FA Career Planner

Need job advice? Try turning to your financial advisor for help

Deborah Nason, special to CNBC.com

Financial advisors are starting to recognize the important role they can play in their clients' career journeys.

"When it comes to financial well-being, your career is the most important aspect of your financial picture," said certified financial planner Avani Ramnani, director of financial planning and wealth management for Francis Financial.

Mike Kane | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The financial advisory field has traditionally been focused on investments and returns, she noted.

"It's important, but it's not the whole picture," Ramnani added. "The way to succeed is to focus on your income and what you can control, which are aspects of your career."

To that end, Ramnani and her fellow advisors maintain a network of career coaches for the benefit of the firm's clients.

"We do the due diligence for our clients, to find the right fit," she said. "We also pay for the first consultation, because we don't want [the initial cost] to be a hurdle for them."

Over 55 and out of work? It's time to reinvent yourself

Ramnani has found that working with career coaches has especially helped clients in transitions such as embarking on self employment, changing industries or reentering the workforce.

Some advisors leverage their own career experience to help their clients, said certified financial planner Kathryn Hauer. Prior to starting Wilson David Investment Advisors, she worked for 20 years in the construction industry.

"Most of my career, I worked with blue-collar workers," she said. "They felt lesser because they didn't go to college."

Their needs inspired Hauer to open an advisory firm to serve them. She describes her practice focus as heavy on education.

People were talking about retiring from a dysfunctional career. I realized that if we could focus on getting their career working for them, the desire to retire early goes away.
Michael Haubrich
president of the Financial Service Group

"They have a lot of questions about careers," she said. "They ask if their child should go to college. "You don't have to go to college to be successful, but there's a lot of pressure," Hauer added. "I advise them about vocations in the trades."

She tells clients they need to first get educated on certificate programs, for example. Then "they can go to college later on, through a company tuition program," Hauer said.

Hauer also works with clients who are thinking about retiring from a trade, researching career options for them and making suggestions for post-retirement jobs. "I made a big career change, so I give encouragement to clients who want to do the same," she said.

Niv Persaud, CFP and founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, is another career changer. Before starting her practice, Persaud worked as a recruiter for an executive search firm.

While the core of her business focuses on financial matters, she uses her expertise to help clients optimize their job searches, spending about 20 percent of her time on career consulting.

"Understanding their financial needs to support their lifestyle gives people motivation for their job search," Persaud said, explaining the link between her roles as a financial planner and a career advisor.

One frequent scenario Persaud sees is women reentering the workforce after many years on the sideline, usually after a divorce. About 70 percent of her clients are women. "I help them through the trauma and refer them to career counselors," Persaud said.

Supplementing the work with outside professionals, she offers a job-search boot camp to help clients understand themselves and understand what recruiters are looking for. The end result is an action plan for the job search, with strategies on how to connect with recruiters.

Helping clients with their careers has been a big part of Michael Haubrich's practice for 10 years.

A CFP and president of the Financial Service Group, Haubrich moved toward these services as a way to get clients to think differently about retirement. About 25 percent of his time is related to career assistance.

"People were talking about retiring from a dysfunctional career," he said. "I realized that if we could focus on getting their career working for them, the desire to retire early goes away."

Haubrich saw the importance of finding work in retirement and learning how to ease into it. He sought out career counselors for his clients and suddenly had an "aha moment."

Considering a new career in retirement? Some dos, don'ts

"Clients felt they couldn't afford to make the changes they wanted to make," Haubrich said. "And I realized there was a need for the financial advisor to be part of the process. My niche is in working collaboratively with the career counselors."

He has since developed the notion of treating one's career as an asset and has even authored a book on the subject: "Career Asset Management: Getting Ahead, Staying Ahead and Using Your Head to Maximize Your Career Value."

Haubrich encourages appropriate clients to set up accounts such as a "career assets working capital" fund to hedge against varied compensation and job changes, or a "career development sabbatical" fund, to enable a client to get the training or education needed to change careers.

He also constantly checks in with clients on the status of what he calls "career sustainability habits" — lifelong learning, benchmarking and networking.

"Nobody else is doing what I'm doing," he said.

— By Deborah Nason, special to CNBC.com