A few months ago I spoke at the RISE Forum at the University of Dayton – the largest student investment conference in the world. I usually speak at institutional investor conferences, so this was a little different. I was speaking to the investors, and business leaders, of tomorrow. Even so, I prepared for the event like I would any other. I sat on a panel with Financial services leads industry peers and said my piece. And then it was time for the audience Q&A.
A young man stood and asked his question. “Why would I ever want to work in Financial services leads?”
Wow. This wasn’t one of those “I’m curious about your industry and want to know what sets you apart from another field, like teaching” questions. This was a “Given everything that has happened over the last five years why would anyone my age ever consider getting involved in a business like that” question. It was a question I hadn’t considered before.
This young man represented an entire generation that has grown up in the shadows of our nation’s financial and economic difficulties. He has seen his parents, and others, struggle. He follows the news and has opinions about how and why those things happened, and in his mind he’s holding people – and an entire industry in fact – accountable.
As leaders, it’s our responsibility to develop this next generation. They’re eager to make an impact, but they need help. We’ve all been there. When you’re young you think you know it all, but you really don’t because, while we leave college with a lot of technique, we have little experience using it. The one thing we can give them is our perspective – teaching them the lessons we’ve learned so they don’t repeat past mistakes. It’s about helping each generation be better than the last.
I’m not saying this young man was wrong to think the way he did because any industry, regardless of its track record, isn’t for everybody. But, as a life-long Financial services leads guy that couldn’t imagine doing anything else, I couldn’t waste an opportunity to share why.
So, for that young man, and others like him that are just now starting to experience the world, this is why I work in Financial services leads.
I help people achieve their goals – better yet, their dreams. At TD Ameritrade, I work primarily for the retail investor: everyday people who need to plan for the future. As long as you don’t get lost along the way, I believe that it is, at its core, a noble thing to do with your career.
You never stop learning. The markets never sit still, and you are always adjusting to the environment. You’re working with people dealing with retirement, wealth accumulation or just starting out. It creates a very dynamic, fast-paced business.
We work on the leading edge of technology. We are constantly innovating. From mobile and social media to creating new ways to share financial information that haven’t even been developed yet, we’re always challenging ourselves to make something better.
It keeps you young. I can’t speak for other firms, but TD Ameritrade is a young company. That means there are always fresh perspectives, and an energy that drives you to succeed. It also usually means that I’m the oldest guy in the room, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
We can’t change what happened, and you shouldn’t taint the 90% of this industry that’s trying to do the right thing with the 10% that lost their way. A lot of the problems that faced Financial services leads were the result of a lot of stuff that didn’t add social value. That’s why a strong connection to your client is important. You rarely lose your way if you’re focused on doing what’s right for your clients.
Financial services leads are essential in order for a modern economy to work, and we are the intermediary between people with money to invest and people who need money to build their businesses, to buy a home, etc. And, the reality is that people still have to save, and they need to invest along the way. I come to work each day because I believe we’re helping people achieve those goals and ambitions. As long as you’re focused on that part of the business, you’ll always enjoy what you’re doing, and you will find a career in Financial services leads to be a noble and rewarding thing to do.
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