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I have been in the FA arena for just over a year. I was also a career changer. There are alternatives to building a client base by cold-calling and using your natural market. Although, I will say that once your family and friends accept that you know what you are doing, and open up their current financial strategy to you, you will most likely be amazed at how little they know, and how much value your assistance will provide. I saved my parents approximately $300,000 in estate taxes, for instance, simply by working with their attorney to set up an estate plan. I also gained a "Center of Influence" with the attorney, where we can help each other's business by referring clients.

Most FA positions are commission-based and do require selling. However, I have found it is not "selling" in the traditional sense of the word, where you talk someone into buying something that benefits you more than it does them. Most new advisors (at least the ones I have seen come and go) look at the job with a "me first" attitude, where the client gets some value, but not as much as they could. If you go into the FA world genuinely looking to help others achieve what is possible and to educate your clients, the "selling" part is an afterthought. After several meetings with clients, you put together a sound strategy based on their ability to save, timeline, outlook, risk tolerance, etc. If you are ethical, and I am sure you are, you recommend the best products available to them and explain why you chose those particular financial vehicles.

I let each client know before they sign anything or buy any product, EXACTLY what I am going to earn from their using that particular product. This does two things: 1) It shows honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness and 2) It gives the client reassurance that I will do the right thing for them, which makes it easier for them to recommend me to their friends and family.

The cold calls are avoided by building a business based on referrals, or "warm introductions". If I do the right thing for a client, and they have friends that share a similar situation, I typically can help the friends as much, or more, to achieve their goals. That keeps you off the phones and in front of people.

I may be wrong, so buzman correct me if so, but in order to become fee-based in the FA world, you typically have to start on the commissioned side, as you have to pass all of the licensing criteria, which takes some time to do. Most companies will not pay you to study for all of the testing because of the turnover rate (which, again, will not affect you unless you are in the business out of greed and greed alone). So, unless you have a large nest egg to get you through the testing phase financially, get used to the idea of "selling", in a good way.

I love the job and the freedom it provides. I never did drink the "you'll be rich in 3-5 years" Kool-Aid, but will say that with the right attitude and work ethic (I work just 40 hours a week, but do WORK the entire time), $150k and beyond is certainly achievable in a few years. I earned close to $80k in the last 12 months, and anticipate $100 in the next 12.

Search yourself as to your motivation and why you want to go into this business, and if it is for the right reasons, go for it. Good luck.

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