Industry Insights: Careers in Financial Planning

What is financial planning? This is exactly the question four industry professionals sought to answer during the Department of Finance’s first in-person Meet and Greet. Held in Stephens Hall on a Friday afternoon in early October, more than 50 students, faculty, and staff gathered to glean advice from local firms including Greenspring Advisors, Financial Consulate, Jacob William Advisory, and Life Science Wealth.

For many, the financial planning profession conjures images of cut-throat, unscrupulous individuals chasing wealth. This reputation is reinforced by shows like Showtime’s Billions or HBO’s Industry. But, as Patrick Collins, CFP®, Graham Ewing, CFP®, and Dan Morrison, CFP® pointed out, this is no longer the case. The industry has changed. Financial planning isn’t just about advising people on investments, nor is it just about finance.

Patrick Collins, CFP®, partner, CEO and co-founder of Greenspring Advisors says, “Managing investments is 20% of the job, soft skills make up the remaining 80%.”

Graham Ewing, CFP®, TU alum and director of financial planning standards at Financial Consulate added, “You need to be able to communicate with clients.”

When discussing skills required to succeed as a financial planner, the professionals agreed, data analysis, communication, and problem-solving are important. Above all, however, is the desire to work with and help people. Chris Sarlo, CFP®, wealth consultant at Life Science Wealth and Graham Ewing, CFP® both noted that relationship management is a massive part of being a financial planner.

Patrick Collins and Dan Morrison, CFP®, founding partner & wealth advisor at Jacob Williams added that the goal of today’s financial planner is to “make people’s lives better.”

If helping people isn’t incentive enough, the CFP Board reports that financial planning offers plenty of job opportunities for tomorrow’s young professionals. In fact, the U.S. Labor Department estimates that jobs in this field will increase at a rate of seven percent through 2028, faster than the average job growth rate.

To learn more about financial planning and whether or not it’s the right career path for you, reach out to senior lecturer Chinedum Nwadiora or visit their web page. The opportunities are endless!