Retirement planners are employed by businesses such as consulting firms, brokerage houses, accounting firms, and banks. Some retirement planners are self-employed. Jobs are located throughout the country, but many personal financial planners are based in New York, California, and Florida. Numerous planners have careers in related fields such as accounting, insurance, real estate, and do consulting on a part-time basis.
Retirement planning is a specialty that takes special training and education. Many people transfer to financial planning after working in related fields. Most college graduates interested in this career would probably start at a brokerage house like Charles Schwab or Merrill Lynch earning a base salary plus commission.
If your school has a job placement program or career center, take advantage of the information and services it offers. Also, consider job fairs, newspaper wants ads—look under finance or employment recruiters. If you can get in touch with a financial planner, pick their brains on the best ways to enter the business.
Advancement in this occupation can take several forms. For some, this may mean working toward having a larger, more diverse client base. Others may consider starting their own financial consulting business.
Self-employed retirement planners need to be responsible for numerous details of running a business—accounting, insurance, overhead costs—as well as finding customer leads and referrals. Being your own boss may sound appealing, but it carries much responsibility, not to mention risk. You may first want to speak with others in the industry to weigh the pros and cons of self-employment. Those who run their own businesses advance by developing a solid reputation in the field, growing their client base, and adding more staff and office locations. Others may teach and write about the field.
Tips for Entry
Read the Journal of Financial Planning (https://www.financialplanningassociation.org/learn/journal) to learn more about the field.
Visit https://fpajobboard.org and https://www.napfa.org/careers/opportunities for job listings.
Take advantage of the Financial Planning Association’s MentorMatch program, which matches new planners with experienced professionals. Visit https://connect.onefpa.org/participate/mentormatch/aboutmentormatch for more information.
Attend the Financial Planning Association's annual conference and expo (https://www.financialplanningassociation.org/connect/events/fpa-annual-conference-2020) and other association conferences to network and participate in continuing education opportunities.