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Changing Careers? Consider Financial Planning

By: Kaplan Financial Education
June 30, 2020
Career Change to Financial Planning

If you are thinking about a career change, consider financial planning. Based on a composite of responses in the 2020 Survey of Trends in the Financial Planning Industry, which was recently published by the College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company, a sizable majority of respondents are satisfied with their careers. This article explains what financial planning is, why it might be a good career change, and how you can make the change.

About Financial Planning

Professionals in the financial planning field help clients with investment decisions, taxes, and selecting insurance policies and retirement plans. They work with their clients to create comprehensive plans for meeting their long-term personal financial goals, such as retirement, college tuition, business startup, a home, and so on. While no two days will ever be the same, much of the job involves meeting with clients, analyzing financial information, and researching new opportunities. The most recent data from The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. estimates that the employment of financial planners could grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

Career Changers

Answers to the questions about why respondents became financial planners indicate that about one-third wanted a career change. Twelve percent say they started in some other aspect of finance or banking and moved into their current role or decided it was a smart career move. One respondent said, “I worked in banking for 28 years, and it led me to where I am today as a Financial Paraplanner. I enjoy what I do, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

Another 6 percent of respondents say that they were looking for a major career change. One respondent told us this: “I wanted a career that had meaning behind it. I was in the music industry and so thankful I found my way to this industry.”

An additional 5 percent of survey participants say they were job hunting or “desperate to find a job.” One said, “Luck; I needed a job and was knocking on business doors with my resume. I knocked on the door of a financial advisor." Another said, “Hunger. Needed a job, 40 years ago." As you can see, financial planning has staying power as a career. According to survey responses, the average time in the profession is 14 years. Also, 28 percent of the participants were 55 years old or older.

Before You Commit to Financial Planning as a Career Change

Before you jump into financial planning, we advise you to work your way through these five steps for a smooth and successful transition:

  1. Ask yourself why: Create a list of reasons why you want to change careers and why financial planning appeals to you, along with what motivates you. According to the survey, a passion for helping people and an interest in finance or financial planning are two necessary qualities.
  2. Research financial planning: Personal financial planners, financial advisors, wealth managers, asset managers, and other similar roles are all part of financial planning. Learn as much as you can about each to get a sense of which role appeals to you.
  3. Informally interview people in financial planning: Learn from others in the field. Use contacts, LinkedIn, and online research to find people who may be willing to talk with you about whether this is an industry you would like to enter.
  4. Build relationships with financial planning contacts: Look for networking and Meetup groups and attend their events. Join LinkedIn groups and participate in discussions. These activities will help you build a solid list of contacts.
  5. Inventory your current skills: Before you decide that your experience does not relate to financial planning, remember the person who was in the music industry and switched. If you have experience working with customers, have made your own financial plan, or have a deep interest in finance topics, you have enough to get started. There is education to help you fill the other gaps.

How to Become a Financial Planner

Because financial planning is such a broad field, the steps for landing a job in a given role can differ. However, these three basic tips can apply to many different roles:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree: Many practicing financial planners majored in some type of business or finance program.
  • Find an entry-level finance job: Consider looking on job websites, and make sure you are prepared if you are asked for an interview.
  • Earn the necessary licenses and consider certification: Earning the CFP® mark can help you specialize or differentiate yourself from your competition. If the role you want involves selling securities or insurance, you’ll need a license.

Ready to Make the Switch?

If a job in financial planning seems like a good fit for your career change, the College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company can help you learn more and get started.

CFP Course 101 cover text

Free eBook: Is CFP® Certification Right for You?

Are you considering CFP® certification, but are unsure if you can handle it? Get a sneak peak at the beginning of the College for Financial Planning®a Kaplan Company education program to get a feel for whether CFP® certification is the right fit for you. This free eBook will provide you with information about the financial planning process learned in FP 511: General Financial Planning Principles, Professional Conduct, and Regulation. It also includes several analytical problems that will allow you to apply your knowledge to real-life scenarios.