Today’s guest blog comes from Missy Pohlig, CFP™. Missy Pohlig is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) who has spent her entire professional career working in financial services. As a relationship manager at Thrive Wealth Management, she is passionate about utilizing her expertise to deliver holistic financial planning and exceptional service to our clients.
Before joining the Thrive team, Missy was the Director of NextGen Services at SEI responsible for identifying issues impacting financial advisors and developing solutions to help clients run better businesses. She oversaw many programs and coached hundreds of financial advisors during her time at SEI on everything from process efficiency, technology, succession planning, to financial planning.
If you would’ve told me 10 years ago that I’d be sitting here working as a Certified Financial Planner™, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. But here I stand today, and I truly couldn’t be happier. In looking back on the long, convoluted journey (which I won’t bore you with today) that got me here, it does beg the question of why I wasn’t drawn to this profession sooner. In fact, whenever I connect with other young planners, their back stories are always the same – that they fell into this career track just by chance or through a random connection.
The point is:
No young person ever aspires to be a financial advisor when they grow up.
In borrowing on my own experiences, I hope to shed some light on how we can turn this around to truly engage and attract young professionals to our industry.
Become a better story teller
With all the negative media that always surrounds our industry, the best way to combat that is through our own word-of-mouth marketing. People always hear the stories about Ponzi scandals or sales people ripping off clients, but they rarely hear about the success stories in this line of business. Next time someone asks about your job or how work is going, make a concerted effort to tell anonymous stories about how you’ve made a real impact in your clients’ lives.
I’m talking about stories like that time you gave your client the relief of knowing that they have enough resources to support their child with special needs over her lifetime, or that time you helped a client feel more financially independent and in control after a divorce, or that moment when you gave your client the comfort of knowing that they can finally retire after nearly 40 years.
Not only do stories like these help to disprove any misperceptions about this profession, but they also help demonstrate that this is not just a sales role where you’re pushing product and making commission. So make a concerted effort to become a better story teller. You never know who is listening, perhaps a prospective young planner or someone with a connection to your next new hire.
Think outside the box
Just because someone doesn’t work in the financial services industry or doesn’t have all the required licenses or designations, doesn’t mean that they aren’t a potential recruit for this industry. Think outside the box and know that prospective financial planners can really come from anywhere. Regardless of their background, we should be looking to recruit the best and the brightest to this profession. Look for those with the right type of entrepreneurial spirit and try to spark their interest by (again) telling stories about what it’s like work in your line of business.
If you’re actively trying to hire a young planner, look for those people with aligned values and work ethic, and don’t worry so much about the specifics of their background or degrees. Talk about the work you do and the culture within your firm. If it resonates, then that (to me, at least) is just as good a candidate as the recent grad from a formal CFP program. The technical side of this business, though it takes time, can be learned. The softer side of this business when it comes to people skills, strong work ethic, and relationship management, cannot be learned.
If you’ve identified a young, prospective planner who you might want to hire, the best way to engage them is by truly being open about your business. Lay it all out there. Be completely transparent about your process in working with clients and how you get compensated. Make it a point to vocalize your firm’s growth goals.
Be specific about what revenue or AUM targets you want to hit and how you intend to achieve those objectives. Take time to explain the team structure and the breakdown of roles and responsibilities in order to give them a sense of what the day-to-day is like. The more information you divulge about your business, the better chance you have for engaging the individual by helping them to envision what it might look like to work on your firm and to contribute to your team.
Don’t keep it a secret
The financial planning profession (as all of you already know) is one of the best kept secrets out there. However, if we ever want to recruit and attract young professionals to this industry, we can’t hold it a secret any longer. Practice some of these ideas and help further the cause, because this profession cannot sustain over the long-term without the next generation of financial advisors.