What Do I Do To Become A Financial Advisor?

Financial management is as complicated as is tricky. Though many can quite manage their assets and investments, it takes years of training and years more experience to become an expert. If you are one of those who enjoys making financial decisions for others and helps them realize their goals, then there is a lucrative career for you – Othman Louanjli.

Financial advisors provide support to clients who need assistance with money management. They analyze the client’s financial position and come up with a comprehensive financial plan to help achieve their financial goals.  Financial advisors can either provide a wide range of services or focus on specific areas such as estate or retirement planning.

Education Credentials

The least that is required to become a financial advisor is a bachelor’s degree. Though any degree is acceptable, those related to finance, accounting, economics, mathematics, statistics, or even law are preferred. These degrees introduce the student to topics such as investment planning, retirement planning, estate planning, income tax preparation and planning, professional conduct, and the like. A student or an advisor can also take up any of these courses through programs registered by the Certified Financial Planner Board (CFPB).

An advanced degree at a later point, especially those such as masters in finance or an MBA in taxation, for example, provides the advisor with a competitive advantage. Additionally, a degree in psychology can also be helpful since an advisor will be providing financial counseling, and more often than not, to emotions attached to these finances. While pursuing the bachelor’s degree, it is advisable to serve as an intern for a short period, to get a real-world experience along with guidance from those already experienced in the field.

Certifications And Licenses

A number of certifications are available for advisors who look forward to specific training that can boost their knowledge and career. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) recommends at least one of the following certifications for financial advisors:

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Financial advisors who prefer focusing on one field require state licenses to conduct business with people. For instance, to specialize in investments, an advisor must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or with the state as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), whereas to sell insurance, one must register with the state as an accredited adviser in insurance. To sell securities products (all excepting commodities and futures), one must pass the Series 7 exam that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) administers. Such credentials help earn credibility among clients.

Working As An Advisor

After completing the bachelor’s degree, one can apply for entry-level jobs at financial planning firms or at organizations such as insurance companies and banks. Many financial advisors choose to be self-employed and market their services through traditional and social media to attract clients. Financial advisors can either be general practitioners or train to become specialists. Further training and additional certifications add to an advisors career growth and also results in better compensation.

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