Entering the Industry

Published by Sidney Meriweather, Director of  First Impressions

What do climbing Mount Everest and becoming a financial advisor have in common? They both look impossible to do, but a brave few persevere and summit the challenges.

I won’t be climbing Mount Everest anytime soon, but the last year and a half of my life have led to making the decision to pursue a career as a financial advisor. Entering this career feels daunting, from licensing to planning and everything in between the learning curve is huge.


Like any 22-year-old fresh out of college and trying to figure out how to make it in the world, I needed to find a job. I finally secured a job at Wise Counsel Wealth Management, and when people asked me what my firm did I would tell them, “oh they work in the finance industry.” Honestly, that was the extent of my knowledge about financial planning.

It didn’t take me long to realize that financial planning is much more than investments and managing people’s money, even though my firm does both of those things well.

Financial planning takes a holistic view of a person’s life and helps them create a personalized financial plan, so they can lead the life they want and leave a legacy for future generations.

I’ve witnessed this life change on more than one occasion in my short time in the industry. I’ve seen couples be physically relieved when they realize they can retire with a sense of confidence, and watched our firm help carry the burden of settling financial estates when loved ones pass away.

Financial planning is part art and part science, and when done well, is life changing.


What are the requirements for becoming an advisor? Can anyone just call themselves a financial planner?

There’s not one step-by-step guide or an exact path to becoming a financial planner, but the following information are some of the routes I’m choosing to take to get there:

First, I had to learn what a “fiduciary” was. A fiduciary is an advisor that is legally obligated to make decisions that are in the best interest of a client, not themselves or their firm.

I knew quickly that this standard was something that I wanted to be held to. For further information about the fiduciary standard watch the following video: Is Your Advisor A Fiduciary?

Next, there are different securities licenses that a person must hold to not only meet the fiduciary standard (Series 65) but to do several other important tasks as an advisor. These licenses take time, money, studying, and exams to hold.

Finally, there’s the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation or CFP®. This designation is a professional standard of excellence for someone who has taken courses and passed several intensive exams in areas like insurance planning and risk management, estate planning, retirement planning, and employee benefits planning just to name a few.

Are you as overwhelmed as I am thinking about all of this? I realized very quickly that entering this career wouldn’t just take a couple of months or even a couple of years, but I would need a love for life-long learning.


I’m currently studying for my Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. After that, I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll start CFP® classes, or study for a securities license, but I do know I’m ready.

Also, entering this industry means I’m going to need great mentors. I’ll get to learn from seasoned, passionate advisors as I sit in on meetings, help create wealth plans, stay in communication with clients, and just soak up knowledge from those who have gone before me.

I’m lucky to be at a firm where I’m encouraged to grow, and I’m supported by my team. Wise Counsel is also part of a larger network of offices through Carson Group Partners that has endless opportunities for me to be trained and poured into from the very start of my career.

I’m passionate about the way financial planning changes lives, and I believe in what we do.


If you’re reading this as a young 20-something, and you’d like to learn more about this industry, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or shoot me an email: [email protected]

If you’re reading this and you believe you could benefit from the services of a financial planner please click the following link and schedule some time to talk to us today: https://www.wisecounsel-inc.com/contact-us/

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