How Much Does a Financial Advisor Make

Written by: Nik Ventouris

Last updated:

How Much Does a Financial Advisor Make

The role of a financial advisor is critical in guiding individuals and businesses through the complex world of finance, investments, and financial planning services. As demand for financial expertise continues to grow, many are curious about the earning potential in this dynamic field.

In this How Much Does a Financial Advisor Make article, we will explore the various factors that influence a financial advisor’s salary — from education and experience to geographical location and certification.

Whether you’re an aspiring financial advisor or simply interested in the financial industry, this article will provide insights into what you can expect in terms of compensation.

Average Financial Advisor Salary

How much financial advisors make varies considerably across the United States, influenced by factors such as cost of living, demand for financial services, and the economic environment of a particular state.

To provide a better look at these regional differences, we’ve summarized data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrating what financial advisors earned on average in each state in the table below.

State Average Annual Salary ($)
New Hampshire$114,190
New Jersey$127,220
New Mexico$127,350
New York$166,100
North Carolina$125,240
North Dakota$93,890
Rhode Island$132,990
South Carolina$94,090
South Dakota$83,530
West Virginia$88,120

Overall, the highest salaries for certified financial planners are in the Northeastern states, such as New York and New Jersey — while financial advisors earn the least in states in the Midwest and the South, such as Iowa and Oklahoma.

Despite these regional variations in salary, you can boost your earning potential regardless of the state you’re based in by leveraging the right educational resources. Online courses are a great way to do this as they offer a flexible and targeted approach that is tailored to advisors across all states.

Recommended Course

Over 81% of our readers use Kaplan’s online courses — which come with a 93% pass rate — when preparing for their Financial Advisor exam. For comprehensive study packages, StateRequirement recommends:

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Education Company

Alternatively, you can have a look at our How to Become a Financial Advisor article for more about this profession.

How to Become a Financial Advisor

A career as a financial advisor offers the opportunity to guide individuals or organizations in making informed financial decisions. Here’s how to get started:

Educational Foundation

The first step toward a promising career as a financial advisor often begins in the classroom. Many individuals choose to pursue a four-year college degree to get a comprehensive understanding of the various aspects of finance and money management.

While having a degree isn’t a strict rule for becoming a financial advisor, it does give you a competitive edge in the job market. Selecting the right major is crucial — fields such as finance, accounting, and business are highly useful for those aspiring to be financial advisors.

Gain Experience

When entering the world of finance many budding financial managers opt to begin their professional journeys at prominent, recognized firms.

These large institutions often offer structured training programs, mentorship opportunities, and exposure to a wide variety of clients and financial situations. They serve as fertile grounds for learning the ropes, understanding industry best practices, and building a network.

Some of the benefits of large, well-known firms have been summarized below:

  • Structured Learning
  • Diverse Client Exposure
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Reputation Boost

That being said, it’s also important to be aware of the advantages of smaller, regional entities:

  • Personalized Client Relationships
  • Versatility
  • Closer Team Dynamics
  • Local Market Understanding

Licensing and Certification

After the foundational step of obtaining a degree, the next crucial step in the journey of becoming a financial advisor involves acquiring relevant licenses and certifications.

These credentials validate your expertise and are often mandatory when dealing with specific financial products or giving advice in certain areas.

Importance of Licenses and Certifications

These certifications are important for a number of reasons. The key ones have been summarized below:

  • Credibility: Holding a recognized certification or license adds weight to your profile, establishing you as a competent and credible professional in the eyes of potential clients or employers
  • Legal Requirements: Depending on the type of financial advising and the region, certain licenses might be legally required to practice
  • Expanded Opportunities: Being certified can open up specialized sectors of financial advising, broadening the services you can offer to clients

Popular Licenses and Certifications

Below, we’ve summarized some of the most relevant licenses and certifications in today’s financial landscape:

  • Series 7: Often referred to as the General Securities Representative Exam, the Series 7 license allows financial advisors to sell most types of securities. Obtaining this license typically requires sponsorship by a registered firm and passing a comprehensive exam
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP): This widely respected certification verifies that a financial planner is competent in all areas of financial planning. Candidates usually undergo rigorous training, pass a detailed examination, and must adhere to a strict code of ethics

Continuous Learning

The world of finance is a constantly shifting landscape that requires financial advisors to stay updated in order to be able to offer relevant advice and navigate intricate regulations.

This dynamic nature of the industry obligates you to continuously learn if you want to achieve long-term success. Key ways for you to remain at the forefront include:

  • Enrolling in Courses: Regular participation in educational courses ensures alignment with changing market conditions and regulations
  • Attending Industry Seminars: Seminars provide insights into evolving best practices and allow professionals to leverage the latest tools
  • Engaging With Peers: Peer engagement and knowledge-sharing both foster a broader understanding of current industry trends
  • Joining Professional Associations: Membership in professional bodies offers opportunities for networking and staying informed about global economic trends

Foundational education may set the stage, but embracing these continuous learning strategies can determine your long-term success as a financial advisor.

Build a Client Base

Building a strong client base is essential for success in financial advising. Whether you’re working with a firm or on your own, networking events and community involvement can help you meet potential clients and peers.

Combining networking with solid advice is the key to growing and maintaining your client base. If you offer clear and reliable planning advice to your existing clients, they’re more likely to recommend you to others.

Remember, being a successful financial advisor requires not only financial acumen but also impeccable ethical standards, communication skills, and a genuine desire to help clients achieve their financial goals.

Recommended: Interested in getting started? We recommend using Kaplan’s online study packages, which come with a 93% pass rate.

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Education Company

How Much Does a Financial Advisor Make FAQ

Do you make a lot of money as a financial advisor?

Financial advisors can earn well, especially with experience and specialization. Salaries vary based on location and qualifications, though the US average is typically around $66,684 annually and top advisors earn significantly more. For more information on salaries see our How Much Does a Financial Advisor Make article.

Is it hard to be a financial advisor?

Being a financial advisor is challenging as it requires strong analytical skills, an understanding of financial markets, and excellent communication abilities. Building trust and maintaining ethical standards are also essential characteristics you’ll need to develop in order to succeed.

What skills are needed to be a financial advisor?

To be a certified financial planner you’ll need to be able to think analytically, understand finance and market trends, and have strong communication, ethical judgment, and relationship-building skills. Detail-oriented and record-keeping capabilities are also essential for keeping track of clients’ investments and offering specialized investment advice.

What is the best degree for a financial advisor?

A bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or business administration will provide you with a solid foundation. However, related fields like economics can also be beneficial. Advanced certifications like the CFP will also further enhance prospects for most financial advisors. Refer to our How to Become a Financial Advisor article to better understand what degree will benefit you the most.

How long will it take me to become a financial advisor?

Typically, it takes personal financial advisors between four and six years in total to get qualified, depending on specialization and state requirements. This estimate consists of four years to obtain a bachelor’s degree, followed by the additional time needed for any supplementary licensing exams or certifications.

Read More

For all related articles, have a look at our Financial Advisor Resources page.