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Guest Feature: Five Things to Know Before Starting as a Financial Advisor

Guest Feature: Five Things to Know Before Starting as a Financial Advisor


This month’s featured writer is William J. Berg, CFP® – Financial Planner.  William is sharing his tips on what you should know before starting as a Financial Advisor. 

While being in the financial planning industry can be financially rewarding for some, most do not survive their first year in the business. As it turns out, not everyone wants to trust their life savings with a 21 year old recent college graduate who looks like he may be 15 (me, 3 years ago). While I can’t help you obtain years of experience overnight, here are a few things to do if you’re thinking of becoming a financial advisor.


  1. Interview Multiple Firms Before Choosing

You will want to hear pitches from a few different firms before deciding where you want to work. When I was looking for a job, I interviewed at one firm and that was it.  This took away an opportunity to see how different firms operate or the different compensation structures (all commission, salary, etc.). More importantly, I did not have a good concept of the overall landscape of the financial services industry at the time. This is critical to do before choosing your firm. In my opinion, you are best off finding a fee-based or fee-only independent advisor or RIA firm. Generally these offices can be much smaller and can lead to a higher chance of succeeding.

  1. While You’re Studying, Start Putting Together a List

Once you get the job, you will need to study and pass your SIE, Series 7, Series 66, and potentially a few more tests. As you are studying, take a few minutes each day to draft a “prospect” list. This can be friends, family, or anyone else you know that you would like to have as a client. The goal here is to have the list ready for when you pass your tests so you can hit the ground running.

  1. Find a Mentor

When you’re getting started, having a good mentor can really be beneficial. A good mentor can help you get through a rut (which everyone has) or help you out with a complex financial planning scenario. Some things you will want to look for in a good mentor are industry experience, certifications (such as the CFP® marks), and someone who has a successful practice. However, be careful who you seek out as your mentor. Having a poor mentor can be worse than not having one at all.

  1. Leverage Social Media

Social media is relatively new to the financial services space. When you get started, work with your firm’s compliance department to get your LinkedIn page updated with your new job title. You can also create a Facebook page for your business (if your firm allows this). The goal here is to put out content that will educate your network on topics that are relevant to them. For example, most of my network is millennials since I am one. I post content relating to buying homes, college planning for children, and career changes since these are topics relevant to people in my age group.

  1. Set Realistic Goals

When I first started, I wholeheartedly believed that I would make $100,000 in my first 12 months. I did not even come close to this, but it taught me a valuable lesson. You need to set realistic goals for not only your first year, but for each week. Weekly goals can be things such as reaching out to 10 new prospects each week, setting 5 new appointments, or dropping by a few different local businesses. If you have a good mentor, they should be able to help you develop these weekly, quarterly, and yearly goals.


William Berg, CFP®

Financial Planner

1433 Hooper Avenue

Suite 314 A

Toms River, NJ 08753

Office 609 693-3800

Fax 609 971-3949   [email protected]


Securities and Advisory Services Offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, A Registered Investment Advisor.  Fixed insurance products and services offered through CES Insurance.