Gee..........my Kool-Aid is turning sour!

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Bubblehead's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-05

Ok guys, here goes with my first Post!  I am looking for legitimate advice on what to do when I retire from my current position.  I am in the US Navy and am thinking of retiring sometime in the next couple of years.  I may wait up to five years depending on several factors.  Most factors tie to financial security and job security.  Here is my situation.
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Currently I have 23 years of Naval Service.
Two kids will be in the middle of college or finishing up, depending on my timing.
Wife of 25 years offers great emotional support, understands and is willing to sacrifice (Military wife), and provides limited income to the household.
Pension from the military will be around 43-50K year depending on retirement date.
My background is strictly engineering, no sales experience whatsoever.
I have an MBA from <?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Webster University that is about 13 years old.
 
I earn around $115K we save $22 K a year, so our current standard of living is around $93K.  Prior to retirement the wife will go back to work probably bringing in around $25K.  So if I am doing my math right, I can forego the savings for a few years, make as little as $25K and still maintain my standard of living (SOL).
 
SOL $93K - Wifes income ($25K) – Retirement  ($43K)= Required income $25K
 
Around 14 years ago, I discovered Edward Jones as a possible employer.  I have followed them ever since, vowing that would be my dream job.  I read all the propaganda.  I poured over all of the surveys,  top ranked employers, etc.  Thinking I had a good thing here, I was certain they were my next employer.  You see I liked the idea of being my own boss. (sip)  Having my own office with an assistant and no oversight sounded great. (sip)  Being able to call my own hours and work to my own schedule was a real draw. (sip)  I looked at the statistical spreadsheets, saw the income growth and Limited Partnership offers and was really motivated (sip).  You see they offered everything I wanted, AND I get to work in financial advising which has always been a passion of mine.  (sip).
 
Then I found these boards by Googling for Edward Jones feedback ironically enough.  Imagine my dismay when I realized I have been drinking Kool-Aid all of these years.  I had no idea about the Kool-aid side of the story.  I have read all of the comments here …..bad trip experiences, overpriced insurance, unfair pay structures, limited products to offer, churning, unfulfilled offers of  limited partnership offerings, etc.  Believe me; I understand there are a lot of people that dislike the firm.  With that being said I would like some honest feedback wrt working for Jones and/or other firms.  If Jones is the wrong firm to start with, (And I know many of you will tell me it is) I will respect your opinion.  I just ask that you offer objective reasoning which firm you would recommend I start with and the reasons why.  If I do get into finance, I really think I want to end up as an Independent.  We will see.  I may start with a firm and decide I never want to leave.  Goodness knows I never intended to stay with the Navy as long as I have.  After all, I don’t want to come to the immediate conclusion that this Kool-Aid is all that bad.  I have been sipping it for over ten years now. 
 
If  I do pursue becoming a FA I think I have some strengths to offer.  I may be wrong.  I think the disciplined military background, will allow me to fit into a structured plan that has a “Recipe for Success”  (Smell the Kool-Aid?).   I would also like to think my maturity and age will also make it somewhat easier to attract clients over someone in the same position and experience lever that is a lot younger.  Please let me know if I am incorrect on these counts. 
 
Here goes with the questions. 
 
Is it worthwhile to change career paths at this point in my life?  After all I am in the middle of my breadwinning years, and considering a career change.  Am I crazy?  I can always retire from my job in the Navy and get a nice job in the same industry as a civilian.  That is obviously the easier and safer option.  Income there will start in the $70-$90K range and will grow 20% in a matter of five years or so where I will most likely hit a ceiling.
 
Are there respectable firms out there that have programs tailored for someone of my background?
 
Let’s presume I do pursue finance.  I am tired of this engineering thing after all, and really do like the idea of Financial Advising.  Where should I start?  I think my eventual goal is to be an independent in a small city or suburb.  What is the best approach to getting there?  If not Edward Jones, then where?  I like the Idea of being on my own.  I don’t like the idea of starting out in a large city in a high rise building, and getting coffee and making copies for the FA’s.  I will gladly walk the streets in suburbia and knock on doors for the Kaptain Kool-Aid before I do that.
 
I’ve read all of the statistical propaganda on the EJ site, regarding how much money I should expect to earn.  How true are these statistics, and how to other avenues into the FA business compare?
 
What kind of money should I really expect to make after ten years, once all the dust is settled?
 
Thanks,
Bh
 
 

BigLew's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20

I work for EDJ and to me, the kool aid tastes good.  I think you should interview with other firms as well.  AG Edwards is a good company to talk to.  I would NOT recommend starting as an independent and heres why.  Most brokers, regardless of firm, do not make it in this business.  I believe you need a firm to show you the ropes.  Once you have "made it" then going independent is a more real option.  You can make a very good living doing this, espcially after 5 years, but realize the first 2-3 years you probably will not, and need to lean on your other incomes hard.

GoodTimes's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-08

All you need is 25k a year for income. What do you really WANT to do?
Sail, fish, sing in a barber shop quartet, travel? I would try the consulting
civilian route to earn my 25k a year and live like no one else. We saw
your income, how about expenses. Turn over paying for college to the
kids, downsize into a smaller empty nest and do whatever the hell you
want. If you have a burning passion for financial advising... well go look
for firms, banks, partners who will assist you in getting CFP licensed and
be a part time advisor and not salesman and not worry about market
performance and stock jockeying. CFPs can create plans, which would be
a good fit for an engineer. Stay behind the scenes and find a good face
man so you can work on a laptop in the Bahamas. This sounds far
fetched, but if you live in STL, which I suspect you do, it's a big enough
city for you to find just that.

Big Easy Flood's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-29

Hi Bubblehead,
What you have to remember about this group is that you have underwear that is older than most of the kids who are spouting off, and those who are a bit older are, on balance, are angry.  Not all of them, but most of them.
I'm a retired upper middle management type who also discovered the forum with Google and enjoy reading what amounts to drivel, while poking some of the blowhards with my cane.
I'm sixty one, MBA, joined a wirehouse in 1971 following playing soldier, as was customary in those days.
One of my best friends was playing sailor at that time and ended up with two stars and lots of those stripes on his coat.  He did exactly what you're talking about doing, transitioned into one of the companies that he dealt with in his military life.  He has now retired again and divides his time between a ranch in Texas and an apartment in London.  Tough life, but somebody has to do it.
I'd say stay with Uncle until they invite you to check out, then reevaluate your decisions.
Naturally the safe way to go would be to become the guy who calls on your successor--the good old revolving door.  And I have to admit that taking the safe route, while not exotic is normally the best idea.  We never know what the future holds.
On the other hand, if you have an entrepreneurial streak, and buying a (eg) Subway franchise does not hold appeal, there are few careers as interesting as being a Wall Street type.
Jones is nowhere near as bad as the whiners on this forum would have you believe. Remember, they failed there and it's 100% human nature to blame somebody else.  There's a guy who failed at UBS, if you can imagine, and he too blames somebody else.  In his case he blames middle managers such as me, as if we were out to sabatoge him.  Yep, that's a plan--layers of middle managers working against the sales force.  But when you're failing at sales, and a joke as a management candidate what can you do except rail against the darkness.
You will be EXCEPTIONALLY attractive to anybody, at any type of firm. We like the discipline of a military officer, we like the fact that you have buddies with money to invest, we like that you are already financially secure and won't be worried about the mortgage payment, we like the fact that you're old enough to have credibilty.  I've seen thousands of new hires come and go.  I cannot think of a single retired military officer who left because he was shown the door.
You mentioned the idea of being able to set your own schedule as a benefit--and it is.  However, NEVER say that in an interview.  When you're talking to somebody who has the power to hire you you are a "lean, mean fighting machine," no wait, that's the marines.  You're a lean mean prospecting machine.
Go on some interviews, see what's out there.  Get an offer or two and turn them down--it will be good for the ego and also give you an idea if the ante can be upped.
You will find that the major firms will be interested in you too--and they will be far more likely to give  you a two year package where you are paid a fairly decent salary while you go about learning your way around the biz.
You're in the cat bird's seat, but even so it's not as safe an option as going to work in the industry you're dealing with now.
I'd be happy to discuss this further in emails if you'd like.

Ace Planner's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-09

Bub,
I've seen military fail, not because of lack of discipline, but because they didn't know and couldn't learn how to sell.  In particular, one guy thought he was selling in the military because of how persuaded his subordinates were to follow his orders.  Another guy just didn't realize what selling involves.
Remember, whatever you're doing, managing retirement accounts, working capital, etc. in this field, you're selling. 
Read SPIN selling, probably the best sales material I've ever seen.  Next, read Values Based Selling and The Wedge.
It sounds like you really need to consider what it takes to succeed in this field.  Good luck.
Ace
BTW

lostintexas's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

Okay..so I have nowhere near the background of flood dude, but what he says makes a ton of sense based on what I know about the industry, except the concept of "playing it safe."  Really successful people are usually risk takers and the fact that you will retire with benefits and an adequate income (even if you don't immediately produce) gives you a safety net that can allow you to explore a bit and test your abilities.
I started out in this industry with an independent firm as a support person.  I am now an expert in most areas of investing and many areas of financial planning but I have yet to be successful.  Why?  Because none of the firms I have aligned myself with so far have had good, solid sales training.  
I've worked in sales before and been successful, but it is different when you're talking about your client's future security, and perhaps what I know has been part of my problem because ethics is everything to me and so many of the better sales organizations compromise what I feel is the ethical way to do business.
Still I have come to the conclusion that it may well be the only way I will be successful is to bite the bullet and PAY MY DUES with one of these organizations so I can master the sales process.
You may need to do this too.   As a retired officer with an MBA, they will ALL talk to you, and if you can convince them you can sell, will want you.  You should have many options.  
So I'd recommend, especially since you are in no hurry, that you explore them all.  These boards are great for finding people who have worked for the different firms and you can get an idea of the good and the bad, and sort through the whiners and those that don't really tell you WHY they disliked the firm.
I will admit to being a bit more confused at this point, but I stalled my first offer and I know I will be happier, even if I take it, that I invested the time to really explore other options.
One other idea for you, provided you have the time, start the CFP training program.  Once in you can attend the Financial Planning Association meetings.  You can then say "this is me and this is what I'd like to find" and you may just find an indy firm you love that will take you on and actually mentor.   I've done it and had a couple of interviews with firms I did not choose, but I am going to do it again.
Best of luck.
 

Big Easy Flood's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-29

Ace Planner wrote:
Bub,
I've seen military fail, not because of lack of discipline, but because they didn't know and couldn't learn how to sell.  In particular, one guy thought he was selling in the military because of how persuaded his subordinates were to follow his orders.  Another guy just didn't realize what selling involves.
Remember, whatever you're doing, managing retirement accounts, working capital, etc. in this field, you're selling. 
Read SPIN selling, probably the best sales material I've ever seen.  Next, read Values Based Selling and The Wedge.
It sounds like you really need to consider what it takes to succeed in this field.  Good luck.
Ace
BTW

Hi Ace,
How old are you?  When did you get registered?  What is your educational background?
Thanks,
Your friend BEF

Soothsayer's picture
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Joined: 2005-02-24

Is it just me, or does BEFlood have a very similar background and writing style to in the infamous Put Trader? 

Bubblehead's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-05

BigLew wrote:I work for EDJ and to me, the kool aid tastes good.  I think you should interview with other firms as well.  AG Edwards is a good company to talk to.  I would NOT recommend starting as an independent and heres why.  Most brokers, regardless of firm, do not make it in this business.  I believe you need a firm to show you the ropes.  Once you have "made it" then going independent is a more real option.  You can make a very good living doing this, espcially after 5 years, but realize the first 2-3 years you probably will not, and need to lean on your other incomes hard.
BigLew, I agree that trying to start Indy is not the way to go.  I like the idea of being sponsored, learning the ropes so to speak and then testing the waters after a few years if it looks good.  Thanks for the insight.  Can you tell me how long you have been with EJ?  Thanks Bh

Bubblehead's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-05

GoodTimes wrote:All you need is 25k a year for income. What do you really WANT to do? Sail, fish, sing in a barber shop quartet, travel? I would try the consulting civilian route to earn my 25k a year and live like no one else. We saw your income, how about expenses. Turn over paying for college to the kids, downsize into a smaller empty nest and do whatever the hell you want. If you have a burning passion for financial advising... well go look for firms, banks, partners who will assist you in getting CFP licensed and be a part time advisor and not salesman and not worry about market performance and stock jockeying. CFPs can create plans, which would be a good fit for an engineer. Stay behind the scenes and find a good face man so you can work on a laptop in the Bahamas. This sounds far fetched, but if you live in STL, which I suspect you do, it's a big enough city for you to find just that.
GT.  I like your style!  Unfortunately I am not ready to start that Quartet yet.  Let me make the nest egg a little bigger, then who knows.  Perhaps I will start my singing career!

Bubblehead's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-05

Big Easy Flood wrote:
Hi Bubblehead,
What you have to remember about this group is that you have underwear that is older than most of the kids who are spouting off, and those who are a bit older are, on balance, are angry.  Not all of them, but most of them.
I'm a retired upper middle management type who also discovered the forum with Google and enjoy reading what amounts to drivel, while poking some of the blowhards with my cane.
I'm sixty one, MBA, joined a wirehouse in 1971 following playing soldier, as was customary in those days.
One of my best friends was playing sailor at that time and ended up with two stars and lots of those stripes on his coat.  He did exactly what you're talking about doing, transitioned into one of the companies that he dealt with in his military life.  He has now retired again and divides his time between a ranch in Texas and an apartment in London.  Tough life, but somebody has to do it.
I'd say stay with Uncle until they invite you to check out, then reevaluate your decisions.
Naturally the safe way to go would be to become the guy who calls on your successor--the good old revolving door.  And I have to admit that taking the safe route, while not exotic is normally the best idea.  We never know what the future holds.
On the other hand, if you have an entrepreneurial streak, and buying a (eg) Subway franchise does not hold appeal, there are few careers as interesting as being a Wall Street type.
Jones is nowhere near as bad as the whiners on this forum would have you believe. Remember, they failed there and it's 100% human nature to blame somebody else.  There's a guy who failed at UBS, if you can imagine, and he too blames somebody else.  In his case he blames middle managers such as me, as if we were out to sabatoge him.  Yep, that's a plan--layers of middle managers working against the sales force.  But when you're failing at sales, and a joke as a management candidate what can you do except rail against the darkness.
You will be EXCEPTIONALLY attractive to anybody, at any type of firm. We like the discipline of a military officer, we like the fact that you have buddies with money to invest, we like that you are already financially secure and won't be worried about the mortgage payment, we like the fact that you're old enough to have credibilty.  I've seen thousands of new hires come and go.  I cannot think of a single retired military officer who left because he was shown the door.
You mentioned the idea of being able to set your own schedule as a benefit--and it is.  However, NEVER say that in an interview.  When you're talking to somebody who has the power to hire you you are a "lean, mean fighting machine," no wait, that's the marines.  You're a lean mean prospecting machine.
Go on some interviews, see what's out there.  Get an offer or two and turn them down--it will be good for the ego and also give you an idea if the ante can be upped.
You will find that the major firms will be interested in you too--and they will be far more likely to give  you a two year package where you are paid a fairly decent salary while you go about learning your way around the biz.
You're in the cat bird's seat, but even so it's not as safe an option as going to work in the industry you're dealing with now.
I'd be happy to discuss this further in emails if you'd like.

BEF, thanks for the advice, and the Flattery.  I agree the safe route is predictable and stable.  You may be seeing some PM's from me.  Thanks again.  Let me ponder your advice.

Bubblehead's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-05

Ace Planner wrote:
Bub,
I've seen military fail, not because of lack of discipline, but because they didn't know and couldn't learn how to sell.  In particular, one guy thought he was selling in the military because of how persuaded his subordinates were to follow his orders.  Another guy just didn't realize what selling involves.
Remember, whatever you're doing, managing retirement accounts, working capital, etc. in this field, you're selling. 
Read SPIN selling, probably the best sales material I've ever seen.  Next, read Values Based Selling and The Wedge.
It sounds like you really need to consider what it takes to succeed in this field.  Good luck.
Ace
BTW

ACE, I agree with your last statement.  "I really need to consider what it takes to succeed in this field."   Thats why I am here asking for advice.  Hmmmmmm.......  I will pick up the books, thanks.

Bubblehead's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-05

lostintexas wrote:
Okay..so I have nowhere near the background of flood dude, but what he says makes a ton of sense based on what I know about the industry, except the concept of "playing it safe."  Really successful people are usually risk takers and the fact that you will retire with benefits and an adequate income (even if you don't immediately produce) gives you a safety net that can allow you to explore a bit and test your abilities.
I started out in this industry with an independent firm as a support person.  I am now an expert in most areas of investing and many areas of financial planning but I have yet to be successful.  Why?  Because none of the firms I have aligned myself with so far have had good, solid sales training.  
I've worked in sales before and been successful, but it is different when you're talking about your client's future security, and perhaps what I know has been part of my problem because ethics is everything to me and so many of the better sales organizations compromise what I feel is the ethical way to do business.
Still I have come to the conclusion that it may well be the only way I will be successful is to bite the bullet and PAY MY DUES with one of these organizations so I can master the sales process.
You may need to do this too.   As a retired officer with an MBA, they will ALL talk to you, and if you can convince them you can sell, will want you.  You should have many options.  
So I'd recommend, especially since you are in no hurry, that you explore them all.  These boards are great for finding people who have worked for the different firms and you can get an idea of the good and the bad, and sort through the whiners and those that don't really tell you WHY they disliked the firm.
I will admit to being a bit more confused at this point, but I stalled my first offer and I know I will be happier, even if I take it, that I invested the time to really explore other options.
One other idea for you, provided you have the time, start the CFP training program.  Once in you can attend the Financial Planning Association meetings.  You can then say "this is me and this is what I'd like to find" and you may just find an indy firm you love that will take you on and actually mentor.   I've done it and had a couple of interviews with firms I did not choose, but I am going to do it again.
Best of luck.
 

Lost,
 I couldnt agree more with the ethical argument.  I don't want to find myself compromising my values to talk granny into risking/wasting her nest egg in order to get a little bigger commission.  One of the real reasons I want to try this is because I want to help people.  I also feel I cannot sell a product I don't believe in.  Building savings plans for people is something I really believe in.   There are so many people in our country that don't understand the need to save.  I would like to think I can touch some of these people.
I like the CFP idea.  Is it a worthwhile investment of my time?  Where should I start?

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-31

BigLew wrote:I work for EDJ and to me, the kool aid tastes good.  I think you should interview with other firms as well.  AG Edwards is a good company to talk to.  I would NOT recommend starting as an independent and heres why.  Most brokers, regardless of firm, do not make it in this business.  I believe you need a firm to show you the ropes.  Once you have "made it" then going independent is a more real option.  You can make a very good living doing this, espcially after 5 years, but realize the first 2-3 years you probably will not, and need to lean on your other incomes hard.
I think this is pretty good advice, and pretty objective for a Jones man .
A big part of the backlash against EDJ is twofold; (1) Those on the outside who see EDJ as, more or less, a firm with about the same amount of warts and positives that many other firms have, but at the same time, a firm that spins itself as much more ethical than other firms, and in fact, took out some infamous ads trumpeting this in the not too distant past.
(2) Those on the inside, both past and present, who feel like the folks at the top of the food chain have been less than truthful with the rank & file about a host of subjects, and engage in a routine and continued effort to "brainwash" reps in an effort to hold defections down by suppressing curiosity about other firms.
Flood may be right in this respect...EDJ is probably not as bad as some on here paint it.  At the same time, the apparent ongoing management/partner efforts to maintain loyalty through questionable (or at best, heavily biased) "information" causes many of us on the outside to really question whether things are as happy in Jonesville as some would like us to believe.  Certainly, you would be wise to look at alternative firms as several have suggested, and I'll second Big Lew's advice to include AG Edwards in your search, as I've seen generally positive things here about them, and know several who work there and love the firm.  Good Luck and thank you for your service...

lostintexas's picture
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Bubblehead wrote:lostintexas wrote:
One other idea for you, provided you have the time, start the CFP training program.  Once in you can attend the Financial Planning Association meetings.  You can then say "this is me and this is what I'd like to find" and you may just find an indy firm you love that will take you on and actually mentor.   I've done it and had a couple of interviews with firms I did not choose, but I am going to do it again.
Best of luck.
 

Lost,
 I couldnt agree more with the ethical argument.  I don't want to find myself compromising my values to talk granny into risking/wasting her nest egg in order to get a little bigger commission.  One of the real reasons I want to try this is because I want to help people.  I also feel I cannot sell a product I don't believe in.  Building savings plans for people is something I really believe in.   There are so many people in our country that don't understand the need to save.  I would like to think I can touch some of these people.
I like the CFP idea.  Is it a worthwhile investment of my time?  Where should I start?

I think with your MBA all you'd need do is enroll in school to start the process.  There is a requirement that you work in the year 3 years before you sit for the certification exam, but I know that certain college degrees are exempt from that rule and an MBA may be one of them (check the website).  However even if you aren't exempt, the courses (5) typicallly take someone still employed about a year and a half to complete so you'd have time to figure that out.
However all you need do is be enrolled to be part of the FPA, and even if you aren't non-members can attend most of their meetings.
I took mine through American College which I think was one of the first to offer the study and is well respected, however many major universities also offer the courses so you can check locally if you prefer a classroom to a self-study.  There are also fast study, 4 day seminars, but it is my opinion that if you genuinely want to learn something a fast cram is not the way to go.
Anyway, there are plenty of choices and it will prepare you to be a better planner.
Hope that helps

lostintexas's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-06

Ah..no edit button..to add to the above, yes, if you wish to be a financial planner and not just a broker or investment manager, it IS worth it.   Not only will you learn important concepts, but the CFP IS the designation best known by consumers and worth the most from a marketing standpoint - instant credibilty.
Especially ironic given there are other designations that are more intensive, CHFC encompassing all the CFP and doubling it!  

lawsucks's picture
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lostintexas wrote:
Especially ironic given there are other designations that are more intensive, CHFC encompassing all the CFP and doubling it!  

I don't think it's fair to say that the ChFC is more intensive, let alone that it is double the CFP.  I am studying for the CFP right now, and have looked at the ChFC as well.  There are six core courses that can be applied towards both designations.  Where they differ is in what you have to do once you have completed these six courses:  CFP requires that you take a two day, comprehensive, exam, ChFC requires that you take two additional courses in financial and estate planning.
From what others that have jumped through the hoops to get both have told me, the CFP requires more depth of knowledge, because you have to take the two day, comprehensive, exam, and the ChFC requires more breadth of knowledge, because you have to take two additional courses.   
Regardless of which designation you think is better, the thing I have never understood is why there are so many people with just one of the two.  If you have the CFP, you have CE requirements, why not fulfill them by taking the two extra courses required to get the ChFC?  And if you have the ChFC, you are qualified to sit for the CFP exam, why not take one weekend to advance your career?

lawsucks's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-18

Big Easy Flood wrote: What you have to remember about this group is that you have underwear that is older than most of the kids who are spouting off.
I'm sixty one, MBA, joined a wirehouse in 1971 following playing soldier, as was customary in those days.
If you joined a wirehouse at 26 (61 now, joined 35 years ago), why do you advise against anyone under 30 joining today.
And if you are really the succesful ex-manager that you claim to be, why can't you afford some new underwear. 

Big Easy Flood's picture
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Joined: 2005-08-29

lawsucks wrote:
If you joined a wirehouse at 26 (61 now, joined 35 years ago), why do you advise against anyone under 30 joining today.

I was hired for all the nonsensical reasons that color such decisions.  The big deal hometown boy that married the daughter of one of the town's better families.
It was a dumb decision to accept the job, but it was a dumber decision to offer it.
When you're not yet thirty you have almost no credibility among older people, and older people are who have the money to invest.
I know, I know--there are rock stars and athletes with lots of money.  They also have advisors who are older people.
The best advice any young person can get is to make coming to Wall Street a job change--even a career change.  Get your degree(s), then get some seasoning.
Go make your mistakes at a place where it won't matter because you're just passing through.  Learn to prospect, try various techniques, learn to use the phone.
Llast night I was walking around an office park and encountered a group of young people taking a break on Sunday night.  They were collectors for GMAC, working the really bad accounts, skip tracing, and the like.  Doing that for a couple of  years can be presented later as developing great phone skills.
When you're under thirty no matter what you say to an adult the adult just smiles and thinks, yep I was once young and full of bullschidt myself.
When you're entering a business that has a HUGE failure rate, why do you not want to be more mature before trying it?
It's as if you're saying, "If I'm going to fail I want to fail when I'm young."
What an odd attitude.  Why not, I want to build my skills when I'm young so that I won't fail.
Your career is a marathon, not a sprint.  There's no need to start with the hardest part before getting warmed up.
Wait till you're thirty and have something on your resume.  All adults look at you like your parents look at you.
The only people who think that 26 year olds are ready for prime time are other 26 year olds.  And they're wrong.

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lawsucks wrote:
Regardless of which designation you think is better, the thing I have never understood is why there are so many people with just one of the two.  If you have the CFP, you have CE requirements, why not fulfill them by taking the two extra courses required to get the ChFC?  And if you have the ChFC, you are qualified to sit for the CFP exam, why not take one weekend to advance your career?

 
When I started the difference was 5 courses versus 10 that included the first five.  I forgot that the CFP changed to 6 classes and didn't know the exam was any different.
Anyhow my point is that of all the credentials out there (and I suspect some of the senior designations are fluff), the CFP has the most value from a marketing standpoint.  Are there others that may offer more useful info?  Yes and the CHFC is but one.
I do know that when job hunting, they always ask "do you have your CFP?"

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I still say Big Easy Flood is Put Trader with a new screen name.

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Soothsayer wrote:I still say Big Easy Flood is Put Trader with a new screen name.
Who is Put Trader, and why does he cause so much speculation?

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Big Easy Flood wrote:Soothsayer wrote:I still say Big Easy Flood is Put Trader with a new screen name.
Who is Put Trader, and why does he cause so much speculation?
...Oh please, Put...we know who you are...

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Soothsayer wrote:I still say Big Easy Flood is Put Trader with a new screen name.
You know, when BEF replied to my first post, and he was accused o using "Puts Writing Style", I had second thoughts.  After all he was nice enough in his first reply.  Reading his second response, there is a little more of the Put Trader flavor there.   Hmmmmm....
Regardless thanks for all of the advice guys. 
BH

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That's not to say that he's not worth reading...you just have to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff...

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lawsucks wrote:lostintexas wrote:
Especially ironic given there are other designations that are more intensive, CHFC encompassing all the CFP and doubling it!  

 I am studying for the CFP right now, and have looked at the ChFC as well. 

Do you guys think I would be better prepared by trying to get this done before entering the industry or waiting till my feet are wet?
On another note, My initial post asked about potential earnings as a Newbie in the different firms.  I don't see a lot of replies regarding that question.  Is it safe to assume that the potential earnings will compare to the statistics that EJ posts for their newbies? 

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you are correct sir, and expect to starve for 3 years, as well as probably fail. It's virtually imposibble to start from scratch these days.

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I think you may have more time to work on your CFP before you start, only in that it can take many hours a week to build a book.  Most newbies are in practice for a few years before even trying to take on school.
It may help you get a job too and definitely will make it easier to impress new clients because they assume the designation means you're knowledgeable.  That's way better than clearly being "the rookie."
Just an opinion.  Many do succeed without it.

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I would begin studying for the CFP before you join any firm, if you have time.  You will learn so much that will help you in understanding the financial planning business as a whole instead of the narrow view you will receive in the training your broker dealer will offer to you which will be mostly focused on investment products and selling.
Since your expressed desire is to be a financial planner, you will probably love the courses.  I did.
 

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babbling looney wrote:
I would begin studying for the CFP before you join any firm, if you have time.  You will learn so much that will help you in understanding the financial planning business as a whole instead of the narrow view you will receive in the training your broker dealer will offer to you which will be mostly focused on investment products and selling.
Since your expressed desire is to be a financial planner, you will probably love the courses.  I did.

 
Thanks for all of the advice guys.  BL it looks like I will need the three years in the field prior to taking the exam.  Does it sound reasonable to take the courses now and to finish them prior to retiring from the navy.  Then when I have my three years of experience in the field, I brush up a bit and take the exam?
Thanks Bh.

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Dont bother with CFP until your three years out.
Would you study for a big exam three months ahead and take it.... let
alone three years.

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EDJIR2005 wrote:Dont bother with CFP until your three years out. Would you study for a big exam three months ahead and take it.... let alone three years.
and you've been in financial services industry how many months??

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There's no reason not to start right away if you have the time and energy.  You can always pass the test and satisfy the experience requirement later.  That way, as soon as you have three years in, you can get licensed.

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over a yr. Not long and by no means have I made it, but i also realize that
i shouldnt be spending time on something that i cant achieve for a while
yet. I should focus on surviving and making it.

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I agree with Indyone.  Go ahead and study while you are not trying to break into the business.  It takes about 2 1/2 years to finish the study materials if you do home study.  You will learn a lot, get a good overview of financial planning and it will help you in deciding if you truly want to get into the biz. 
Two downsides to studying early and taking your time.
1. Tax laws change and you have to relearn some modules to keep up.  Of course once you have the designation there is continuing education to keep up too.
2. I was disappointed that I couldn't really use my skills in the Jones environment. But I was soooooo smart.  And it is a help in being able to guide clients in areas that we are not able to, due to broker dealer constraints. 

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Bubblehead wrote:
Thanks for all of the advice guys.  BL it looks like I will need the three years in the field prior to taking the exam.  Does it sound reasonable to take the courses now and to finish them prior to retiring from the navy.  Then when I have my three years of experience in the field, I brush up a bit and take the exam?
Thanks Bh.

You won't be able to use the designation until you have three years of experience, but you don't have two wait until you have the experience to take the exam.  You have a five year window after taking the exam to get meet the experience requirement.
http://cfp-board.org/become/work.asp

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lawsucks wrote:Bubblehead wrote:
Thanks for all of the advice guys.  BL it looks like I will need the three years in the field prior to taking the exam.  Does it sound reasonable to take the courses now and to finish them prior to retiring from the navy.  Then when I have my three years of experience in the field, I brush up a bit and take the exam?
Thanks Bh.

You won't be able to use the designation until you have three years of experience, but you don't have two wait until you have the experience to take the exam.  You have a five year window after taking the exam to get meet the experience requirement.
http://cfp-board.org/become/work.asp

Ls,
I read the link.  What you say makes sense.  I will start looking into the feasibility of completing these courses before I leave the service.
Bh

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Besides, you can always use the information you learn. 

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lostintexas wrote:Besides, you can always use the information you learn.  My thoughts exactly.

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Bubblehead wrote:

Are there respectable firms out there that have programs tailored for someone of my background?

Let’s presume I do pursue finance.  I am tired of this engineering thing after all, and really do like the idea of Financial Advising.  Where should I start?  I think my eventual goal is to be an independent in a small city or suburb.  What is the best approach to getting there?  If not Edward Jones, then where? Thanks,
Bh
 

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Bubblehead wrote:Bubblehead wrote:

Are there respectable firms out there that have programs tailored for someone of my background?

Let’s presume I do pursue finance.  I am tired of this engineering thing after all, and really do like the idea of Financial Advising.  Where should I start?  I think my eventual goal is to be an independent in a small city or suburb.  What is the best approach to getting there?  If not Edward Jones, then where? Thanks,
Bh
 

 
Ooops, fat fingered the keys......
Regarding my earlier questions, does anyone know of any programs tailored for career changers?  I understand the previous opinions posted on this thread, are there any others?
Bh

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I think most of the big names are and they love people with more maturity, a record of success AND a fat book of people within their network.
Starting independent is tough, so most either go brokerage firm or insurance company.   Brokerage is great if you prefer more of an investment focus, insurance is better if you either want to master insurance sales (some of the highest paid humans in this country are insurance reps) OR you want to master the more lucrative aspects of financial planning.
Once you get your feet on the ground, you can go indy if you want.  Also..easier to go indy from an insurance start - there isn't so much of a battle over your book, especially investment clients.
 

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After re-reading your initial post, I actually think Edward Jones would be fine for a second/final career. You will get the best training for a newbie and you likely will have a few other folks just like you- and around your age doing the same thing.
It's a great place to start and see if you really like the career. And I have seen many military people do well. It's the discipline. I am guessing you might be around 50? maybe a little less? Doesn't really matter but since you already have a retirement coming from career one, EDJ is really a good fit. And likely you will do your clients a great service. You may only want to work another 10-15 years? And if you DO make it at Jones, you have the trips twice a year - (they aren't FREE- you will pay for them) but the numbers to get them are obtainable.
 
So though I am certainly no long term Jones fan, I think it would be  a good fit for you. If you like, PM me I'll give you names of former Military folks to talk to that are at Jones.

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munytalks wrote:
After re-reading your initial post, I actually think Edward Jones would be fine for a second/final career. You will get the best training for a newbie and you likely will have a few other folks just like you- and around your age doing the same thing.
It's a great place to start and see if you really like the career. And I have seen many military people do well. It's the discipline. I am guessing you might be around 50? maybe a little less? Doesn't really matter but since you already have a retirement coming from career one, EDJ is really a good fit. And likely you will do your clients a great service. You may only want to work another 10-15 years? And if you DO make it at Jones, you have the trips twice a year - (they aren't FREE- you will pay for them) but the numbers to get them are obtainable.
 
So though I am certainly no long term Jones fan, I think it would be  a good fit for you. If you like, PM me I'll give you names of former Military folks to talk to that are at Jones.

munytalks,
I am 43 now and will be 45 to 47 when I retire from the Navy.  My thoughts are to work hard for the first 3-7 years and then begin working  more reasonable hours.  Hopefully by the ten year point (Age 55-57) I can scale my hours back to 30-35 a week, and take some vacations while still keeping the office alive. This includes a potential shift to INDY at the 4-6 year point.  (As soon as feasible).  Does all of this sound reasonable?
Here is a new question though.  Many people imply that "My Network" will be valuable.  Does everyone understand that my network is scattered all over the globe?  Is the network going to want to give their money to an old friend who is new to the business, and thousands of miles away to manage?  (I wouldnt)  I know many of you will tell me thats why they call it a sales job....right? 
Another concern regarding networking.  The premise seems to be that a Newbie starts their business/in an office/ etc in an area he/she has ties to.  In my case that is not my intent.  I want to relocate to "My Ideal Location"  (Yet to be determined) and it is almost certianly a place I have no ties to.  How much will this handicap me?

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Bubblehead wrote:
I am 43 now and will be 45 to 47 when I retire from the Navy.  My thoughts are to work hard for the first 3-7 years and then begin working  more reasonable hours.  Hopefully by the ten year point (Age 55-57) I can scale my hours back to 30-35 a week, and take some vacations while still keeping the office alive. This includes a potential shift to INDY at the 4-6 year point.  (As soon as feasible).  Does all of this sound reasonable?

The current issue of On Wall Street focuses almost exclusively on "Going Indy."
There is a stat in there that is telling, actually two of them.  Probably a lot more, I have not read it yet, just editor's notes at the first.
In those notes she says that industry executives say that 20% of their reps are carrying the other 80%.  It is common knowledge among those who are impartial that the "siren song" of the independent channel is the significantly higher payout.
It has presented itself in this forum as part of the prickly exchanges as the last gasp of a broker who is behind in their mortgage because they're not earning enough.  40% payout at a wirehouse versus much much more as an indy.
When you've got a note saying your mortgage company called while you were at lunch it's easy to conclude that the solution to your problems is the higher payout.  So off you go.
Back to the magazine.  There was a comment--I don't have it handy so I can't quote it--to the effect that it is still true that very few "big hitters" leave the wirehouses, but that that is changing.  This was part of a presentation at SIAs independent contractor meeting in April.  That is boiler plate in such presentations--the facts still show that virtually no significant producers at the wirehouses find the lure of the independent track to be all that attractive.
No doubt some of it, perhaps most of it, is--what's the word for just wanting to maintain the status quo, being lazy because you're so content.  If you are not being motivated by the past due mortgage, and you are a big enough stud around the office you don't find yourself whining about heavy handed managers, too many compliance meetings and the like.  There is a hell of a lot to be said for having a business card that says:
Bob BrokerSenior Vice PresidentMerrill Lynch, Inc.
instead of
Bob BrokerBob's Brokerage FirmSecurities offered through Raymond James Financial Services
My point is this.  Anybody who is able to get an offer from a premier firm has been honored--and EXTREME caution should be used before tossing that relationship aside.  Even if you're past due with your mortgage you will probably find the sledding is easier with the big name behind you.
It is my opinion--formed over more than thirty years of talking and thinking about this business--that the clients don't buy the idea that it doesn't matter where you are as much as we do.  With some firms, Merrill in particular, the clients (for some odd reason) actually consider themselves to be a cut above because a Merrill broker prospected them.
Don't go Indy without considering all of the things involved--all of them.  If you're talking to a place like LPL ask for the contact information for some of their least successful associates and call them.  You should do that while interviewing with a wirehouse too--ask to speak to a veteran who has yet to break out.  Don't say something stupid like, "I asked to speak to you because I asked to speak to a loser...." but do listen to what they've got to say.
They were just as confident of their abilities when they were hired, they probably passed the same tests you did, they may have been hired by the same guy.  If the manager made a mistake with them, how do you know he's not making the same mistake with you?
 
Bubblehead wrote:
Here is a new question though.  Many people imply that "My Network" will be valuable.  Does everyone understand that my network is scattered all over the globe?  Is the network going to want to give their money to an old friend who is new to the business, and thousands of miles away to manage?  (I wouldnt)  I know many of you will tell me thats why they call it a sales job....right? 

There is validity in that concern.  Not so much due to the far flung nature of the individuals as the relative newness.
It has always been my advice to rookies to forget about your "natural market" for at least a year--and to intentionally limit contact with them for a year or so too.
The human brain is such that if you and I had not talked in awhile I will have no real feel for how long it's been.  So the "Damn it's good to hear from you...how's it going?" question can lead to a "Well, I've been enjoying my new career with Ajax brokerage.  It's a great transition from the Navy."  If you've been in touch recently you're likely to  hear, "Come on, don't bullschidt me you were on base six weeks ago..." but if it's been awhile since you talked to him there is no reason to even tell him how long it's been--let his impression rule, it will be a lot longer than reality.
Another "issue" is that a retired Navy guy is probably going to find other retired Navy guys are also prospecting the same network--maybe not as a wirehouse broker, but as an insurance agent.  That's where the salesmanship, and the strength of the previous relationship will matter.
Keep in mind that you're going to make mistakes--some of them hideous.  Make them on the strangers--wait till you're fairly comfortable in your own skin before grabbing that "Natural Market" list.  It's a marathon, not a sprint.
 
Bubblehead wrote:
Another concern regarding networking.  The premise seems to be that a Newbie starts their business/in an office/ etc in an area he/she has ties to.  In my case that is not my intent.  I want to relocate to "My Ideal Location"  (Yet to be determined) and it is almost certianly a place I have no ties to.  How much will this handicap me?

It's not that you're going to experience a negative as much as you won't be as able to capitalize on what might have been a positive.
That said, if you do have contacts back home who you figure are about as sure a bet as there is--they'll do business over the phone.  Spend a week or so, after a year or so, back home making the same kind of calls you'd be making if you were there full time.
The business will come. I"m not sure that I'd even tell an old friend that you don't live there.  As with any interview never say something negative--NEVER.
If I ask you, "So, now that you're back where are you living" don't lie to me--but why in the world would I ask you that?  If I open an account there will be plenty of time to explain that you are living in God's Country, wherever that may be.

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Big Easy Flood wrote:My point is this.  Anybody who is able to get an offer from a premier firm has been honored
That is such B.S.  Most firms will hire anyone that can fog a mirror, particularly when they are in expansion mode.  They all just throw sh** against the wall and see what sticks.  The only exception being Goldman Sachs.

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lawsucks wrote:
Big Easy Flood wrote:My point is this.  Anybody who is able to get an offer from a premier firm has been honored
That is such B.S.  Most firms will hire anyone that can fog a mirror, particularly when they are in expansion mode.  They all just throw sh** against the wall and see what sticks.  The only exception being Goldman Sachs.

Are you saying that a Merrill manager hires everybody who applies?

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Big Easy Flood wrote:lawsucks wrote:
Big Easy Flood wrote:My point is this.  Anybody who is able to get an offer from a premier firm has been honored
That is such B.S.  Most firms will hire anyone that can fog a mirror, particularly when they are in expansion mode.  They all just throw sh** against the wall and see what sticks.  The only exception being Goldman Sachs.

Are you saying that a Merrill manager hires everybody who applies?

Pretty damn close. 
Aren't you the one that is always pissing and moaning about how the industry has too many wet behind the ears college grads, or worse yet, college dropouts.  I've run into plenty of current and former ML brokers from the local branch - many of them fit into that category of brokers that you believe shouldn't be in the industry.

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lawsucks wrote:Big Easy Flood wrote:
Are you saying that a Merrill manager hires everybody who applies?

Pretty damn close. 
Aren't you the one that is always pissing and moaning about how the industry has too many wet behind the ears college grads, or worse yet, college dropouts.  I've run into plenty of current and former ML brokers from the local branch - many of them fit into that category of brokers that you believe shouldn't be in the industry.

The guy is a liar. He's not mistaken, he's a liar.  As I said people like this guy are as valuable to the industry as a cold sore.

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Another concern regarding networking.  The premise seems to be that a Newbie starts their business/in an office/ etc in an area he/she has ties to.  In my case that is not my intent.  I want to relocate to "My Ideal Location"  (Yet to be determined) and it is almost certianly a place I have no ties to.  How much will this handicap me?
To bring the topic back on point:  I don't think that is as much of a handicap as it may seem.  If fact, many of the Jones offices are staffed by Reps who have moved to new areas.  While that is stressful on a family to move to new town and create new associations, I imagine that it is not a new thing for you or your spouse given your military career.   I don't think it would much of a problem.
Sometimes it can also be a good thing to be in unknown territory instead of your home town where like Cheers, everyone knows your name and any baggage you may have.  (Not to suggest you have baggage.)

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Babs is right again- (she usually is!)
I still say Jones is the best start out place but one thing that puzzles me is why would you want to go Indy right before you cut back and prepare to Retire? You can set your hours at Jones- if you are above standard and your clients' don't complain.
Going Indy is a major step taken to take your practice to another level. It actually requires MANY more hours in the beginning- so it is like starting over. Plus the outlay of cash. Then you owe it to your clients' to watch out their money as though it were your own. So, I'm just saying this- to sum it up - Try Jones. If you like the career and want to work beyond 15 years, think Indy after 4-5.
Good Luck!

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