What are you in this industry/occupation?
I am a financial planner because I enjoy the combination of problem solving using my technical knowledge and also advising and working with clients to improve their financial circumstances and have a better chance of achieving their goals. I am a small business owner and therefore run my own business, employing 5 staff.
I have been in this current role for over 13 years and the business has grown from being a sole employee (me) to now a team of 6. Financial planning is traditionally a male dominated area with only about 20% of advisers being women, according to recent estimates. There are many younger women coming into the profession and the representation of women in the younger age groups is growing however there are not many women role models.
What are the benefits?
There are numerous benefits of being a small business owner and a financial adviser. The freedom and flexibility of running your own business is very exciting but comes with risk and responsibility. The benefits of being a financial planner include:
- education of clients and the broader community re financial literacy
- coaching and advising individuals and families on how to achieve their objectives
- applying specialist technical knowledge to solve client problems and develop strategies
- influencing the broader community on the benefits of financial planning and financial literacy
- flexibility in work options – the ability to work varied hours, part time, on contract, remotely, travel opportunities
- ability to specialise in areas suited to your strengths – it could be in paraplanning and deep technical areas, presentations and communications; leading a team and developing talent; being self employed or employed; good remuneration and conditions
What are the drawbacks?
The public and government perception of financial planning is low at present but we have the opportunity to change that. There is continuous learning and professional development commitments, although I don’t see that as a drawback because I think it adds value to you personally, to your clients and the profession. Some roles are office bound. I struggle to think of drawbacks!
Why do you encourage other women and girls to consider this industry/occupation?
There are many and varied opportunities available in the financial planning profession and it is a great area in relation to workplace flexibility. A career can start in admin or paraplanning, move to face to face client advising, management and team leadership positions. Women I think have a natural affinity as advisers due to their soft skills and there is tremendous opportunity for careers in this growing sector. Women can have a significant influence on the profession and the public’s perception of advisers.