What’s it like working as a financial advisor?
Although Jordan McLoughlin’s official title at Freedom 55 is financial security advisor, you could also say that he specializes in the future.
McLoughlin helps his clients with many aspects of their short and long-term planning, including investments, insurance, and retirement savings. He’s been with Freedom 55 for over 11 years and finds that no two days are exactly alike.
“What we do is fairly comprehensive,” McLoughlin said. “You look at some of the biggest stressors in life, and money’s certainly one of them. Being able to navigate through that, to put someone in a better situation, that’s probably the most enjoyable part of the job; meeting a variety of people and being able to help them.”
Wondering if this could be a career for you? Here’s what to expect working as a financial advisor.
More than anything else, McLoughlin’s job revolves around relationships.
For a financial advisor, establishing and nurturing a client base is crucial. That means you need to understand not just the specific financial and planning needs of every client you work with, but also when and how to communicate with them.
Sometimes it feels like there’s an endless number of people and organizations offering insurance, investment, or planning services. In a competitive environment like that, the best way to distinguish yourself is by being yourself.
“I’ve said this for years and years; when someone buys from me they’re not necessarily buying the product I’m putting in front of them. They’re buying me,” McLoughlin explained.
If you like a little variety in your work week, the life of a financial planner could appeal to you.
McLoughlin explains that he doesn’t really have a “typical” day. From a financial perspective, he handles investment planning, retirement savings, and both long and short-term savings. On the risk management side, he offers life, disability, and critical-illness insurance.
His work life revolves around meeting face-to-face with clients, dealing with client inquiries, pursuing new clients, and other general office and administrative tasks.
“Most advisors do try to create some kind of routine mainly for the sake of productivity, but the order those things happen change from day to day,” he explained.
Having honest conversations
It can be hard for some people to take a frank look at their finances, but it’s the job of a financial advisor to make clients get realistic about their resources. McLoughlin says the right approach can make a huge difference, and that honesty is truly the best policy.
“Often it’s a matter of simply showing them,” McLoughlin said.
“It helps to give real examples as opposed to flat-out telling someone they’re crazy or their goals are too lofty. It becomes a conversation around the numbers and deciding whether to adjust their goals or to develop a new strategy that will get them there. But it all starts with being honest and real.”
The ebb and flow of commission
Most, but not all, financial planners are commission-based, which suits McLoughlin well.
“It’s a risk-reward thing. You can make a really good income, but there are days that are slower than others, commission wise,” he said.
“If you’re efficient enough, it usually works out in your favour in the end.”
Forging lasting connections
Financial advisors can be involved in surprisingly personal situations with their clients – for instance, delivering a life insurance cheque to a family in mourning. In more happy circumstances, a particularly valued advisor might receive an invitation to a wedding or celebration.
“When you’re invited to a family event, or even when they start referring you, that’s when it comes full circle,” McLoughlin said.
“When they start referring you to their friends, families, and colleagues, that’s a real compliment. It’s a sign that you’re doing a good job for them and they see value in your work. It can be really fulfilling.”
Click here to find out more about financial advisor jobs at Freedom 55.
– Follow Workopolis on Twitter
– Sign up for the Workopolis Weekly newsletter
– Listen to Safe for Work, the Workopolis podcast