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Now is the Time for Young People to Consider a Wealth Planning Career

There has never been a better time for young people to enter the wealth planning and related financial services industry. The United States currently has a huge need for financial advisors, and there are a number of opportunities available across multiple career paths.  Best of all, this is a great field for people who want to make a positive difference in others’ lives.

As a society, many people in the U.S. are distressingly illiterate when it comes to their finances.  The U.S. stands in 14th place out of 148 countries in financial literacy according to a 2014 Gallup survey.  And personal finance courses in high schools are currently required by only 17 states according to the Council for Economic Education. This makes the wealth planning/financial advisory services industry incredibly important. I started reading about personal finance in high school when I knew nothing about it, simply thinking it would be a good thing to know when I left home. I became fascinated by what I learned, which ultimately led me to study Personal Financial Planning in college. The more I studied, the more I realized how important the role of a financial advisor plays in helping people set and achieve their long-term financial goals.

Although our general education system is lacking in its personal finance curriculum, you can prepare yourself better than financial advisors in any previous generation using today’s evolving information resources.  College finance programs, which were historically focused on corporate finance and economics, have evolved with personal finance content. Current finance education can provide you with a strong technical background, allowing you to understand the process of selecting a properly allocated and diversified investment portfolio and how to provide the correct financial advice to clients with varying situations, needs and goals.

The timing to enter the wealth planning services industry couldn’t be better. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 30% growth rate for financial advisor positions between 2014-2024, compared with a 7% average growth rate across all occupations. At the same time, the wealth planning workforce is aging.  This means as young people continue to learn and grow, positions will continue to open and offer many opportunities for career advancement. Additionally, as the baby boomer generation transitions out of the workforce, they’ll need financial advisors to help guide them to retirement and transition from saving for retirement to living off their retirement income.

The wealth planning industry is populated by companies comprising a full spectrum of investment philosophies, which means you’ll be able to find a workplace that’s a great fit for you. I started my financial career at a bank, working with customers who had distressed loans. I then transitioned to Portfolio Solutions® because its investment philosophy and values match my own. This alignment of values, combined with a culture of mentorship and investment in employees, has made Portfolio Solutions® a great place for me to grow.  I am able to learn from the more experienced financial advisors as I work towards my Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) designation, and with support from the firm I’m currently studying to take my CFP® exam in 2017.

The best part of my job is that I’m able to help others work toward their financial goals every day, all while gaining the skills to manage my own personal finances. I take pride in knowing that I have an uncommon skill set and am able to use it in the service of others.

There are plenty of resources to learn personal finance skills on your own, even if you don’t want to make a career out of it. Many young, highly skilled professionals lack basic personal finance proficiency, so it’s important to take ownership and start filling in your knowledge gaps.  Picking up the basics on budgeting, saving, and starting an investment account can make a huge difference in your financial situation. Free online classes on personal finance topics are widely available.  Educational websites like the Portfolio Solutions® Latest Learnings pages provide information on a number of financial topics, and there are shelves upon shelves of useful books you can pick up (free at your local library!).

If you’re interested in a career in the wealth planning and related financial services industry now is the time. The company I work for, Portfolio Solutions®, is always looking for strong financial advisors with established client relationships, as well as young talent interested in training to become skilled financial advisors. I’ve progressed a lot in my personal finance education since joining the Portfolio Solutions® team.  And I love the culture of servant leadership, integrity and the genuine interest in development of their team – even going so far as to help fund my Certified Financial Planner™ education.

At Portfolio Solutions®, we provide the full spectrum of wealth planning services so that our clients can work confidently toward their long-term financial goals. And our low-cost, index investment strategies allow our clients to keep more of what the global markets offer, letting them focus on what matters most to them.