Increasing Technology & Young Professionals Entering The Field

They say timing is everything. And they are right. Be too early, and you won’t fit in. Be too late, and you might miss a major opportunity.

We can’t always pick timing. For instance, you didn’t get a say about when you were born. Like it or not, you were stuck with the year when your clock started running.

But if you are a young person just starting in wealth management and financial planning, I have some good news. Congratulations, your timing is perfect! You are launching your career at the ideal time. Here’s why.

Think fast: What image immediately comes to mind when I say, “financial planner” or “wealth manager”? Many people picture an older guy pushing 6o with gray hair and wrinkles. Someone in a pinstripe suit who has done the same things the same way in the same office since George Bush was president. (The first one.)

And for many years, that image was pretty close to the mark. But that won’t happen to you. By having the good fortune to be entering the financial field just now, you’re on the cutting edge of epic change within our industry.

In fact, “change” is the operative word. Because everything, from how we collect data, how we process that information, and even how we share it with the people who entrust us with their money, is being rapidly transformed. The stodgy, moss-covered advisor is about as relevant in today’s financial world as flip phones and CD players.

Financial services may not seem hip, cool, or trendy to many young people. It’s not as glamorous as, say, working for a glitzy tech startup led by Silicon Valley’s latest darling. But you may be surprised to discover why our industry’s best days are right around the corner. Consider these three reasons:

Groundbreaking Software  Do you love working with computers? They’re going to play an even bigger role in what we do in the coming years. And they will become even better and faster, amazing both you and your clients with the detailed information they will deliver to your fingertips.

Perspectives Are Changing – Time was (and not too long ago at that) when younger employees were expected to be seen and not heard at work. But all aspects of society are experiencing dramatic change right now, and our profession is no exception. Your input, observations, and ideas have never been more welcome than they are today. You have a seat at the grownups’ table, and your voice is valued. You will play an essential role in helping modernize our industry.    

Generational Shift Mean New Opportunities – Finally, we are on the cusp of a major transfer of wealth. For a couple of decades now, Baby Boomers have cornered the market on wealth. But we’re going to see a huge transfer of wealth within the coming decade. As Boomers age, they are starting to pass their money to their children and grandchildren. That means increased opportunities for you and your firm. And because of your age, it will be much easier for you to connect to and relate with the newer generations of clients—Millennials and Gen X. 

But it’s useful always to remember another old saying. The more things change, the more they also stay the same. This means that while how we conduct business—and the tools we use to do it—are rapidly evolving, one thing remains constant: Our core values. Ours is, and always will be, a business based on relationships. You will achieve your best results by investing more one-on-one time in getting to know the people whose funds you are managing and who look to you for advice. The more clearly you understand their financial goals hinges on how clearly you understand them. That requires taking time to truly get to know them, not on a superficial resume level but as unique individuals with dreams and desires, hopes and fears (and a whole lot of questions!) that are all their own. The only way to make any personal relationship successful is to give it your complete attention and focus. The same is true with professional relationships.

So, kudos on the remarkably good luck of becoming a financial advisor at this promising time. Enjoy the ride. And one last bit of advice: When your friends who took jobs with those trendy tech startups find themselves out of work when their Dot Com goes bust, try not to gloat.