive to a transition into financial advice?

Many people transition into advice from other positions in insurance and banking. We also see more professionals coming from healthcare and education. Roles that often lend themselves to this field include sales, marketing, corporate strategy and management - but at the end of the day, it's more about the individual and their desire to pursue an impactful and entrepreneurial venture.

How can people get started? Are there training programs prospective advisors must pursue first?

As a first step, sit down with an advisor and go through the planning process to understand the experience. From there, reach out to firms that interest you and look to meet with a local leader to discuss career opportunities in your area. As part of those conversations, ask about training, opportunities for hands-on practice, mentorship and joint work. Beyond on-the-job training and company-driven development opportunities, there are great certification programs offered by the CFP Board and The American College of Financial Services that I highly recommend.

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