How young people should think about a career in finance
By: Tim Bennett


Everyone wants to land the perfect job the moment they start work. The key ingredients usually include a decent salary in return for doing something we enjoy and are good at.
However, this is often unrealistic. A better bet is to reset your early expectations and realise that a long-term approach will usually pay off provided you take the right approach.

Let’s talk about Tim

My career is a good illustration of this. My current role contains a diverse mix of different projects that call on a huge array of skills. These include;

·       Compiling and editing a quarterly magazine

·       Creating weekly educational videos

·       Writing short guides

·       Delivering seminars internally and externally

·       Creating PR content

Whilst it can have its challenges, fundamentally this role ticks the boxes when it comes to enjoyability and my ability to deliver it.

However, it was not always thus. En route to my Head of Education role I have done several others and picked up different skills from each of them.
Were any of these my dream job? Far from in at least one case. However, each allowed me to build a skill that I now use more or less daily. Like most people, I was not born with these talents and have had to spend hours and hours developing them.
What I have learned along the way is that finding the “right” job doesn’t happen to many people overnight – you must be prepared to invest in yourself and play the long game.

On a chart

If I were to categorise each of my previous roles, according to how much I enjoyed them and my ability to deliver them, you would end up with a diagram looking something like this.
Starting bottom left, whilst I knew the value of getting the Chartered Accountancy qualification, I was not a natural accountant (they do exist!) and nor was I very good at passing the exams. Nonetheless a certain amount of determination got me through them.
That’s when I moved into City teaching (as I call it – the official name is “training consultancy”). Initially I loved it but wasn’t very good at it and then later, once I had mastered it – a process that took several years – I began to tire of it even though I was very good at it. I have put it bottom, right in the diagram above, reflecting my feeling about it ahead of my next move. After all, there is arguably nothing worse than a bored teacher!
My next job represented a radical change of direction. I had always wanted to write and edit and, having aced a history degree, I knew I could do it given the chance. But how, aged 35 with no previous CV experience? The answer came from a severe pay cut and a piece of opportunism. A senior writing role was made available at Moneyweek magazine, and I took it. There, I was initially not as good as I believed I might be – I loved the work but had to climb a steep learning curve as a patiently discovered how to produce great copy that people would want to pay for (50,000 of them per week at the peak). That’s why I have put it top, left above. Later, as Deputy Editor, I probably came closer to the top, right box. By then I had mastered writing and editing every page, whether it about money, travel, restaurants or even cars. Then along came an offer from Paul Killik.
Picking up on my very popular YouTube channel, Moneyweekvideos, he offered me the chance to come on board and apply the skills I had learned from all three previous stages of my career. We started with a more or less blank sheet of paper. After over five years at the firm, I now have a role that combines writing, editing, design, presenting, networking, and brand engagement all in one. That is why my current job sits top, right above.
So, what would I advise the 18-year old me to do when it comes to taking that first step onto the financial services ladder? First off, work hard. Malcolm Gladwell famously claimed that it takes 10,000 hours to master anything – the number is less important than the principle that no-one gets to be an expert overnight. Next, be patient and realistic. Accept that building skills takes time and effort and the true reward for them may only come after many years. Thirdly, always be open to opportunities. My moves to Moneyweek and Killik & Co were not universally understood by friends and family, so I had to keep faith in my decisions and seize what I thought were good offers at two key points.


On the front cover of the latest issue of Confidant, you will see a mountaineer looking ahead to the next big summit. You sense that he will scale it but that the journey may take time and effort and even require him to go down before he can ascend again and achieve his goal. Although intended to be about investing that, in a nutshell, is how many of the best job moves and careers work too.

To find out more

Feel free to email me on [email protected], or contact an Adviser, to find out more about financial careers at Killik & Co.