GF¢ 056: The 7 Rules on How to Become (and stay) a Successful Financial Advisor

Curious on the tools I use to run (and grow) my financial planning practice? You can get free access to the free report here.

How do you define success?

Success can come from many aspects: life, career, family.

Often I get asked how I became a financial advisor and what has led to my success.

When someone views me as successful, I’m always flattered.  While I do consider myself successful, I’m also very humble.

By industry standards, I’m just a pea.

I’m not a rainmaker, not a million dollar producer, not one of Forbes Top 100 financial advisors.

I don’t have hundreds of millions under management.

successful financial advisor

Most big time producers would probably chuckle if they knew the size of my book of clients.

So why do others and myself consider me to be successful?   Because I love what I do (and it shows) and get paid very well to help people each and every day.

Being a financial advisor is not easy.  That’s something  I really didn’t know when I got started in the business because my naivety and inexperience– but quickly found out.

How hard is it to get started?

When I began my career with A.G. Edwards & Sons in 2002, I was in a training class of around 55 people.  My class ranged from 23 year-olds, like myself, starting their careers to 50+ year-olds attempting a third career.  After completing training and being “in production” (better know as licensed to sell) for a year, our class of 55 had been slashed to less than half.

At my five year anniversary mark, there were only 5 of us left.

If you’re a numbers geek and you use my class as an example of your odds of surviving, then you have a 91% chance that you are going to fail if you decide to become a financial advisor.

How do you like your odds?
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5 Ways You’re Networking Terribly Wrong

We’ve all been there.

You’re at an event and get cornered by a narcissist.

You try to escape, but it’s no use.

You’re stuck in networking hell.

In life — and especially in business — your network is everything.

Author and former Yahoo director Tim Saunders says it this way:

“Your network is your net worth.”

One man that knows about networking is John Corcoran, an attorney, entrepreneur and founder of

By networking, he was 23 when he landed a job at the White House. He now shares with others how to build better relationships in business.

networking wrong

One of the best ways to grow your income is to grow your network; however, a lot of people get networking wrong. They are in it for just themselves instead of trying to help others. Here are five common mistakes.
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The Top 16 Careers for the Future

Unless you’re one of the lucky ones that knows what they want to do when they grow up at birth, then finding the perfect career path is never an easy decision.

Always keep in mind that finding your dream job often comes after having a variety of experiences in different industries before settling into that perfect fit.

best careers for the future

I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was a baby per se, but I’m fortunate to have stumbled into becoming a financial planner.

It has by far been the job of my dreams and thus far the only real career job I’ve had.  I don’t consider my time in college selling vitamins at GNC a real “career job”. :)

The economy, social trends and technology have a great deal to do with the jobs that are available. Keeping on top of career trends and the areas that offer the most growth is one way to choose the path that will provide the most opportunity and stability.
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The Ultimate Guide in Helping You Become a Physician’s Assistant

This is a guest post by Jessica Rodriguez Ohanesian, MS, PA-C. She is the author of the upcoming book, The Ultimate Guide to the Physician Assistant Profession.

Jessi reached out to me when she was first working on her book because she wanted to use some material from my blog in her book. I think that was the first time anyone ever asked me to be in their book so of course I was pumped!

Jessi is very passionate about her career as a physician’s assistant and it shows. If you’re interest in becoming a physician’s assistant, read her story below and definitely check out her book.

Enter Jessi….

become physician assistant career
Physician Assistants (PAs) are healthcare professionals licensed to practice medicine autonomously with physician supervision and are among the fastest growing professions in medicine. Over 60 different areas and clinical specialties of medical and surgical practice utilize PAs.
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3 Crucial Tips to Build Your Network {That Really Work}

The following is a guest post by Seth Fargher from Having been in a business for over 10 years, I can attest to the power of networking. It’s amazing what one small connection can lead to. What makes that even more exciting is that you never know who or when that connection may come.

Business Networking Tips 101:  Three Imperatives to Creating Valuable, Working Relationships

One Contact can Make All the Difference

networkingAbout nine months ago I was let go from a job I loved where I felt, and everyone around me agreed, that I was doing a great job at.

It came as a shock to me and several of my co-workers but sometimes things just happen.

I worked for an off-road products company which was somewhat of a dream come true for me personally but also gave me an opportunity to build relationships with some of the biggest names and organizations in that industry.
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Don’t Choke! 10 Interview Questions (with Answers) That Will Help You Land Your Dream Job

Adjusting my tie for the 17th time, I nervously walked into the branch manager’s over sized office.

Decorated by a professional with of one of the largest oak desks I’ve ever seen, it made me feel even more out of my league.

The branch manager made A LOT of money and was not afraid to show it.

The job market was scarce with the Dot-com bubble still having it’s effect on the economy and many of my college classmates were having trouble finding a job.

Common Interview Questions and answers

This was my first “real” interview. Sure I had interviewed at McDonald’s, various mall jobs, and few office type positions.

But this was my career and I wanted to be a financial advisor.

Even though I had the backing of one of the top producers in the office, I still had to get the blessing of the branch manager.

To do that, I had to give an awesome interview.

No pressure!

Whether you are going on your first or your 400th interview, it is always possible for an interview question to catch you flat-footed. And since the interview is your prospective employer’s first impression of you, even one poorly thought-out answer can nix any hopes you might have for working for the company.

Here are 10 common interview questions, along with the right and wrong way to answer them:
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How Being a Quitter and a Dropout Made Me More Successful

Of all the stratagems, to know when to quit is the best. – Chinese Proverb

Quit to Win?

I am not proud of it, but I am a quitter.

I have always put my all into everything I do, and it’s a characteristic that I am really proud of.

If I have committed to something, I do everything in my power to stick it out until the end.

This is the message that I share with people as encouragement when they’re struggling with an issue. I encourage them to stop thinking about how to quit and focus on how NOT to quit – to push through it and finish whatever it is.

The only thing that haunts me when I’m telling people not to be a quitter is that it’s not entirely true!

I know that there are things in life that I have quit; while most of them were minor, the one that lingers with me is my attempt at getting an MBA.

I enrolled in the MBA program at my university and after taking only one class I dropped out.  It’s almost embarrassing to admit that, being that I consider myself to be successful!
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How to Kick the CPA Exam’s Butt and Become an Accountant

CPA Exam Test Taking Strategies

After studying my butt off and passing the CFP® exam, I have no desire on taking another test again.


There was a brief moment (about 2 seconds to be exact) where I thought about taking the CPA exam.

Then reality set in and I have looked back ever since.

Previously, I shared Amber’s personal story on how she passed the CPA exam and became an accountant.

Better her than I.  :)

Today, I have a guest post from Bisk Education on proven CPA exam test taken strategies.

So if you’re brave enough to sit for the CPA exam, this post is for you.  Enter Bisk…..
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How to Find a Trustworthy Online Course

trustworthy online coursesThere are a never ending assortment of online courses to choose from, and many people are turning to them to learn from the comfort of their own homes.

They are easier to attend as well when most people have a very busy schedule and don’t have time to go to a university or other location.

But just because they are easier to attend, does that mean they are easier to pass?

My experience = a big fat “No”.

I’ve attempted a few online course, one in college and one for my professional career and both failed miserably.

As I’ve learned, I need to actually be a classroom environment if I have any hope in learning anything.

Despite my struggles, online courses are even gaining in global popularity because of the flexibility there is in training from your own home.

Plus the other great advantage to these online courses is the fact that you can learn at your own pace while you continue working, and online courses are updated regularly and are usually very affordable.
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Your Personal Definition of Success – What Motivates You Each Day?

your personal definition of successI was at lunch the other day with a friend that I hadn’t spoken with in years.

During the lunchtime conversation, he made the comment, “Man, how did you get so successful?”

At first, I dismissed it, as often I get embarrassed by such complimentary remarks.

But when I started driving back to the office after the meeting, I got wondering – wow, am I really that successful? 

One of the biggest obstacles to overcome as an entrepreneur is constantly shortchanging yourself; always having doubts that you could have done a little more, made a little more, put a little more time in.

Essentially, we, entrepreneurs,  are never satisfied.

I’ve often had to take a step back and ask myself what my personal definition of success was, and I realize it’s not always about the money.
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4 Ways You Are Screwing Up Your New Job Search and How to Fix It

Let me just say it.  Being on a job search is like being on a big rollercoaster ride in Hell’s worst amusement park.

Am I right or am I right?

Yet, you have to get on that coaster, strap yourself in, and hope that when the ride ends you are still in possession of your self-esteem and your wits.

Not to mention, of course, that when the ride ends you must have landed a job that makes good use of your skills and talents, and that pays enough to keep you flush with life’s extras, like food.

Yet, because no one has probably taught you how to find a job, let alone the right job, you are likely making mistakes that are screwing up your search.

And by “screwing up,” I mean either prolonging it unnecessarily, or landing a job that is not a good fit.

If you have ever been in a job that is not a good fit, you know how painful it is and how it impacts every area of your life, from your finances to your personal relationships.

As a reader of the Good Financial Cents blog, I’m betting that you are someone who likes concise, commonsensical, actionable advice.   I see you nodding your head, so let’s jump right in.
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Is College Overrated? The Top 21 Highest Paying Jobs with NO College Degree

“You have to go to school to get a good job.”

Looking for a fun job that pays well? Scared that the cause of unemployment may be growing? Sign for free at and see who’s hiring today!

That was a phrase that my father continually beat into my head harder than Lars Ulrich could pound on his bass drum. (In case there is a generation gap, Lars is the drummer from the rock band Metallica).

While I’m thankful that I followed my father’s advice and obtained my finance degree, an interesting article by Wallet caught my curiosity. The article had taken a look at some of the highest paying jobs that one could get with no college degree.

top paying jobs no college degree required

College is freaking expensive! According to College the average cost for one year of tuition is $7000. The cost of a full four year degree is increasing every year, making the idea of getting that beloved college a degree a pipe dream. So what are your other options?


Break in the program. This is a good plug for joining the military. 4 years of college all paid for and then some.  I just checked the rates for student loans at and while they are not terrible I did much better by working for Uncle Sam, earning a salary, and getting college paid for.  Plug is over. Back to the post….


There are many careers that you can obtain without an actual degree, but most require either a trade school certification, or just time on the job and working your way up through the ranks.

A trade school certificate can be obtained in as soon as six months, or as long as four years. Best part is that these jobs pay well – some very well!
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