What Is a financial professional?
When people hear the term financial services, they may focus more on the “financial” and less on the “services.” But financial services is truly a services profession, seeking to serve those who need financial guidance. And there truly is a need. Nearly eight in ten Americans are stressed out, with financial worries near the top of the list. Men and women of all ages report feeling overwhelmed and uncertain they can live within their means.1
Financial professionals understand the toll that money worries can take on people’s financial and emotional confidence and well-being. They see it every day in their work so they are skilled in helping people address these concerns and setting up a manageable plan of action.
What do financial professionals do?
The simplest definition is this: a financial professional helps people anticipate and manage the financial aspect of major life events. From birth to death, and every point in between (first home, children, college, disability, retirement), a financial professional guides people to both short- and long-term decisions that will help them achieve their goals, protect their assets, save more effectively and gain greater life satisfaction.
“I become very involved in my clients' personal situations in order to make the proper recommendations,” says Jeff Howard, a financial advisor with Consolidated Planning Inc.2 in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I get to know them personally, and it’s rewarding to see how your work can improve a client's well-being.”
What does it take to be a financial professional?
There is no predetermined set of skills required. At Guardian, we have three core values that set the tone for our culture and how we work with our clients:
- We do the right thing.
- People count.
- We hold ourselves to very high standards.
While financial professionals are skilled in the nuts and bolts of financial management, the real differentiator is the ability to understand the needs of your client. So, you don’t have to be an accountant, but you have to believe in being accountable to your clients, above all else. You don’t need a degree in finance, but you should possess a high degree of empathy and above-average listening skills. You don’t have to be a whiz at explaining complex interest rates, but you need a genuine interest in understanding and solving people’s problems.
For many Guardian financial professionals, the desire to help others was the spark that led to their careers. “I always wanted a career that creates value for people,” says Carolyn Sheffey, a financial advisor with White Rhino Financial, LLC.3 in Fort Worth, Texas. “Serving others and helping them obtain financial freedom is what gets me up every morning.”
Personal and community connections
A financial professional is deeply embedded in the everyday challenges and long-term goals of their clients. As relationships develop over the years, financial professionals are naturally drawn into major events in their clients’ lives, such as developing long-term insurance plans at a child’s birth, planning the details of college funding and exploring options for retirement income.
“My clients have become great friends of mine. This career has given me the ability to meet people that I never would have met,” says Ms. Sheffey.
Our financial professionals also volunteer their time and skills to educational, social and environmental efforts in their local communities — such as helping college students learn how to manage their own finances and plan for their educational and financial futures.
A life-changing career
Guardian financial professionals enjoy the flexibility of being entrepreneurs who run their own businesses, while being backed by the financial strength, structure and support of a Fortune 250 company. They’re empowered to make decisions and set up their practices in ways that make sense for their needs and those of their clients. In addition, they ‘re encouraged to step up into leadership roles and guide new professionals.
“I have learned so much about myself and my team members because of the entrepreneurial nature of the business,” says Ms. Sheffey. “You have the flexibility to have a tremendous work-life balance, one that is very hard to come by in today’s tough work world.”
If you are motivated by challenging work and a desire to help others, a career as a financial professional could be the next move for you. Click here to learn more.