Ever wondered how to start working towards a career in finance? Here’s what a chartered financial advisor has to say about getting started.
What’s out there for people who want to work in finance?
It depends on where you want to start but there are a few routes in. One possibility is sales as you don’t need any qualifications to get started, and you can earn a lot through facilitating deals on important purchases like cars or home renovating.
You can progress through to working with higher value items which earn more commission, making anywhere between 50 and 80k a year when you’re selling high end goods or more bespoke solutions, like luxury interiors as opposed to fitted kitchens, supercars, yachts etc.
A lot of graduates start out on the phones brokering insurance as a way to get a foot in the door as well. Estate Agency work is another one where you’re negotiating with clients on the phone, and you can work your way up to be a mortgage broker from here, so it’s a very lucrative route to go down if you like building relationships with clients and really getting to know what their situation is.
Accountancy, financial advice and stock brokering have slightly higher barriers to entry in that you need a qualification to get started, but if you’ve already been working in sales for a couple of years and you’re looking for top earnings dealing with bigger numbers, then there’s nothing to stop you studying for a qualification and seeing where it takes you.
What path did you take and why?
I started with kitchen sales, which was basically relationship building with customers looking to make a big purchase. They would come in to make the enquiry and were looking to make a decision, so it was about finding a price point they were comfortable with and giving them a great buying experience.
I knew I wanted to make money from a young age and I always wanted to be a stock broker and I’m good with numbers, even though I failed A level maths! I didn’t go to Uni and instead built my career from networking and making connections with people in the business who had more experience than me, working under their mentorship and studying in my spare time.
What advice would you give to young people starting out?
Qualifications aren’t the be all and end all if you’re interested in a career in finance, then sales can be a great place to start as there are low barriers to entry. Once you have built up 2-3 years of experience in a sales role, you can open more doors through working your way up in a business and/or taking an entry level qualification in a specific area. As an example; people criticise MacDonalds but they’re a good employer because they offer experienced staff their own franchises in the business. Similarly when you look at the CEO of Tesco he started out pushing trolleys at the age of 16, so grafting in a business that can give you opportunities later on down the line is a good thing; at the end of the day it’s you who decides how far you can go.
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