How to Become a Financial Advisor

Become a Financial Advisor

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Are you interested in helping people plan how best to use, save, and invest their money? Are you detail-oriented, good with numbers, enjoy crafting a plan, and able to solve problems well? If finances intrigue you, you might want to assess your skills and education and consider retraining for a career as a financial advisor. This field is one that is useful in any economy--whether people are figuring out how to save and reduce debt, or how to make the most of their investments, they always need good advice.

Career Advice: Financial Advisors

The demand for financial advisors, professionals who can work with clients to help them achieve their financial goals, is expected to be robust in the coming years. In every economy, people need guidance and information to manage their money well. Financial advisors help people plan for retirement, save for a special goal, pay back debt, and any other task that requires a good financial assessment. A good advisor needs to be able to both look at the big picture and also pay attention to the details. Typically a bachelor's degree is required for this career and graduate education or further certifications are desirable. Retraining and education in this area includes knowledge of financial instruments (like stocks and bonds), and improving your skills at managing complexity around numbers.

Career Skills and Education

To become a financial advisor, you need strong interpersonal skills and a desire to help people. It is also helpful to be a detail oriented person who cares about accuracy. You must be able to analyze information in a way that helps clients meet their particular goals. You must also be able to explain investment strategies to your clients. Retraining, in the form of online career training courses or other additional education can build your competence, knowledge, and confidence. There is a lot to know about the financial world, but with the right educational approach, you can steadily improve your skills.

Career Outlook

  • Almost 20 percent of financial advisors are self employed.
  • Financial advisors typically need to hold a Series 7, Series 63, or Series 66 license.
  • In May 2013, the top paying states for financial advisors included Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Georgia, Tennessee.
  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT was the highest paying metropolitan area for financial advisors in May 2013
  • The National Association of Insurance and Personal Advisors has over 200,000 members
  • Earning the Certified Financial Planner credential typically requires 3 years of experience, a bachelor's degree, as well as a comprehensive examination
  • The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has 15 district offices and over 2,800 employees
  • In May 2013, nearly 48,540 financial advisors were employed by securities and commodities brokerage firms and organizations
  • In May 2013, the median annual salary for personal financial advisors was $99,920 with top 10% earning more than $124,680.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Personal Financial Advisors
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Personal Financial Advisors, May 2013 Wages
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority