Managing Director, October 2012
Financial Advisor/Field Director, October 2008 - September 2012
Full-time Financial Representative, May 2008 - October 2008
Financial Representative intern, April 2005 - May 2008
It’s tough to imagine doing anything else – as this is really the only job I’ve ever had. As interns, we have a great opportunity at an early age. I was able to make a huge impact in helping families protect themselves financially and make an income that would have taken me 10 or 15 years to achieve in other traditional jobs. I also was lucky to get connected early on with a company that aligned with my values.
After all the uproar in the financial services industry, I can sleep well at night knowing Northwestern Mutual is going to back up the promises I make to my clients.
There is no downside—the internship is a win-win-win. When I started as an intern, I was fairly certain I wasn’t going to do this as a career. I wanted to have real-world experience on my resume that would help me get into the business school of my dreams. If I had stuck to my plan and just used it as a resume-builder, that would have worked, too. But I got into it, enjoyed it and had some success.
I can’t think of another internship where you can test-drive a career, build a practice, and gain some income during school. If you have an interest in being entrepreneurial, what better way to stick your toe in the water than the Northwestern Mutual internship?
The internship helped me mature as a person – I went from a typical college student who stays up late hanging out with friends to having the responsibilities of a financial representative. But I think this career has taught me more about myself than anything else. The business really forces you to look inward and figure out what motivates and drives you, what your strengths and weaknesses are. As a financial representative, you have to motivate yourself and to motivate yourself you have to know yourself. It is by far the most challenging and rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
It was being able to purchase my own home in Marina del Rey, California, at age 22. I’d had the goal for a long time and when I bought my house I realized that I would never have had the opportunity at this young age if it wasn’t for this career. It reminded me that I can be independent and, if I work hard, the sky is the limit to my opportunity.
My managing director in North Carolina, who is my hero and mentor in the business, told me that structure creates freedom. It seemed counterintuitive at first, but the idea is if you are disciplined with your time and structured with your day, it gives you a great deal of freedom to do what you want to do. I complain that I’m young and have so many responsibilities. But that structure and work ethic have given me the opportunity to do things I want to do.
I am actually introverted and not very comfortable meeting new people. Calling on people doesn’t come naturally for me, I have to work on it – and the idea of making calls to random strangers was very scary for me early on.
So it is important to understand that you can still make it in this business, where you have to prospect and call on people you don’t know, even if you are not a social extrovert.
In addition to his role as a financial advisor, Juan Baron is a managing director of one of Northwestern Mutual’s district network offices.
To learn more about Juan Baron and a career as a managing director, visit his district network office website.