Putting Your Financial Education to Work: From Writer to Planner

Financial Education ImageAre you a financial writer or personal finance blogger who constantly provides advice, tips, and ideas on better money management to readers? Is your passion is already focused on finance, and you have a desire to do more to put your financial education and desire to help others to work?

There's never been a better time than now to consider taking the next step: working as a financial planner!

As a financial planner, you can create a career based on helping others reach financial success. You can get paid for your advice and your recommendations. And you can serve a market that is virtually ignored by the traditional planning industry: Gen Y and Gen X clients, young professionals, young families -- those that need financial planning advice the most, but who big firms aren't interested in because they haven't amassed large assets yet.

This is an opportunity to put your financial education to work for someone else who needs it. You can create the road map and work with your clients as they build those assets, and celebrate with them as they reach bigger milestones and financial success.

But where to start? How to you take your knowledge and desire to help others with their finances to the next level? Have you been dreaming of starting a planning firm, only to realize you have no idea what all is involved? How do you start to figure out compliance, marketing, technology, business management, operations, and more?

Why Serve Gen X and Gen Y Financial Planning Clients?

The first thing to understand is that financial planning is changing -- especially when it comes to younger clients.

When you work to help Gen X and Gen Y clients, planning is far from boring. And it's way more than just crunching numbers and managing assets for commissions.

In fact, these clients aren't interested in that service model. They want actionable advice, mapped-out plans, and recommendations based on their specific situations. And they want to pay for it as they do other services: on a fee-based, monthly model, just like any other bill.

Financial planning for NextGen clients can be downright fun, and the services these clients want from planners probably mirror your own interests as a writer or blogger. You can help people figure out...

  • how to make more money or create a side hustle.
  • how to launch a business.
  • how to plan and develop their career.
  • how to reach financial independence and early retirement.

It's not all about traditional retirement planning. In fact, we're moving away from that into other areas of personal finance. It is about helping people make the most of their money today while saving for tomorrow so they can live the life of their dreams -- at every stage of the process.

What About Investment Management?

Today's financial planners working under the fee-only model have a choice when running their own practices. You can choose to manage investments for your clients, or you can outsource these services to another provider. It doesn't have to be one way or the other.

What most fee-only advisors do have in common is that they emphasize getting paid for their financial planning advice. In other words, their clients pay them for their expertise and knowledge in all areas of their personal finances. That can include investment management, but it's not required to run a successful practice.

What Are the Legal Requirements?

The first step to becoming a financial planner is to study for and pass the Series 65 exam. This allows you to become a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), which is legally required to give (and get paid for) advice related to investments.

Even if you don’t manage investments, you need to be an RIA to give specific advice on retirement accounts such as 401(k)s. At XYPN, we also encourage future advisors to pursue the CFP® designation. The education is invaluable to helping your clients, and would allow you to charge more for your time as your expertise grows.

How Much Can Financial Planners Charge for Services?

The advisory industry has traditionally charged to manage assets, but the readers of many personal finance blogs and financial media don’t have that kind of money. A good alternative is a monthly subscription fee model for financial planning services.

The more you narrow your niche market and the more experience you have, the more you can charge. That being said, $1,000 upfront for new clients and $100 to $200/month for ongoing financial planning services is a common starting place for new advisors. You can also offer personal finance courses, charge $100-$200/hour for as-needed advice, and more.

Wait -- Who Will Pay You for Your Financial Planning?

If you've been blogging or writing for financial media outlets, you may get paid per word or per article -- or, if your blog isn't monetized (or you're unable to sell products or advertising off your site), you may not make anything at all. Will people pay you for financial planning instead?

Yes! And you can make your payment system work for both you and your clients. By charging a monthly subscription fee, you can provide comprehensive financial planning at a price point most of your readers can afford. How many will tell you they can’t afford a financial planner for $100/month?

They pay more than that for their cell phone, cable bill, and CrossFit membership! You already have a base of potential clients in your audience, and many of those people will happily pay for your ongoing, one-on-one expertise. You just have to make the service available to them.

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Financial Planner?

Advisors can get everything they need in place to start a firm for under $10,000. This includes compliance, technology, website development, and more. Since developing a website, brand, and logo is the most expensive line item for new firms, your existing blog, brand, or online platform will help you get underway for even less.

Interested in Learning More?

XY Planning Network is thrilled about attending FinCon Expo 2014: a peer conference for financial bloggers, writers, and media members. It's happening next week in New Orleans, and we'll be there to help show you how you can make the transition from writer or blogger to financial planner.

Will you be at FinCon? Be sure to let us know and stop by our booth in the Expo hall! We'll also be giving a presentation at Ignite FinCon to help kick off the conference on Thursday evening. We'd love to see you there -- and help you become the next financial planner specializing in serving Gen X and Gen Y clients.

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