Every difficult task requires a great instruction manual, and that is why financial advisors need to have a couple of great books at their disposal to do their job well.
There’s no doubt about it: financial planners have one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, jobs on the planet. It is the job of every financial advisor to lead his or her clients down the path that will put them in the best position to succeed, and this is not easy to do.
1. Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money
I have always believed that people who want to be successful should read about people who are successful and then attempt to replicate that success. As a result, a financial advisor–one who attempts to advise others on their money–should be successful with his own money first.
For the FA that is just starting out, Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money gives an incredible overview of the things that individuals should be thinking about, as well as putting into practice, when managing their own money.
This resource may help an FA to direct the questions that he asks his clients while also getting his own personal finances under control.
2. The Vest-Pocket MBA, by Shim, Seigel, and Simon
Invariably, every financial advisor will come against scenarios where he is required to invest his clients’ monies and produce a respectable return. In order to do so, he will have to understand company valuations and be able to apply certain metrics to project future cash flows of those companies.
The Vest-Pocket MBA is an incredible little desk-top book that can help any FA measure a company’s financial status, answer complex mathematical problems, and make better forecasts, all of which should translate to improved returns for his clients.
3. The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham
Heralded by investing great Warren Buffet as being, “By far the best book on investing ever written,” The Intelligent Investor is a book that is full of wisdom. Most financial advisors that I know got into the trade because they believed themselves to be superior investors at the start. They believed that they possessed a financial acumen that would allow them to outperform the market and, therefore, better serve their clients than other FAs.
However, in this investing epic, Dr. Benjamin Graham argues that investors (and FAs as well) should seek beta (market return) and not alpha (super-market return) because alpha is unachievable over the long-term and the pursuit of it detrimental.
4. Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist, by Roger Lowenstein
Speaking of Buffett, every advisor should seek to attain to his level of wisdom and acumen so that they can better serve their clients. As a result, it would be prescient of any FA to read this finely written biography of Buffett’s life.
While it may not directly apply to being a financial advisor, I have always believed that it is important for all advisors to understand risk management, which is certainly something that you will see that Buffett has a firm grasp on. In this manner, by reading this book, hopefully you, too, will gain an increased appreciation for the gravity of risk.
5. The Million-Dollar Financial Advisor, by David J. Mullen, Jr.
According to a recent report by CNBC, it has become incredibly difficult to find a well-trusted, skilled financial advisor. This is not because there aren’t many available–in fact, there are over 70,000 FAs in the US! Rather, it is because the demand for good financial advice. In David Mullen’s book, The Million-Dollar Financial Advisor, he will show you tips, strategies, and practices for becoming exactly the kind of financial advisor that the market needs.
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So, whether you are considering becoming a financial advisor once you graduate college or you are already in the workforce, be sure to remember that financial advisors need to read good books just like everyone else. Reading great books will allow us to stay up-to-date with the current world market, keep us fresh for client interactions, and improves our value proposition.