At 22 years old I had done everything it took to earn the title “Financial Advisor”. Sounds impressive, right? While it felt that way at the time, it really wasn't at all. I hadn’t completed any intense training program or been an apprentice to an experienced advisor or gone to a school just for it. I literally had only passed a 250-question test. And by passed, I mean earned over a 72%.
Shouldn’t it be just as hard to become a financial advisor as it is to become an attorney or doctor? Advisors are advising people on what to do with one of most important parts of their life, their wealth. How is passing a 250-question test qualify someone to do that? And most of the test was just on regulations in the industry, not on how to actually advise.
Attorneys and doctors are required to successfully complete years and years of schooling and to pass an intense certification exam. They are required to show they know how to do their job before being allowed to actually do it. Advisors are just tested on small details about how trades occur and how long it takes for the money to “settle”. How does that qualify them to tell an investor which investment is best for their personal situation or where to save for their biggest life goals?
I wish the industry and regulators required intense training and schooling to earn the title financial advisor. Instead they allow someone to say they are an advisor by just passing a test. And the “training” they get after passing the exam is usually just sales training. It’s typically just tactics on how to sell certain products that their employers created.
So, how can investors make sure they are working with a REAL advisor and not just an “advisor”? Look for two simple traits. Look for someone who you pay for advice, not products, and who shows they want to learn how to advise by earning one of these certifications/degrees:
- Certified Financial Planner
- Chartered Financial Analyst
- Certified Private Wealth Advisor
- Master’s in Financial Planning
- Chartered Financial Consult
- Certified Investment Management Analyst
While these don’t guarantee a good advisor, they show that the advisor has taken another step to be an actual advisor and learn how to advise not sell. Each of these programs have fairly intense educational requirements and large bodies of knowledge that one must learn to then pass multiple exams to earn their certification or degree.
Remember, this is YOUR financial future and YOUR wealth. Don’t settle for someone who isn’t qualified to advise.
If you have any questions or want to learn more about how it feels to work with a REAL financial advisor, reach out. We would love to talk.