Financial planning is a career on the rise.

An ever increasing demand for qualified planners, coupled with a move to higher educational and professional standards, means its an exciting time for those just starting out – and those who’ve been in the business for years.

August 21-27 is Financial Planning Week. This year’s theme ‘Live the Dream’ highlights the way financial planners can help all Australians to live a life without regrets.

We spoke to three financial planners to get their views on this – and why financial planning might just be a career dream too.

Neil Kendall, Managing Director, Tupicoffs

Neil Kendall is passionate about financial planning because it’s a distinct opportunity to make people’s lives better.

“You get to work with people over a long period of time and see the results you achieve as you go,” he explained.

Mr Kendall, also the chair of the Financial Planing Association Board, has seen the industry evolve continuously in his years in the business.

“The last 12 months have been absolutely massive, in terms of change.

“The recognition of the profession, the move towards professional and higher education standards – these are all things that have lifted financial planning and that means better advice for consumers.”

His advice for future financial planners is to be realistic about expectations post-degree.

“There are jobs out there, often in a client services role, which allow you to understand the practical side. Then there’s para-planning, where you work on strategies, before you ultimately take on your own clients in a financial planning role.

“It can be a five-or-so year journey from when you finish university to the time you might actually find yourself giving advice. That’s so that when you do find yourself in that position, you have the education, skills and knowledge to back you up.”

There’s no doubt in Neil Kendall’s mind that financial planning can help people live their dream, but that goal varies for every client he sees.

“If we talk about the typical retiree model, people want to go away on holidays and enjoy themselves, not worry about their money or where it’s coming from – and that’s where financial planning can help,” he said.

“At the other end of the spectrum, I had an instance of a client who just couldn’t figure out why they had no money.

“By helping them understand their spending, and allocating guilt-free money each week, they were able to live their day-to-day dream and go to dinner, or the movies or away for the weekend knowing that the big picture would work out…they got their little dreams each weekend.”

Dr Katherine Hunt, Griffith University

There’s a world of possibilities when it comes to financial planning, according to Griffith University’s Dr Katherine Hunt.

“If you’re great at numbers but hate people, you can be in the back of a financial planning firm and have an absolutely stellar career,” she said.

“If you love people, want to engage with them directly and come up with strategy, you can be a planner an have a great career that way.

“You can work for a small firm, a big firm, start your own firm – the opportunities are enormous.”

Dr Hunt has always loved helping people and the fact that it’s so tangible, allowing her to work with people she knows by name rather than bigger, anonymous groups.

Given her passion for the profession, it’s clear she’s found herself in the right place.

“There are very high educational standards in financial planning and at Griffith we have what I think is the best undergraduate degree in the world.

“I was a financial planner for five years, my colleagues have practical experience and, at the same time, we undertake cutting edge research.”

Dr Hunt also points out that it is a very exciting time to be part of the financial planning profession.

“With the demographic shift that’s happening towards older people in our community, there’s a lot more need for financial advice and a huge shortage of advisers.”

Caleb Dozzi, Managing Director, dozzi financial advice

You’d have to say financial planning was in Caleb Dozzi‘s blood.

His grandfather was in financial planning before it was known as financial planning and another family member gave a 14-year-old Caleb his start in the profession.

He’s worked in every role the job has to offer – from after-school and weekend assistance, to administrator, para-planner, adviser, partner and, since January 2017, the managing director of dozzi.

“This confirmed to me that it’s what I wanted to study as well,” he said, adding that it gives you a more thorough commitment to and understanding of the financial planning profession.

Running his own firm wasn’t always the dream, as his career aspirations have evolved substantially to what they were 10-15 years ago and continue to do so.

But he certainly feels that there’s a positive future ahead for the profession as a whole.

“Where we’re going looks a lot better,” he said of the “winds of change” – and dozzi aims to be part of that change.

“We’re a young company,” explained Mr Dozzi, both in that the business is eight months old and their financial advisors are of a younger demographic. This significantly changes their outlook for clients. They’ve also moved away from the tradition fee and commission structure.

His advice for those looking to get into the profession is to get experience while studying.

“It’s going to help you decide where you want to go.

“Knock on the door of a financial planning office and ask questions – you might just find there’s a part time role going!”

So how can financial planning help someone live the dream? Here’s Caleb Dozzi’s thoughts:

Find out more about Financial Planning Week here.