Radical Personal Finance Episode 312-Q&A: What's It Actually Like to Start a Career as a Financial Advisor with a Big Insurance Company? My Own Experiences from the Trenches!

Today, I respond in detail to this question from a listener:

Hi Joshua,

I have been really into personal finance for about 5 years now and am considering becoming a financial advisor, specifically with a large company like you used to work for.

I am currently a 31 year old physician making around $150,000. I have spent a long time preparing for my career, but I am always drawn to becoming a financial advisor.

The medical field is becoming increasingly draining with charting, liability, decreasing reimbursement, increased regulations etc.

The problem is in my career I can only make so much money. I can see some more patients everyday, but eventually you can only work so much and with that will just take more time.

I already work from 8am-8pm everyday not even including my commute. More patients would just add more time to that. Quite frankly, with the liability and difficult patients I see all the time, I don’t think I am paid enough of a premium to take on the risks I take.

I know everyone says they aren’t paid enough, but I can literally be sued for anything, especially the surgeries I do. In addition, the aggravation of arguing with some patients on deductibles they owe, co pays etc. I don’t know if you know what its like to argue with someone about a $32 bill after giving them necessary medical services because they have “insurance” and feel they are entitled to everything medically related for free, but it is draining.

I would love to hear your thoughts on becoming a financial advisor with a company like you were with.

  • What were the pros and cons?
  • What kind of income can I expect and within how long? I have spoken to a few agents, but I know you will give me the “real” story.
  • What was a day like for you?
  • When did you really start taking off with your career there?
  • Do a lot of people not make it? Why not?
  • How do you actually make money as an advisor? Consulting fees? Ongoing commissions? Upfront fees for selling something?
  • Do you develop a niche or do everything? Estate planning, group benefits, just individual consultation, etc.?
  • I always imagine being in a nice, clean office, creating a plan for people’s finances. Is there a bad side to the business in terms of lifestyle?
  • Is it really difficult finding clients? I know there are hundreds of thousands of advisors so there is a lot of competition.
  • Does the location where you practiced as a financial advisor make a big difference in income/quality of life and if there is a big gap in income between places like West Palm Beach, FL vs Dallas, TX vs Northern Virginia near DC, etc.
  • Also, is it easy to transition from one location to another once you get started or is that a huge set back?

I am a religious listener to your show. Not only have I listened to every episode, but I have done so numerous times. I have all the frugality and investment stuff down for the most part, but trying to explore the whole quality of life and “work as if I can never retire” type of mentality.

This is obviously a huge decision so I wanted to get as much detail on the job as possible.

I would really appreciate your advice and promise I will follow up with you to let you know how everything turns out. I understand how busy you are so if you can’t spare any time on this, I understand.

Thanks so much.

K

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