The investment world can be daunting for people who are just starting out in a new career. Understanding products and niches within product types before you embark on a job search can be extremely helpful. Finding products that are suitable for your personality also bodes well for success down the road.
There are plenty of factors to consider when making the career decision to become a stockbroker and an insurance agent, including the opportunities and earning potential they provide and the type of clients you’ll encounter.
Insurance and stockbroker opportunities
Insurance Agents.The age of the internet has made self-service for customers easier than ever. This means that those breaking into the insurance sales business will have to be highly specialized to make sure they secure their corner of the market.
There’s fierce competition, as well. Insurance agents are selling the same package, which means that you’ll have to either specialize or learn to take relationship-building to an expert level to beat your competition. The median salary for second-year insurance agents can be less than $30,000 per year.
Despite the pay rate, the good news is that the job market is great. On the other hand, the bad news is that the job market is so good because it’s not saturated with longstanding employees, which may say something about long-term job satisfaction.
But if you can stick it out, referrals and residuals can start to boost that marginal salary.
Stockbrokers.The median base salary of a stockbroker in the United States is just over $50,000. With good commissions and high earning potential, stockbrokers can start making a good living right out of the gate. And those that have been in the business for some time can live well off the commissions made by the generous holdings of their clients.
Being a stockbroker can be a prestigious and exciting career path. The earning potential is limitless, and the thrill of the chase can help float you through those financial highs and lows. But all that prestige doesn’t come for free.
Stockbrokers and advisors must pass tough exams such as the Series 7 and the Series 63 to gain this title. This job isn’t for the lackadaisical individual either – it requires diligent care of client holdings and deep analysis of market conditions to make sure that you’re caring for your clients’ funds.
There is a liability aspect as well; clients can file complaints, and you can find yourself suspended or even barred from the industry.
The best finance fit for your personality
Insurance representatives rely heavily on commissions, and the position requires a strong advocate with a tenacious, entrepreneurial personality. You’ll have to be able to weather the periods of low income that come with a commission-heavy income, and you’ll have to learn how to take no for an answer, over and over again.
As a broker, you may find yourself working extended hours, but those hours are often at your discretion. This makes the broker business a great choice for those who don’t want to work a typical nine-to-five position.
But when you are on the clock, the work itself is challenging. Pressure to perform is high, cold-calling can be a difficult task, and rejections can grate on all but the toughest personal exterior. Client turnover is also higher as a broker, so you’ll also have to place more effort on obtaining new clients.
Insurance representatives, on the other hand, may have a bit of an easier time getting into their line of work, and also hanging on to long-term clients. But their product line is limited, and clients often must meet underwriting requirements before deals can be completed.
Insurance representatives also tend to work late hours, as they book most of their appointments for times when clients are home from their own jobs.
Both careers have significant benefits and drawbacks. When deciding on a career path, keep in mind your preferred style of work, the types of clients you enjoy working with, the amount of effort needed to break into each business, and the earning potential and longevity of each career path.
And remember, you are also free to change your mind down the line. Just because you began as an insurance representative or stockbroker doesn’t mean that you are leashed to that career. Much of the education earned for one path is transferable to the other, making either choice a great path on which to embark toward a fresh new investment career.