Financial Planning

Why you should consider a career in financial planning

04 November 2019

Andrew Dunbar

Andrew Dunbar CFP® is a Director and Senior Financial Planner at Apt Wealth Partners, which is part of the FPA Professional Practice program that recognises the highest calibre financial planning practices within the profession.

Despite all the challenges facing the profession, a career in financial planning still provides many opportunities.

There’s no denying that the financial planning industry is experiencing its fair share of challenges. From changes to education standards requiring some established planners to return to study or lose their career, to the Royal Commission recommendations making large-scale change to long-held business models, it’s been a volatile year.

We have seen the negative impacts this can have, from planners leaving the industry in droves to burnout, depression and a range of mental health issues. So, it’s not really surprising that less and less people are considering financial planning as a career option.

I am certainly not making light of any of these issues – it’s a very serious situation for people whose livelihood has been impacted, but in my experience, there are many fantastic things about working in the industry. Now is a great time to consider a career in financial planning.

From a high-level, you only need to look at the numbers to see that it is a great time to become a financial planner. According to the latest ABS statistics, the industry is stable with potential for future growth, unemployment is low, and the average salary is $2,307 per week, 45 per cent higher than the national average.

More than numbers

That certainly stacks up well, but for me, and most planners I know, it’s about so much more than the numbers.

My own journey to a financial planning career started at the early age of 12.

At primary school, we played an ongoing classroom game, a type of game of life, where you had to earn money, buy houses and so forth. Throughout the game, I worked my way up to becoming the bank manager, where I was lending people money to reach their ‘life’ goals. I found it really rewarding, even in a game, and it’s something that stayed with me.

Still today, it is the thing I enjoy most about my career – and something many people don’t realise from the outside looking in. As a financial planner, you play a pivotal role in your client’s lives. Unlike an accountant or a lawyer, who have important roles at particular points, your role is ongoing. You see your clients learn to manage their money, grow to reach their goals, and then help them set new ones and see them reach those too.

In fact, research shows that Australians who consult a financial planner are generally happier than those who don’t. Knowing you are making a real difference in people’s lives is a great motivator, even on the coldest Monday morning.

Meaningful relationships

As a financial planner, you are also there during some of the most emotional times in life – both good and bad. We’ve helped clients achieve not just financial goals but life ones – starting a family, getting married, buying a house, retiring, and reaching financial freedom. It’s incredibly rewarding.

On the other end of the scale, we are there when it’s time to consider aged care, when a client loses a loved one, and even at the end of their own lives – we genuinely build meaningful, lifelong relationships with our clients. And while it can be difficult emotionally, it is certainly a privilege to be a trusted adviser during these times in someone’s life.

Diversity and variety

You can really build the career you want in financial planning. For some, working at the big banks might be the goal, for others a smaller firm or even their own shop is the best fit. But wherever you choose to work, your clients will be diverse; everyday can be as different as the clients you choose to work with.

Opportunities abound

It is true that a combination of new regulations and educational standards have caused an exodus, but for newcomers, this presents an opportunity. Job numbers are strong today, and this is only set to increase, as the number of planners is predicted to drop in the next four years.

The combination of an ageing population, rising house prices, increased focus on superannuation, and continual legislation and tax changes have created a perfect storm, whereby more and more people are going to need financial advice. It’s likely we will need many more planners in the coming years, not less. This will lead to more opportunity and quite likely, even higher wage growth.

In my opinion, the time has come for the industry to refocus, remember why we do what we do, and get back to what it is we do best – helping people reach their goals and achieve financial freedom.

And if you or someone in your family is looking for a rewarding and fulfilling career, maybe it’s time to (re)consider financial planning.


Andrew Dunbar CFP® is a Director and Senior Financial Planner at Apt Wealth Partners, which is part of the FPA Professional Practice program that recognises the highest calibre financial planning practices within the profession.