An Unconventional Guide to Paying for College

Best and Worst Financial Services Jobs

stock broker

This is part of a Yakezie Blog Swap Series. You can find my post over at The College Investor

Hi, I’m Robert from The College Investor, a personal finance site that focused on saving, investing, and getting out of student loans.

I haven’t held too many jobs in my life, but I’ve had some that I’ve truly enjoyed, and others that I’ve absolutely hated. I’m going to start off what what I discovered as possibly the worst job, because it will lead to my thoughts on the best job.

The Worst Job Ever – Stock Broker

In college, I interned at an independent financial broker. It was an eye-opening experience. When I was in college, I originally thought I wanted to get into finance, and maybe even investment banking. I really enjoyed the topics, and had done well personally investing. I thought that an internship would be the way to go to really get my foot in the door into the investing world.

When I started, I knew that I would be doing pretty menial work, I mean it was an internship. And I was right – my work consistent in a lot of cold calling. But I also got to do some analysis and talk with some brokers and assistants. It was during these conversations that I really started to believe that the worst job ever is being a stock broker.

I started chatting with several brokers about what they were doing with the market, and they all said the same thing – certain mutual funds, and annuities. I asked them why, and they said because these products have high commissions for them. They would brag about selling these products to people, and how they would pocket $5,000 or $10,000. And this was all they did – they were sales reps, not really investment advisers, and they were just making a buck.

Why I think it is a horrible job is that for almost every stock broker, this is the name of the game – you get a list of approved investments to steer clients into, and you’re in it to maximize your personal commission. I learned very quickly this was not what I wanted to do, and that is why it is the worst job!

The Best Job Ever – Fee Based Financial Planner

Based on my experience with the stock brokers, I was really disheartened with the financial services industry. However, I soon discovered that not everyone was in it to make a buck off their clients. At a college investor’s conference, I met a fee-based financial planner. It was great to hear someone speak about how they make investment and estate plans for individuals based on their needs, not based off a sales sheet.

The financial planner talked about how for his fee, he would put together a comprehensive plan for the individual based on what was appropriate for them – some would invest, some would need to focus on savings, others did need insurance products, etc. It was comprehensive, real, and above all, put the clients interest first.

If I ever did work in the financial services field, this would be my dream job – minimal sales, and maximum helping of the client.

Editor’s Note: My first job after graduating college was as a loan broker for a small financial services company. I basically worked as a salesman, trying to close 36% personal loans, and 18% second mortgages. I also had to collect on money by visiting people in their homes! Needless to say, I only worked there a few months. I think a fee based financial planner that provides true value and unbiased wisdom to their clients would be a very fulfilling job. 

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  1. I would much rather be the financial planner and use my knowledge to help others instead of just focusing on making the big bucks because in the end, it’s gonna catch up to you one way or another.

    • @Aaron — I think you’re right. It would be a much more fulfilling life, and a heck of a lot less stressful. You don’t worry about the whims of the market, because you are well balanced and diversified.

  2. I took the coursework necessary to sit for the CFP exam so I would most definitely see myself in the field eventually.

    • @Paul — Thats awesome, and congrats! I think being a fee based financial advisor is quite the admirable job. Hope it goes well!

  3. haha – You read my mind Robert! I was actually thinking about writing about being a stockbroker as one of the worst jobs in the world.

    It’s a sad but true fact that most stock brokers are simply salespeople, not actual financial analysts.

    • @Jacob — Unfortunately this seems to be more and more common. Not cool.

  4. Thanks for hosting my post! I’m glad people agree!

  5. That’s some great experience you got at a young age! Funny, I always thought being a stock broker would be a lot more glorious. It’s too bad that this is what these fairly bright guys (one assumes they have degrees?) are paid to do.

  6. Everyone should ‘get’ to work at a job they really hate for a short time. How else do you know when you really love what you’re doing? Good post.


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