Managing Money: Making the Move from the Military to Financial Services

Managing Money: Making the Move from the Military to Financial Services

When most of us hear the term “financial services,” we think of a bank teller, or maybe someone who knows about the stock market.

Plenty of those folks work in this industry, of course, but there are countless other positions that make it run. In fact, the financial services industry probably has more similarities to the military than is obvious.

“Veterans have a sense of service to country before self. In this field we protect our clients and people in our communities with proper financial planning,” says Ciara Salina, senior associate, Field Recruiting Development & Prospecting, New York Life. “Some of the traits that we look for are discipline, commitment, drive, a willingness to be coached and motivation. Veterans typically possess these traits and qualities, which is why I look for them.”

New York Life is Hiring Veterans. Click Here to Learn More.

And no, you don’t necessarily have to know a lot about money to be successful in this field, although a willingness to learn about it (and how to manage it) certainly helps.

Chief Petty Officer Michael Mendelsohn

Partner, New York Life

What do you do?

I’m a recruiter for New York Life. My job is to recruit, train, develop and retain the next generation of financial advisors for the company.

What surprised you about the civilian workforce?

With the job I took at New York Life, it was 180 degrees different from the military. The military was very regimented – I have a lot more freedom in my civilian work schedule. I spent 20 years being told where to be and how to act; it was a very big difference in the civilian world.

What’s the coolest thing about your job?

The impact I have on so many families, individuals and business owners’ lives on a daily basis.

What’s the biggest challenge?

Trying to get people used to the idea of running their own business and not having a 9 to 5 salary mentality.

Advice for transitioning service members?

Keep all your options open. Just because you’re an IT person doesn’t mean you can only work in the IT field. You never know what kind of opportunity may be out there if you just keep an open mind.

Age: 45
Military Service: Chief Petty Officer (E-7), Navy (1991-2011)
Rating: Electrician
Education: Bachelor’s degree, management and criminal justice, Excelsior College, 2011


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