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How to Become a Financial Advisor

Do you enjoy helping people meet their financial goals and dreams? Are you an expert in financial planning? A position as a financial advisor could be the perfect position for you.

Financial advisors use their expertise to provide businesses and individuals with advice in regards to their investments and financial plan. 

These individuals develop strategies and plans to maximize profitability while also reducing debts. They meet with clients to review financial objectives, income, expenses and risk tolerance. An advisor also prepares financial documents, such as investment reports and income projections.

Financial advisors move money from accounts while following industry and federal regulations. They are excellent researchers, making sure their clients are educated on the products and services that will help them best utilize their available funds.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is committed to hiring an exceptional financial advisor. The ideal candidate will be driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to own a business. You should also be excited by uncapped earning potential and the ability to work on your own terms. Our advisors are passionate about solving problems for their clients while constantly researching the best strategies that lead to long-term results and relationships. If you’re willing to learn from and be molded by a team of expert peers who are dedicated to winning together, competitive and driven to excel, self-motivated and resilient through losses, failures, and challenges, a fantastic communicator, and able to make complex topics attainable and easy to understand, you could be our perfect fit.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Meet with clients to determine financial objectives 
  • Offer advice on products and services including investments, debt management tools, insurance coverage and more
  • Secure bonds and stocks 
  • Move money from accounts
  • Engage in market research to stay on top of industry trends
  • Maintain compliance with rules and regulations
  • Identify and pursue potential clients

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, finance, accounting, economics, or a related field
  • One year of related experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • Impeccable sales and customer service skills
  • Familiarity with mutual fund, securities, and insurance industries
  • Ability to convey options with benefits and risks 
  • Excellent organization skills
  • Ability to assess client needs

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience working in a large, fast-paced financial firm

Typical work environment

Financial advisors work in an office at small or large firms. They may need to travel to attend conferences, seminars, or networking events. They may also need to travel to clients offices or homes. Most financial advisors work full-time and may need to work evenings or weekends to accommodate client needs.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a financial advisor in an office setting are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, with a possibility of needing to work evenings or weekends as needed. 

Available certifications

There are many certifications that can be beneficial to securing a higher-paying position, including:

  • Certified Financial Planner (CTF). To gain a CTF certification, there are rigorous requirements that are set by the Certified Financial Planner Boards of Standards. Up to 1,000 hours of work will be needed to complete the coursework and exam. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is needed to pursue the CTF certification. Three years of financial planning experience is also required for this certification.
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). CFA certification is important in portfolio management and investment research. A bachelor’s degree is needed to obtain this certification. There are three required exams, and each takes six hours. Candidates will need to study extensively before taking their exams.
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS). PFS studies estate planning, investing, retirement planning, insurance, and more. Three years of work experience are required and an exam must be passed.

Career path

The journey to becoming a financial advisor begins by earning a bachelor’s degree in Finance, Business, Economics, or a related field. 

Students who aspire to be financial advisors are also encouraged to gain entry-level work experience in a related field. An MBA or master’s degree in a related field could be beneficial in climbing the corporate ladder and obtaining a management position. 

Financial advisors need to develop excellent interpersonal skills so they can build trust with clients, communicate effectively, and maintain a healthy client base.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 13-2052

2020 Employment275,200
Projected Employment in 2030276,350
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 5% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift12,600 increase

Advisors should take notice of the generational gap that will be upcoming. Trillions of dollars are going to pass from the Baby Boomer generation to their descendants in the coming years, so advisors should focus on getting to know their older clients’ children so that they can retain them once their parents are gone. 

Educational loan debt is a large burden for parents and students. Clients will be looking for advice on how to handle this issue, and a legislative overhaul will be needed to address this issue on a national scale.

Technology is playing a large role in financial advising. Cloud-based technology allows for around the clock mobility and flexibility for younger clients and traders. It is much easier now than ever for investors to view their portfolios and accounts online, allowing clients to login and manage their money while communicating with their advisors/planners.