Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Hispanic Financial Planning Majors in High Demand

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Hispanic Financial Planning Majors in High Demand

Article excerpt

Hispanic students majoring in financial planning are in demand banks, brokerage firms, real estate groups, insurance companies and just about any organization that needs individuals who are experts in managing and investing money.

The reason is simple. The financial planning industry has a low rate minority representation in its professional ranks and client base and recognizes that diversity is a key to its growth. A study by the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards showed that only about 5 percent of CFPs are minorities. The Financial Planning Association (FPA), through its annual Diversity Summit, has called for the industry to reflect the general population.

The most encouraging results on this front are coming at the level, at which successful financial planning programs are recruiting and graduating more Hispanics. Firms are responding by hiring these students, bringing a slow but steady change to the profession.

"A large number of employers seek to hire our Hispanic financial planning majors, and they really value those who have bilingual abilities," said Lukas Dean, assistant professor and director for the financial planning program in the Cotsakos College of Business at William Paterson University (WPU) in Wayne, NJ.

As Dean tells his students, it's a good time to enter the field. His blog carries finks to several articles predicting a positive outlook for careers in financial planning. U.S. News & World Report named financial advising one of the best jobs of 2012 and said the profession should see significant growth, 32.1 percent, over the next decade.

Learning to Create Financial Road Maps

What do financial planners do? Essentially, says U.S. News, "they tell other people what to do with their money," through research and the development of sound financial plans. It can be a very rewarding career because it involves helping individuals and families achieve their goals.

That's exactly why the job attracted Andrea Vintimilla, a 2010 graduate of the WPU program who works as a financial planning associate at Quadrant Capital Management in Montclair, NJ.

"I am able to help people make some of the most important decisions of their fives, from establishing themselves financially to planning how they will fund their children's education to how they will live their lives in retirement" she said. "I get to learn about their current fife and financial goals, and help them achieve those goals."

Vintimilla, 24, is a first-generation American in a family that emigrated from Ecuador. She always wanted to be a businesswoman, but never could envision herself sitting behind a desk all day just crunching numbers.

"I do like to crunch numbers and use my analytical skills, but most importantly - 1 wanted to help individuals," she said.

Students such as Vintimilla have chosen a career that can be both personally and financially rewarding. According to an article on Monster.com, one of the largest employment websites in the world, the median salary for a certified financial planner with five to seven years experience is $89,000.

But it is not an easy ride because completing the degree requirements is very challenging. The curriculum includes courses in finance, macro and micro economics, statistics, tax analysis, and estate and retirement planning, along with other classes in business and management. At WPU, students get the advantage of real-time experience in the Global Financial Services Learning Center, which has one of the largest trading rooms on the East Coast. As a sophisticated technology-equipped learning facility, the center provides hands-on training with software, databases, and data feeds that form the backbone of trading floor information analysis. Students get an opportunity to turn theoretical knowledge into practical experience through an internship component in the curriculum. As Dean says: "We want our students to be 'shovel-ready' when they hit the workforce. …

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