If you haven’t considered transitioning to a career as a financial planner when you leave military service, then perhaps you should. Especially if you’re interested in being a financial planner who serves military and veteran families. It’s a great way to use many of the skills and knowledge you have learned throughout the course of your military career to continue to serve your brothers and sisters in uniform. You can also fill a vital need for many families.
Military and veteran families are typically members of the working class in America. If they manage their financial affairs well by saving, spending, and investing wisely they can expect to own a home, put their children through college, take regular vacations, and retire comfortably. All in all, a pretty good life. The problem for many is they were never taught how to manage their financial affairs. They want to do it well, but it’s complicated and many do not know how. There is plenty of information on the internet, but much of it is confusing and conflicting. Many service members would value having a knowledgeable financial advisor they can trust.
As someone who has served in the military you are already halfway toward meeting both the knowledge and trust requirements for serving military clients. Military people have an affinity for military people. Whether you served in a hangar, on a ship, or in the field, you knew you were part of a team. Your brothers and sisters were counting on you to get the job done, and you were counting on them. There is an unspoken bond between all of us that I don’t have to explain. You either know it or you don’t.
There are also many military-specific financial issues that you know simply for having served. Walk into the average civilian financial advisor’s office and tell her you have questions about TSP, SBP, SGLI, BAH, and the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act and watch her eyes glaze over. You, on the other hand, know quite a bit about most of those topics. You absorbed it over the course of your service. Speaking the military money language is a great way to engage with military prospects and clients.
Military and veteran families have been underserved by the financial planning community for decades. To be fair, it was all but impossible to serve military families profitably. All the major firms charge their clients on a model known as AUM (Assets Under Management). This fee model is quite simple - you bring the advisor a big pile of cash (assets) to manage, and he will invest it for you, scraping 1-2% off the top each year as his fee. If the advisor needs to make $2,500 per client, then at the low fee of 1%, the client needs to have $250,000 to invest for the advisor to take him seriously. Not many military families have that kind of cash available to get attention from an AUM advisor.
The times are changing, however. Advances in technology and social attitudes have given rise to the Subscription model - billing at regular intervals just like your cell phone and utility bills. This turns out to be a great fit for military families. You don’t need a big stack of cash to get in the door with a subscription advisor, you just need a steady income. Military families have those! The subscription model is opening the door for financial advisors to serve millions of households previously overlooked by the financial planning community.
This is a really good time to get into this field with the intention to serve military families. My business partner and I opened our doors less than two years ago and we are already looking to make our first hire to keep up with the demand. We have also been fortunate enough to meet a few other like-minded advisors and we’ve joined together to form the Military Financial Advisors Association. It is not a company, but a professional network of fee-only fiduciary financial advisors who specialize in serving military families. We formed the MFAA for two reasons. The first was to make it easier for military and veteran families to find a financial advisor who specializes in working with military and veteran families. The second is to help service members and veterans make the transition into financial planning careers. We believe there is so much pent up demand for genuine financial advice among military families that we will be overwhelmed if we don’t get more people to join us.
Maybe it could be you. Please consider it. If you do, come check out our website for transition assistance.
If you have comments or feedback about any article, please email your thoughts to email@example.com.