Kevin Condon started working life as a high school student with a janitorial gig. It would be the first of many professions he was to explore. After a successful career in oil and gas exploration that utilized his PhD in geography from the University of Kansas, Dr. Condon enrolled in the College for Financial Planning in Denver. "I change jobs and professions when I can no longer muster passion for where I am or what I'm doing," explains Dr. Condon
He became a Certified Financial Planner in 1987 and today is a recognized leader in the financial advice industry, listed in Worth Magazine's Top 250 Best Financial Advisors for five years and a popular regional and national conference speaker and author.
He currently serves as executive vice president of Myfinancialadvice, Inc. an online financial advice service. A past member of the national and local chapters of the National Association of Professional Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA), he is also a member of Building Brothers, a Christian initiative to reach and support men.
How has your career unfolded?
In stages. First there was the "find myself" stage, then the "academic" period, then the "get-rich-quick" period (oil and gas exploration), then the "slug-it-out and learn-a-trade" segment (financial planning and advice), then the "build-the-business" period, the "sell-it-to-your-partners-and-go-into-semi-retirement" period, then the "e-commerce entrepreneurial" period, which I'm still in.
To be more specific, I was the founder and president of Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors Inc., director of broker dealer services for the now-closed Hibbard Brown & Company Inc., and president of Condon-Reid & Associates Inc. and Petroleum Land Data Inc., which brokered land and exploration data for major and large independent oil and gas exploration companies.
I was vice president of the National Capital Chapter of the International Association of Financial Planners and president of the Maryland Chapter of the ICFP, both of which became part of the Financial Planning Association. I was also vice president of the Northeast Regional Board of NAPFA and a board member of the Maryland Financial Planners Association.
Then, in the early 1990s, I participated with some other financial planners in a promotion sponsored by USA Today. We took phone calls from "regular" people who asked relatively simple financial questions. They reminded me of the people I grew up with in Raytown, Missouri. They really appreciated our help and I realized that everyone could benefit from a professional financial advisor.
What do you enjoy most about your career?
I'm a helper by training and nature. I like the people I work with and the knowledge that I'm making a big difference in my profession.
Who were the biggest inspirations for your career?
John Templeton, the dean of international investing. I heard him deliver a keynote speech early in my career that convinced me to pursue a career in financial planning and a life grounded in faith. Many of my colleagues have also inspired me.
What exactly do you do?
I'm helping to build a new company that's revolutionizing the financial advice industry. I'm part of the policy-making team. I also recruit and train advisors for our national network, help develop materials, market, find investors, talk to the media, go to conferences. It's a constant whirlwind of activities.
Tell us about your education. What degrees did you get?
I earned my bachelor's degree in liberal arts in 1966 and my master's in 1972 and a Ph.D. in 1981 in geography, all from the University of Kansas.
Do you have to be licensed and/or credentialed?
Yes. You have to be a Certified Financial Planner.
If someone has the talent already, should they go to school (or get professional training) and why?
You have to have professional training. In my field, a college degree is almost mandatory.
What factors should prospective students consider when choosing a school?
Cost. Location. Girls (or guys) on campus.
Based on what you hear in the industry, what do you think are the most respected and prestigious schools, departments or programs for your profession?
Texas Tech has a graduate program in financial planning. There are about 200 schools that train would-be planners and give them a certification, but the CFP is mandatory. I also recommend the "School of Hard Knocks" and good sales training.
If you need a graduate degree, when's the best time to go after a graduate degree?
What are some common myths about your profession?
That it's about delivering a high rate of return.
What kinds of jobs are available for graduating students who specialize in your profession?
Jobs are mostly sales in securities and insurance at this point.
What is the average salary for your field? What are people at the top of the profession paid?
I hear the average is $100,000. Top performers can earn between $400,000 and $500,000.
What are the best ways to get a job?
Take the professional certification program to become a Certified Financial Planner. Then intern.
Does graduating from a prestigious school make a difference in landing a good job?
Are there specialty software programs for your profession? If so, what are they and what do they do?
Our company creates programs that allow financial advisors to connect directly to consumers through the Internet. People communicate through our website. Some of our programs help advisors estimate how people's financial actions will affect their lives. Others provide the data points advisors need to make those estimates. We conduct training on the Net.
Editor's Note: For more information about Dr. Condon and his company, or to get in touch with him about this interview, visit myfinancialadvice.com