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    Career opportunities booming for financial professionals

    At a time when unemployment still remains relatively high and competition for jobs is stiff, the career as a personal financial professional holds much promise for graduating college students and career-changers.

    While the national unemployment rate hovers at 7.3 percent, as of September 2013, jobs as personal financial advisers are among the fastest-growing careers nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary. As a result the financial industry provides great career growth opportunity for new graduates or for those already in the workforce and contemplating a career change.

    “A career in financial services is an important way to make a difference in people’s lives. American families and business owners need reliable and trustworthy financial services professionals to help them make sound financial decisions,” says John Vaccaro, senior vice president for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) Sales and Distribution.

    These financial decisions include life insurance protection, retirement planning and achieving personal savings goals. Nearly 35 million families do not have a life insurance protection plan according to research industry group LIMRA’s 2010 Life Insurance Ownership Study, and 57 percent of people have less than $ 25,000 in their 401(k) plan, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute 23rd Annual Retirement Confidence Survey. In addition, pensions are disappearing from American workplaces, requiring more workers to completely fund their retirement savings through 401(k)s, IRAs, Roth IRAs and other investments.

    Because of a critical need for help in the area of personal financial services, MassMutual is recruiting and training record numbers of professionals, including agents with multicultural backgrounds. The training includes the Certified Family Business Specialist Program through The American College in Bryn Mawr, Penn., to help agents broaden their knowledge of the inner workings and dynamics of family-owned business. Also, the company’s SpecialCare program offers agents training in helping families with a disability develop special needs plans for the future.

    To excel in these fields, students and career-changers should have the following characteristics:

    * An interest in helping others achieve their financial goals.

    Financial services professionals work directly with individuals and families, implementing financial strategies and creating a vision for the clients’ life goals.

    * Connections through networks and organizations.

    Starting off a job in the financial sector with connections from previous careers or social involvement provides plenty of business opportunities. But even if you are starting off in your first career directly out of college, you can develop your own network by contacting new prospects and getting referrals from existing associates.

    * An entrepreneurial spirit.

    Superior time-management skills, commitment and motivation to reach personal and professional goals are excellent traits for students and career-changers interested in building a financial services practice.

    * A commitment to education.

    The financial industry changes frequently, and students and career changers interested in a financial services career need to be open to feedback, team work, mentoring, coaching and professional development throughout their career.

    Students currently in college and those contemplating changing industries to financial services have plenty of opportunities for a successful career helping Americans plan for their futures.

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