By Scott Keegan, Associate Wealth Advisor
An old school friend recently took a financial advisor job with a large broker-dealer that toted itself on financial planning. He soon learned that his job was to try and sell life insurance to his friends and family.
His pay after six months was 100% commissions from the products sold.
I had recently decided to pursue a career in financial planning, and I knew from talking with my friend that his new job was not the type of position I desired.
As I researched the industry during my career change, it took little time for me to learn that the term “financial advisor” was broadly used to describe very different positions depending on the firm.
I found that for financial advisors working at broker-dealers, commissions are often the name of the game. While selling for commission is not inherently bad in and of itself, it can create a conflict of interest for the person trying to sell the investment product to a client.
Working in a sales position while masquerading as a financial advisor did not seem very appealing to me.
I genuinely want to help clients develop the best financial plan to help them pursue their goals, rather than pocket commissions because I could convince someone that they “needed” a certain investment product.
I was looking for a financial planning position with a firm that focused on planning and putting their clients’ interests first and foremost.
I kept my eye on job listings for financial advisors/planners in the St. Joseph area. Most of the job listings were those large broker-dealer financial advisor jobs whose compensation was based on product commissions.
After months of searching, a Gertsema Wealth listing caught my eye thanks to one sentence: “This is not a sales position, our priority is planning.”
During my interview, I expressed my desire to join a financial planning firm where I would not be a financial salesman.
Nick explained how that same desire was precisely why they had left the broker-dealer world to lead their own Registered Investment Advisory firm.
Throughout my interview, it became clear that Mike and Nick wanted to act as fiduciaries for their clients and were not here to sell a product.
The fee-based planning they provide eliminates the conflict of interest that commissions-from-products creates for many other financial advisors.
The scope of the financial plans that they created also blew me away. While other financial advisors are often limited to a handful of investment products, Mike and Nick were offering clients cash flow analysis, tax planning, retirement income planning and estate planning.
This was truly a night and day difference from the majority of financial advisor positions at large firms.
I knew I wanted to be a part of Gertsema Wealth instantly. I am excited to help clients in their different financial situations and truly make a difference.
Learn more about me here.