The surefire way to land a job after college? Get a degree in financial planning.
“We have a shortage of younger advisors coming into the industry. Only 6% of advisors are under the age of 30, and that poses a lot of problems,” said Tom Nally, TD Ameritrade International president, during a visit to ThinkAdvisor’s New York office. “We need to raise the visibility because most people don’t know about financial planning as a career.”
Nally says only 700 students graduated with a financial planning degree last year in the United States, and only 90 universities offer degree programs in financial planning.
In its efforts to raise awareness, TDAI has awarded its third annual NextGen Financial Planning Grants and Scholarships: a $50,000 grant to the University of North Texas to expand an existing financial planning degree program; a $25,000 grant to Temple University in Philadelphia to help develop a new program; and 14 $5,000 scholarships to students across a variety of universities.
“Our strategy for this is we want to have as broad an impact as possible on as many schools and as many students because ultimately we want to generate a broad base of visibility [on financial planning],” Nally said.
Each year, TDAI has upped the ante starting with one grant and 10 scholarships its first year and growing to the two grants and 14 scholarships today.
“Virtually [a financial planning degree] is a guarantee – if you study and do a good job, you’re going to get a job,” Nally said. “Getting a job is tough. We hear about millennials living with their parents until they’re 30, but here you can get a job with a nice income stream and have a rewarding career right out of school.”
ThinkAdvisor spoke with three of the TDAI scholarship recipients about why they want to be financial planners and how they can have impact on a graying industry. Interestingly, none of them knew of financial planning as a career option when they entered college.
For Anthony Radice, who’s attending William Paterson University in New Jersey, pursuing a degree in financial advisory is a way to give back to those that are less fortunate.
“I really wasn’t aware of the possibility of becoming a financial advisor from the start,” he told ThinkAdvisor. “I feel like it needs a lot more advertising and to let high school students know that this is an actual profession and you can pursue this as a career.”
Radice first learned about the option to become a financial advisor during a financial well-being course. When his family hit hard times financially, he was able to put some of his newly learned financial planning skills to work.
“That was a pretty hard year for our family fiscally,” he said. “I just remember it was really tough, so finance became a word in the house that was an intimidating word. But I feel, as an advisor, it should be a term that empowers an individual.”