If financial planning and new, younger clients are key to the future of the financial advisory industry, then the industry needs to attract young advisors who are interested in planning and not just investment management.
Ian Bloom, a 26-year-old who opened his own financial planning company in Raleigh, North Carolina, less than a year ago, is one example of that advisor of the future.
He’s most interested in financial planning; does not want to push product, but provide clients what they need to reach their financial goals (which aligns with the desires of many millennials); and has his own YouTube channel through which he delivers primers on personal finance topics.
He believes deeply in financial education, transparency of fees and the development of long-term ongoing relationships with clients.
“My generation wants to make a living, but we also want to make a difference,” says Bloom.
He came by the profession through the father of his college girlfriend (now wife), who was in the business, working for a large insurance firm.
Bloom had been a psychology major, hoping to specialize in adolescents, but changed his mind once he realized he would have to get a master’s degree to earn “any meaningful salary” and a doctorate “to make really good money.”
His girlfriend’s father, who worked at Metropolitan Life, helped get him started there, working initially for a salary, then a salary plus commissions earned through the sale of products. Bloom ultimately found himself at MassMutual, which had acquired the MetLife business, disliking the pressure to push product.
During his year at MetLife and MassMutual, Bloom passed his Series 7 and 66 exams and licensing exams to sell life, health and long-term care insurance. Last June he set up his own firm, Open World Financial Life Planning, named for a type of video game that allows players to interact however they want and is “legendarily difficult,” says Bloom.
He’s a gamer who shares an affinity with the gamers and software engineers in his target market. “There is a way that gamers think about the world,” says Bloom. “They’re used to overcoming challenges and setbacks. If you can show a gamer a progress bar comprised of six separate steps [like quests] to overcome, you can help them get their financial life in order.”
He has a YouTube channel called Nerd Finance where he explains in three- to 10-minute videos the importance of investing, the differences between traditional and Roth IRAs and why people need financial advisors, in addition to many other topics.