Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.
As of December 31, 2021, female CFPs were 23.4% of all advisors, a percentage that has remained relatively stagnant since the CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative was launched in 2013. While many have theorized why these numbers remain so low (the "old boys club" mentality, the lack of opportunity for career growth, the wage gap, etc.), it never fails to astonish us that so few women are advisors. That is especially because the qualities that make exceptional advisors are skills that women naturally possess – empathy, intuition, and compassion, to name a few.
As veterans of this male-dominated industry, we have faced our fair share of challenges and uncertainty. However, that led us to venture out on our own and start solo planning firms. While these transitions weren't easy, we can say from where we stand now that they were most certainly worth it. That said, we also understand that starting your own practice is not easy. Making the decision to leave your firm and strike out on your own as a female financial advisor can be fraught with anxiety. You may feel like you are taking a leap into the unknown, not sure what the future holds.
But making the jump will be incredibly beneficial.
Benefits of going solo
1. You will have more control over your career. When you're the boss, you get to make decisions about how you run your business and what direction it takes. This can be especially empowering if you feel like you have been stuck in a rut at your current firm.
2. You will be able to build your business exactly the way you want: choosing your clients, setting your fees, and designing your investment strategies according to your unique philosophies and goals.
3. You can make a difference in the advisory profession. As a female advisor, you can be a role model or even a mentor for other women. You can show them that it is possible to be successful on your own terms.
4. You will have much more control over your work-life balance, from setting your own hours to making time for the things that matter most to you outside of work. This can be a huge advantage, especially for women who find themselves pulled in so many different directions.
5. You will be able to build something lasting. When you start your own firm, you are building something that you can pass down to future generations. This can be a legacy that you are proud of and that your family can benefit from for years to come.
Of course, leaving your firm also has risks. One of the biggest is that you may not have the same income when you are starting out. It can take time to build a client base and get your business started. But if you are willing to work hard and take some risks, the rewards are great.
When is the “right” time
The answer to this question isn't always as clear as you think. Here are some considerations and questions you should ask yourself to see if it's time to strike out on your own.
Assess your situation. Are you happy with your firm? Do you have the support you need? Are you being compensated fairly? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then it might be time for a change.
Consider your long-term goals. What do you want to achieve in your career? Do you want more flexibility? Do you want to be able to control your own destiny? If your firm isn’t aligned with your goals, it’s probably not the best trajectory for you to be on.
Finally, think about the special considerations for women. Women have unique challenges when it comes to starting their own businesses. They often face obstacles that men don’t, such as bias and lack of access to capital. But don’t let these challenges deter you.
Let them motivate you.
There are many resources to help women succeed in business, (such as financial networks like Equita). Take advantage of them. And remember, you are not alone — there are many other women who have taken the leap and gone on to find success. Change is scary, but it is incredibly rewarding.
Bridget Grimes and Katie Burke co-founded Equita Financial Network out of a need to fuel business success while empowering other women in the financial services industry. Equita became the first platform solely focused on women-led financial planning firms, designed to encourage women to make the leap into launching their own practice and provide solutions to support them every step of the way. Equita is a way for like-minded women to not only share resources and run their business at an affordable cost, but to also share ideas on everything from best practices to help with questions regarding client issues.
More Life Events Topics >