Would financial advisors make good career counsellors?

Would financial advisors make good career counsellors?

Would financial advisors make good career counsellors? Most financial advisors like to stay in their job until retirement – but if you ever do think about changing your profession it seems you have plenty of options.

According to a report by CNBC, financial advisors are often moonlighting as career consultants or even working as headhunters for their clients.

With a client’s career generally seen as the most important aspect of their financial health, the news website has reported on several advisors who have been helping their clients to move to different industries or switch careers.

With that in mind, Wealth Professional reached out to several financial advisors in Canada to see what they would think of the career change and whether they’d be well-equipped for the transition.
“We definitely talk with our clients about their careers but I wouldn’t say we ‘coach’ them on their careers,” said Sean Harrell, partner and senior advisor at Howe Harrell & Associates. “If they are considering a major change in their lives we usually hear about it. 

“Changing jobs is a big deal, whether it’s in the middle of your working years or a transition from a long-term career to a part-time job in retirement. Many times in my 16 years as an advisor I have congratulated a client on reaching retirement only to find that a few months later we’re discussing part-time jobs because they are bored now that golf season is finished.”

Declan Ramsaran, managing director of PANGEA Private Family Offices, believes there are normally specific reasons as to why clients come to advisors for career-related matters.

“Clients do ask me career related questions for two primary reasons: to learn how I can help their kids get into the business; and to understand if they should switch their current profession to work in wealth management instead,” he said.

“For example, the patriarch of a family business recently asked me how his daughter should approach the wealth management business for a career. She recently graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a freshly minted business undergraduate degree and was ready to take on the world. My first question to her was: ‘Why do you want to dedicate your life to this profession?’ Her textbook response was: ‘I want to help people.’

“After learning more about what she expected the profession to be like, I connected her with a friend who led an investment advisory team in the full-service brokerage area of the business for a conversation. After securing a junior associate role in the business, her eventual feedback was that this business is way harder than she thought it would be - and that she was thinking about getting into marketing.”

Harrell also has examples of clients coming to him for career advice.

“A client recently came to me and asked if he could afford to slow down,” he said. “He wanted to know if he needed to continue in his high-stress, high-paying job to retire the way he and his wife hoped to. 

“After discussing and running the numbers we decided it was best for him to step down from his executive roll into a less demanding position. He could afford it and he was on track to meet his goals. Since the switch the client is a whole new person, he’s happier and healthier. His wife actually sent me a private email thanking me for talking things through with him and helping him make the decision to slow down.”

So maybe from these examples we can judge that advisors have much to offer as career counsellors. But what about you: do you have an experience to share? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.