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3 Essential Components of Financial Planner Satisfaction

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There are three components financial planners need in the workplace to build a successful career. I call them the three C’s: culture, community and compensation.

From an employer standpoint, strengthening these three aspects can mean higher talent retention and improved productivity. Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail and see how young planners and firm owners can leverage them to achieve greater success.

(Related: These Millennial Advisors Are Killing It With Younger Clients)


Relationship building is an integral part of a firm’s workplace and one founded on mutual respect. It is important for young planners to engage in roundtable discussions within the workplace because they can learn so much from their more experienced peers. One aspect of a great firm is its building of a culture around the transference of wisdom.

In addition to feeling respected, employees crave a culture that fosters growth, be it through mentorship or ongoing opportunities for continued learning. This can come in various ways, like sending employees to conferences.

Clients are seeking out firms with diverse talent pools, particularly when that diversity is represented at all levels. For instance, some clients look specifically for firms with women in leadership roles or ethnically diverse firms. People of color represent over a third of the American population, with that number projected to grow in coming years. Having a diverse team of young planners can help firms reach a younger and more diverse clientele. Further, ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform ethnically homogenous companies, according to a study by McKinsey.


Culture can be seen as building relationships within your firm, while community is building relationships outside the firm. Some of the most successful workplace cultures are those with a strong sense of community outside of their practices.

As financial planners, we cannot wait until business development is a part of our job to begin networking. Begin establishing those contacts as early as possible. Your workplace should encourage this type of community building.

Opportunities for young planners to network with other members of the financial community, such as estate planners and tax professionals, can provide the building blocks for future, long-term career success. When young planners are then promoted to business development roles in a few years, they will be able to tap into this established community of financial professionals and leverage these connections to grow their careers.


Millennials joined the workforce in a different economy from previous generations. We have the largest student loan debt of any generation in history. Most of us feel uncomfortable working off of commission, as is customary in some large broker-dealer firms. Because of this, retention tends to be low as young planners search for more stable incomes. Although millennials are accused of switching jobs more frequently than previous generations, CNBC reported that almost 90% of millennials said they would stay in their current position for the next 10 years if they knew they could get annual raises and upward mobility.

Compensation is not only about higher pay. Many firm owners make the mistake of thinking requests for higher compensation mean a play for a bigger paycheck. In reality, fair compensation is about feeling respected and valued. Alternative forms of compensation — from flex time to paying for employees to attend conferences — can not only improve employee retention, but also can add value to the company by making planners more productive.

Employee satisfaction is an ongoing mission for financial planning firms. As young planners and firm owners begin to establish themselves in the field, they should look for three core traits in their workplace: A culture that fosters personal growth, a diverse community inside and outside the workplace, and fair compensation. With the three C’s of employee satisfaction in place, both young planners and firm owners will be able to succeed in the financial planning field.

— Read Hire Top Next-Gen Advisors to Address Next-Gen Issues on ThinkAdvisor.