Do you love working with numbers? Are you a good communicator and planner? Can you see yourself helping others make informed decisions? You may want to consider a career as a financial advisor!
Financial advisors determine investment portfolios for their clients by considering a range of information, including economic trends, regulatory changes, and their client’s comfort level with risky decisions.
They assess the financial needs of individuals and help them with decisions on investments (such as stocks and bonds), tax laws, and insurance.
In addition to offering valuable advice to clients, successful financial advisors have virtually unlimited earning potential, flexibility in work schedules, and control over their practice.
If you’re considering pursuing a career in this rewarding and growing field, then here is everything you need to know about becoming a financial advisor.
Broadly speaking, financial advisors help individuals and businesses make well-informed financial decisions and manage their money more efficiently. Their major goal is to help their clients overcome financial difficulties and improve their financial position.
Advisors help clients plan for short-term and long-term goals, such as budgeting for education expenses and saving for retirement through investments. They invest clients’ money based on the clients’ decisions. Many advisors also provide tax advice or sell insurance. After financial advisors have invested funds for a client, they and the client receive regular investment reports. Advisors monitor the client’s investments and usually meet with each client at least once a year to update the client on potential investments and to adjust the financial plan based on the client’s circumstances or because investment options may have changed.
Although most financial advisors offer advice on a wide range of topics, some specialize in areas such as retirement or risk management (evaluating how willing the investor is to take chances, and adjusting investments accordingly).
Many personal financial advisors spend a lot of time marketing their services, and they meet potential clients by giving seminars or participating in business and social networking.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 5% growth in employment of personal financial advisors from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations. However, despite limited employment growth, about 21,500 openings for personal financial advisors are projected each year, on average, over the decade.
The primary driver of employment growth will be the aging population. As large numbers of baby boomers continue to retire, they are likely to seek planning advice from personal financial advisors. Also, longer lifespans will lead to longer retirement periods, further increasing demand for financial planning services.
In addition, the replacement of traditional pension plans with individual retirement accounts is expected to continue. Many people used to receive defined pension payments in retirement, but most companies no longer offer these plans. Therefore, individuals must save and invest for their retirement, increasing the demand for personal financial advisors.
Analytical skills: In determining an investment portfolio for a client, personal financial advisors must be able to assess a range of information, including economic trends, regulatory changes, and the client’s comfort with risky decisions.
Interpersonal skills: A major part of a personal financial advisor’s job is making clients feel comfortable. Advisors must establish trust with clients and respond well to their questions and concerns.
Math skills: Personal financial advisors must be adept at working with numbers to determine the amount invested, how that amount has grown or decreased over time, and how a portfolio is distributed among different investments.
Marketing skills: To expand their base of clients, personal financial advisors must be convincing and persistent in selling their services.
Communication skills: Personal financial advisors interact with clients every day. They must explain complex financial concepts in a way that clients understand.
Personal financial advisors need at least a four-year bachelor’s degree. Although employers usually do not require a specific course of study, common fields of degree include business, social science, or mathematics.
There are a number of different professional certifications or licenses that financial advisors can get that may enhance their reputation and help bring in new clients.
An internship can give aspiring financial advisors connections and experience in the financial services industry. Many start their careers as unpaid interns before they complete their degree, and some internships may be eligible for a class credit towards a degree.
If becoming a financial advisor sounds like a good career fit for you, we recommend that you start focusing on subjects like maths, algebra, and business while in high school and chalk out a career map that includes practical exposure to the field of finance.