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How to Become a Financial Advisor

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Secure Your Financial Future as You Help Others Build Wealth

If you love numbers, helping people make wise decisions and planning for a solid financial future, a career as a financial advisor could be enjoyable and exciting. With a bit of education and a few years of on-the-job training, you will secure your own family's financial future as you help clients develop strategies for retirement planning, college funding, insurance, financial management, investment and more. Regular or flexible hours, often with benefits, make this a solid career choice for those raising young families.

Job Description

Personal financial advisors work with people of all income levels to determine their financial goals and challenges. They are experts in financial investment and savings, as well as versed in insurance, retirement funds, financial services, college funds and budgeting. They oversee financial progress and meet with clients to help them stay on track toward their goals and make changes as needed. Financial advisors work with computers and numbers, so strong math and organizational skills are critical. People skills make serving clients and identifying their needs and solutions to their financial challenges much easier. Marketing skills are important for advertising services, and teaching skills come in handy for offering financial classes and seminars to the community.

Education Requirements

Financial advisors often get their start with a bachelor's degree in business, mathematics or a related field. Following graduation, most professionals receive on-the-job training where they learn the ropes of financial planning, decision making and serving clients. Those who sell insurance, trade stocks, bonds or provide certain types of financial advice are required to obtain the corresponding licenses to provide those services. After three years of work experience in the field, financial planners are eligible to sit for the Certified Financial Planner exam, which increases their reputability and can make it easier to build a client base. Some financial advisors go on to earn master's level degrees in business or management in order to promote or build a base of higher profile clients.

The median salary for personal financial advisors is $90,530, which means that half earn more than this, while the other half earns less. The top 10 percent earns more than $208,000, while the bottom 10 percent earns less than $41,160. Those who work in commodity contracts, securities, other financial investments and related work earn the highest median salary, at $98,290 per year.

About the Industry

Most financial advisors work for financial services institutions or are self-employed. Jobs are generally full-time, and those who work for larger firms tend to enjoy full benefits, a major plus when you are caring for young children. While office hours are mostly during the day, sometimes it is necessary to meet with clients in the evenings or on weekends, so reliable childcare is important. Some flexibility during daytime work hours makes this a good fit for professionals who want to volunteer at a child's school or in the community.

Years of Experience

Income increases with client base, services offered and years of experience in the field. One possible income projection for financial advisors working as analysts within a larger firm looks like this:

  • 1-2 Years: $92,273-$97,866
  • 3-4 Years: $93,112-$98,565
  • 5-6 Years: $93,811-$99,265
  • 7-9 Years: $94,650-$99,858
  • 10-14 Years: $96,747-$102,214
  • 15-19 Years: $98,565-$104,255
  • 20 or More Years: $99,265-$105,040

Job Growth Trend

Job opportunities for financial advisors is expected to grow 14 percent over the next decade, faster than in other industries. The aging baby boomer population is increasingly seeking advice for retirement. Pension plans are increasingly replaced with retirement accounts, and people are seeking advice to plan wisely for the future.