How To Become A Financial Advisor

Written by: Katie Begley

    A skilled financial advisor is a valuable part of both individual and corporate financial teams and can help their clients make the most of their financial assets. If you like helping clients establish and work towards financial goals, you can soon be on your way to becoming a financial advisor.


    Is Financial Advising a Good Career?

    There are many positions that include the responsibilities of a financial advisor. Anyone who provides financial advice, either to individuals or an organization, as part of their work can claim the title of a financial advisor. If your primary professional responsibility is in finance and you have the appropriate certifications, you have chosen a career as a financial advisor.

    When considering if this is the right career for you, there are two main paths to consider: work with individuals on their personal financial goals or work with companies and organizations on corporate financial strategy.


    Personal Financial Advisors

    Personal financial advisors work with individuals to help plan their financial future. This can include everything from establishing upcoming financial goals (retirement, funding education, or specialty, such as retirement planners or asset management, but advise their clients on wide other) to recommending investments. Personal financial advisors often have a particular variety of financial tools.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is expected to grow by 7% by the year 2028, which is above the national average. Pay averages around $87,850 annually, with the top-earning personal financial advisors working in securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments. If you enjoy working one-on-one with clients on their personal financial goals in an in-demand field, personal financial advising would make a great career for you.


    Corporate Financial Advisors

    Corporate financial managers often perform similar work tasks to personal financial advisors, but focus more on organizational financial planning. When considering investments, they look at company assets. They advise on a financial path that is the best fit for a secure future at their company.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs for financial managers to grow by 16% by the year 2028, much faster than average. While the job prospects are greater, so is the level of responsibility. Corporate financial managers make around $129,890 annually, with the top earning positions in the professional, scientific, and technical services. If working in a fast-paced environment to make high level financial decisions is right for you, consider a career as a financial manager.



    What Do Financial Advisors Do At Large Firms?

    Most financial advisors begin their career at a large firm. Some names you may recognize as large national-level banks and organizations. Other firms are smaller, local companies that cater to a specific region. Either way, consider the type of work environment that you enjoy and the opportunities for growth within that firm.

    As a financial advisor at a firm, you will likely spend a lot of your time meeting with clients, performing analyses, corresponding through email and phone calls, and executing financial plans with the approval of your clients. You will also need to continually work to build your professional network and bring new business to your firm.


    How Can A Financial Advisor Work For Themselves?

    Some financial advisors with an entrepreneurial spirit start their own businesses. This can be difficult, especially if you are new to the financial services industry. Being an outstanding financial advisor does not automatically qualify you to be an effective small business owner.

    Around 25% of personal financial advisors are self-employed and the majority of those began their career at established firms. Consider taking additional classes in business or building up a strong client base before venturing out on your own. Once you are an experienced financial advisor, it may be time to make the leap to entrepreneurship and start your own firm.


    How Do I Become A Registered Investment Adviser?

    An investment adviser sometimes called an asset manager, investment counselor, investment manager, portfolio manager, or wealth manager, is someone who provides financial advice about securities. The term investment adviser is a specific legal designation that requires the firm or the individual (investment adviser representative) to register with the SEC.

    Registered investment advisers have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients, meaning that they are legally obligated to act in the best financial interest of their clients. Financial advisors not registered with the SEC are not obligated to do so by law.

    Registered investment advisers who manage up to $100 million in assets are required to register with their state. After reaching that amount, the individual or firm has the option to register with the SEC. Registered investment advisers who manage more than $110 million in assets are required to register with the SEC.


    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



    Becoming A Financial Advisor

    The path to becoming a financial advisor requires academic study, professional experience, and licensing exams. One of the best ways to begin is to build a strong foundation through an undergraduate program. Once you have studied the fundamentals and gained experience through an internship, it’s time to become licensed and begin your career as a financial advisor.

    Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated on August 2020.

    Any Information on this site is not guaranteed or warranted to be correct, accurate, or up to date. StateRequirement and its members and affiliates are not responsible for any losses, monetary or otherwise. StateRequirement is not affiliated with any state, government, or licensing body. For more information, please contact your state's authority on insurance.

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