Financial Advisor Job Description:
My primary areas of focus are retirement planning, estate planning, taxes, wealth accumulation, educational planning, and asset allocation analysis. I also help match up clients with investment products through the services of my broker/dealer, First Allied Securities, Inc. I also have a book due out this fall with John Wiley & Sons called “Navigating the Financial Blogosphere.” It’s based on my popular blog which can be found at russellbailyn.com/weblog/.
What steps did you take to become a financial advisor?
I was always interested in finance when I was younger. I used to track the stock market during high school and help my parents monitor their mutual fund investments using my Consumer Reports guide. While I didn’t actually have any investments during the crash of 2000, I watched in fascination as fortunes were created and destroyed in months. I liked the fact that money management jobs were swayed by news every day.
Ironically, I had always thought real estate would be my career choice. I got an internship during my second year at New York University with Douglas Elliman, a New York-based real estate firm. After spending a few months there, one of the brokers recommended that I start working for her husband, who had recently opened up Premier Financial Advisors, a private financial planning and investment advisory practice. I started working at Premier Financial Advisors as an intern during college. I was hired upon graduating and have been here since.
What do you like about your career as a financial advisor?
I like the fact that my job requires meeting with clients. I wanted a career which allowed me to do research and bring value to people’s lives. However, I also wanted to interact directly with clients. Being a financial advisor, at least in my workplace, allows me to help people reach their goals and watch the enjoyment they get from doing so.
During your career as a financial advisor, have there been any funny moments?
I have many funny and memorable moments. Without going into too much detail, putting together budgets is definitely something that keeps me laughing. People tend to be overly honest when it comes to items they spend money on. I once had somebody tell me that he’d happily eliminate his alimony payments from his budget, but his ex-wife might not react well to such a decision.
I had another person who indicated we should research different birth control methods because her pills weren’t covered by insurance. I explained to her that this was outside my realm of responsibility; these budget discussions can get very interesting.
Drawing on your career as a financial advisor, do you have any general financial advice?
I’ll give a few brief pointers which can help you become smarter about your finances. First, look into your retirement plan at work. If you have an IRA, 401k, or 403b plan, use it! People don’t save enough money nowadays because they don’t get excited about it. Picture something you love and start stashing away some funds. I would also advise that you take the time to understand investing and financial planning. Try to find an advisor who is on your level and will explain financial concepts to you in a way that you can understand.
What is the average salary of a financial advisor?
This is actually an issue which is hotly discussed by financial advisors. I’ve read estimates for an established financial advisor in the $100K-$200K range. Plenty of people earn less and plenty earn more; earnings potential is very high for a seasoned financial advisor with a large base of clients. Many financial advisors are compensated based on how much business they bring in for their firms. I wouldn’t think of financial advising as a flat-salary job. If it was, what incentive would you have to work harder?
The industry actively deals with compensation questions such as whether working on a fee-basis is more beneficial to clients than earning commissions. For example, if a financial advisor earns a fee of one percent of assets under management, they will work truly hard to grow their accounts. If a $100K account grows to $200K, the fee would jump from $1,000 to $2,000.
However, if you earned an up-front commission, what would be the incentive (besides morals) to service the account? Compensation for financial advisors is not usually just a salary; it’s often a combination of fees, commissions, salary and other business income.
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