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Closing the gender gap

More women are building financial planning careers in a bid to help others secure their futures.

Financial planning is a profession that can genuinely make a difference to someone’s life.

With the need for reliable, ethical financial advice now greater than ever, many young women are now choosing to build careers around a profession that helps others make informed and rewarding financial life decisions.

Deakin Business School (DBS) student Porsha Papas is currently completing a Bachelor of Commerce (Financial Planning) via Deakin’s Cloud Campus.

Employed in the financial planning industry and based in coastal northern NSW, she’s passionate about the industry and has her sights set on becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).

Porsha chose to study at Deakin because the university’s online delivery made it possible for her to continue working full-time in the industry.

‘At the time I commenced in 2017, Deakin’s Bachelor of Commerce Financial Planning major was one of few online university courses accredited on the Approved Degree List to gain entry into the CFP certification program through the Financial Planning Association (FPA) without the need for a bridging program. I wanted to make a smooth transition from the completion of university into the CFP program,’ she explains.

Expecting to complete her studies in 2020, Porsha applies the course learning to her every-day work and says that so far, her favourite unit has been Building Client Relationships.

‘The unit was incredibly interesting and builds on the scientific principles that are used to effectively communicate and build trust with clients. This is the backbone, I believe, in producing quality, relevant advice for the client as it aids in the strength of the client/adviser relationship – not solely the numbers behind the financial strategies.’

Financial planning, she says, can make a ‘significant difference’ to someone’s life.

‘It can allow the client to be comfortable, secure and stress-free about many components of their life.  The conversation a financial planner has with their client involves coaching, support and assurance and working together to achieve their lifestyle goals and objectives via strategic advice and an ongoing relationship.’

She also believes financial planning is a growing, in-demand career thanks to range of factors including more money being held in superannuation, an ageing population, and recent changes to education requirements.

‘Financial planning is a highly personal, client-based profession and the role of a modern financial planner is evolving. Fintech [financial technology] is also becoming more advanced and I am excited about the opportunities this brings for planners as they can focus more energy on the human emotion and interaction.’

Claudia Sheers is also working full-time in the financial planning industry while studying a Bachelor of Commerce (Financial Planning) via Deakin’s Cloud Campus.

Eighteen months into her degree, Claudia moved from a part to full-time job in the industry before securing a new financial planning role she found through Deakin’s student portal.

‘It was too good an opportunity to pass up, but I still wanted to complete my degree. Having the ability to study online, and reduce my study load to part-time, allows me to gain invaluable industry experience while completing my degree. The course content has direct application to my job and provides an important context that enriches my learning,’ she says.

Like Porsha, Claudia agrees that financial planning is a growing industry and says there’s an increased social awareness about the need for sound financial management.

‘The profession is also becoming more recognised with higher standards and qualifications and there are opportunities beyond graduation such as CFP’.

She also says an emerging industry avenue is online financial advising.

‘Instead of the typical face-to-face meetings with clients, financial advice can now be provided using video-conferencing technology. This gives flexibility for both the adviser and client. It also means that as an adviser, you are not restricted geographically and can better reach your clients.’ 

Importantly, financial planning is providing Claudia with a professional career path that she says has the ability to ‘directly and positively’ impact lives.

‘I love working with people and I knew that a career where I was helping people would be very rewarding.’