Do you know what being a financial professional entails?
What picture springs to mind when you consider a career as a financial professional? Complicated spreadsheets, a towering stack of folders and long hours at a desk? Or, is it sitting and talking with people about their hopes, challenges and dreams? If your vision is closer to the second scenario, you’re on the right track. Sure, financial professionals spend time crunching numbers, but it’s more about getting to know clients — individuals, families, business owners — and providing guidance and education that helps them achieve their financial goals. And the best way to know more about the expectations and day-to-day duties of the profession is to hear it from the financial professionals themselves.
Financial professionals come from all backgrounds, from recent college grads to professionals seeking more rewarding work. While no financial or accounting degree is required, providing effective financial guidance requires analytical skills and tools, and we’re renowned in the industry for the quality of its professional training. In fact, we've been recognized as one of Training magazine’s Training Top 125 for multiple consecutive years1.
“Training, tools and support from Guardian are equal to or better than anything I’ve seen in the marketplace,” says Jeff Howard, a financial professional with Consolidated Planning Inc. in Charlotte, North Carolina.2 “They have made a tremendous difference in my practice, enabling me to deliver the best possible solution to my clients.”
Carloyn Sheffey of Rethink Wealth in Fort Worth, Texas agrees.3 “There are programs for all stages in a financial professional career. Everyone at Guardian wants you to reach your full potential as a producer and as a person.”
Building your own business
Financial professionals balance their time between serving existing clients and gaining new ones. Ms. Sheffey focuses her practice on working with physicians and dentists. She immerses herself in the needs of that community and hosts three to four educational sessions each month specifically geared to providing value for medical professionals.
“The entrepreneurial nature of our business requires a lot of hard work, especially in the beginning,” says Ms. Sheffey. “But if you take the time to build your client base early, it will pay off in the years that follow.”
Mr. Howard takes a similar approach, developing community “centers of influence” — such as property and casualty insurers, attorneys, bankers, and CPAs — and creating comprehensive services for those niche markets.
A day in the life of a financial professional
“Every day is different and never boring,” says Ms. Sheffey. “I structure my own schedule, so I can go on vacations when I want, work from anywhere, service my clients on a time that works well for them and be more efficient with my own time.”
Client meetings occur throughout the day, but many financial professionals reserve mornings for working on their clients’ long-term plans using Guardian’s proprietary tool, The Living Balance Sheet®.
It’s a powerful online platform that helps financial professionals show clients their complete financial picture and the value of establishing lifetime goals.
“What differentiates us from other firms is the depth of the analysis we do for a client and our protection-first philosophy. Tools like The Living Balance Sheet® help us to deliver the best outcomes for our clients,” says Mr. Howard.
From financial stress to financial confidence
If you consider that more than 1 in 5 working Americans are stressed out, with financial worries near the top of the list 4, a financial professional serves a real need for clients. They may have financial goals — such as buying a home, funding college, starting a business and even attempt to do all of these things at the same time — but not know how to achieve them. Consequently, being a financial professional is challenging, but rewarding work. The job is about helping clients cross the bridge from a state of financial stress to a state of financial confidence, and many professionals consider it more of a calling than a career.
“Helping clients absolutely motivates me. It’s very rewarding to see how your work is able to improve a client’s financial well-being,” Mr. Howard explains.
So what about you? If you’re motivated by challenging work and a desire to help others, a career as a financial professional could be a great fit. To find out more, contact a local Guardian firm near you.