As a person who just hired a grad- uate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Personal Financial Planning (CFP) program, the February 2005 cover story, “The Great Divide,” doesn’t come as a total surprise.
Twice I’ve spoken to a group of these students and they stood in line waiting to hear more from me. They are taught by a Ph.D. who was once a practitioner in the industry and is a CFP. He imparts to them the importance of objectivity, removing conflicts of interest, and putting the client’s needs first.
Then these bright young eager graduates start jobhunting and they are so depressed. Guess who’s doing most of the hiring? Wirehouses (they hear they’ll be doing a lot of cold calling) and insurance companies (they hear they’ll be a captive agent). Based on what they learned in school, they don’t want to work in these kinds of environments.
Based on the experience I had with the young man we hired (we had him as an intern prior to his graduation and didn’t want to lose him), I’ll be hiring more planners out of college programs. For one, they have no bad habits to break, and the students I’ve had the most experience with seem to want to help others.
I’ve also met those that I’m sure want to go into this profession for the money, even at the expense of the client. But then, every profession faces this same scenario.
From what I’m hearing from these students, there just aren’t enough jobs available doing the kind of “good financial planning” that they want to do.
Janet Tyler Johnson
Clifton Gunderson LLP
Pay Your Dues First
While you raised some valid points in your February cover story on how the financial planning business can improve with respect to the utilization of new hires (“The Great Divide”), I believe you failed to consider a number of salient factors.
I’m a sole practitioner and I do all the “dirty work” at my firm. I have an intern that comes in once a week. The intern does nothing that I don’t also do.
I practiced law for 14 years. After graduating law school, you don’t start out with the glory work, you start out with the junk work and slowly progress.
Medical school graduates don’t start doing complex medical procedures upon graduation. They have a number of years of internship and residency–long hours and low pay–before they achieve any real responsibility and financial reward.
While the graduates of financial planning programs may be technically competent, there is something to be said for maturity, which gives you many intangibles that are part of dealing with clients in the financial planning process.
Only $50,000 a year? How much do teachers make? How much do other graduates with a B.A. make? Young lawyers in small towns probably don’t make much more.
Only $50,000 a year? Maybe that’s what the market rate is. Maybe there is a glut of graduates from financial planning programs. In a capitalist society, that’s how the law of supply and demand works.
Only $50,000 a year? As in the law firms I worked in, those who bring in the business get paid more than the more technically competent lawyers who don’t bring in clients.
Other than sports, there are not too many professions where you start out on top.
Bruce M. Wiener, CFP
Too Young To Know
Your article by Angela Herbers, “The Great Divide,” brings to mind the old saying about the four stages of one’s career. The first stage is “incompetent and don’t know it,” the second stage is “incompetent and do know it,” the third stage is “competent and don’t know it,” and, finally, “competent and do know it.”