How to Become a Financial Advisor

If you’re interested in a career change, you’ve never had more options than you do today. The financial sector is always a good bet too, especially now that our economy is beginning to recover from the recession. One prominent and important job is that of a financial advisor. Keep reading to learn how you could become one.

What Financial Advisors Do

First, let’s go over the actual job description. Financial advisors have such an important job because it’s essential to everyone’s financial wellbeing, yet no one wants to do it for themselves. Financial advisors help you make sense of your money and handle it in ways that will guarantee you keep the bulk of it for as long as possible or at least spend it on things you really want.

As a financial advisor, you will regularly meet with your clients in person to help them invest, determine and stick to a budget, make retirement plans, save for their child’s college tuition, etc.

Interestingly, though most financial advisors start out working for larger companies, about 20% are self-employed. So if you’ve dreamt of owning a small business or at least being in charge of your own financial destiny, this is a great job for it.

Furthermore, many financial advisors find success by focusing on niche areas. So, for example, you might specialize in retirement plans, those for people with special needs, same sex couples or couples who just married.


If this sounds like the type of job for you, you’re probably wondering what it is you‘ll need in order to pursue this dream. You’ll absolutely need a bachelor’s degree, generally in finance, accounting or business. However, consider getting an advanced degree as well. Not only can it legitimately help your understanding of the business, it’s a great way to separate yourself from the pack.

It’s also wise to pursue and obtain a financial planner certification as this designation makes you a member of the Financial Planning Association.

There are other certifications to think about as well if you want to expand your business. For example, if you get a securities license, you can begin making investment fees by using your clients’ money to purchase stocks. If you get certified as an insurance broker, you can sell life insurance and other types.

Salary Expectations

Obviously, no matter how good the job sounds, the salary is a really breaking point for many people. In 2012, the median salary in America for financial advisors was a little over $67,500. However, there was a good degree of variability involved. The lowest earning financial advisor made just above $32,000, so there’s some real extremes involved. On the other end of that spectrum, though, the highest salary was close to $187,200.

It’s also important to realize that many financial advisors make substantial amounts of their income from bonuses. This applies to those who work for a large company. Though, the more services you can offer, (i.e. insurance, brokering, etc.), the more options you have to bring in money.

Is It For You?

Just because the above sounds enticing, doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a financial advisor is right for you. It takes a rare personality type that both loves numbers, analysis and organization as well as having the skills to talk to people and explain their finances in ways they can understand and benefit from.

Of course, depending on the certifications you get, you might have a lot more to talk about too. But this will also mean longer amounts of time you need to work in order to pay off any fees or costs involved in school or certification.




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