Masters in Financial Planning

Written by: Nik Ventouris

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In a world where the average investor has access to a plethora of financial information, the demand for specialized financial knowledge is skyrocketing.

Masters in Financial Planning could not only boost your income but also position you as a sought-after expert in financial management, tax planning, and estate law.

In this guide, we will detail what courses you’ll likely take — and the admission prerequisites you’ll need to have — in order and help you decide whether this degree is the right fit for you.

Masters in Financial Planning Overview

Unlike a generic MBA or a Master’s in Finance, this program focuses on real-world applications of financial management, investment strategies, risk management, estate planning, and taxation laws.

The coursework goes far beyond traditional investing advice and delves into holistic financial planning, offering a well-rounded approach to wealth management.

Core Courses

Each course is designed to equip you with the comprehensive skills needed to excel in the complex world of financial planning. Below we’ve provided a brief summary of a few core course modules:

  • Advanced Portfolio Management: Assess risk and return, make informed investment choices, and manage a diversified portfolio effectively
  • Estate Planning: Learn the intricacies of estate law, wills, trusts, and how to navigate the complexities of asset distribution in various situations
  • Taxation Strategies: You’ll get a detailed understanding of the tax code and learn strategies to optimize tax benefits for your clients in different financial conditions
  • Risk Management and Insurance: Understand how to evaluate and manage various types of financial risks, including how to recommend appropriate insurance coverage
  • Retirement Planning: A deep dive into the types of retirement accounts, annuities, and long-term planning strategies for a secure retirement for your clients
  • Financial Statement Analysis: Develop the skills to critically evaluate financial statements, analyze cash flows, and make budgeting decisions

Accreditations

You should look for programs that have been accredited by respected organizations like the CFP Board or AACSB.

This is because accreditations ensure that the program you choose has met rigorous academic and professional standards, and can thus serve as a “seal of quality” that can make a big difference in your education and career advancement.

This is particularly the case if you are planning to pursue additional certifications, like the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.

Program Length and Format

A typical Master’s in Financial Planning can be completed in one to two years, depending on whether you go at it full-time or part-time. Programs may offer flexibility through online, in-person, or hybrid formats. Some programs may also offer or even require internships.

These opportunities provide valuable hands-on experience, which can give you a head start in your career and significantly increase your job opportunities.

Through these specialized courses, projects, and internships, a Master’s in Financial Planning offers a comprehensive education that prepares you for the complexities of today’s financial planning landscape.

Recommended Study Materials

Interested in starting the studies for your Master’s in Financial Planning? We recommend having a look at Kaplan’s in-depth study materials.

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Financial

How to Get a Masters in Financial Planning

Pursuing a Master’s in Financial Planning is a significant commitment that requires thorough preparation.

In this section, we’ll break down the essential prerequisites for admission, the educational and examination requirements you can expect, and what to prepare for after you’ve secured your degree.

Admission Requirements

Before you jump into the application process, it’s crucial to understand what prerequisites you’ll need to meet for admission.

  • Undergraduate GPA: Most programs look for a minimum GPA of 3.0, usually in business, economics, or a finance-related field
  • Work Experience: Depending on the program, two to three years of professional experience in finance may be required

Different programs have various criteria, so make sure you research multiple institutions to find a fit that aligns with your academic and professional background.

Education and Exam Requirements

Once you’re admitted, you’ll dive into an intensive academic journey. Here’s what you should expect.

  • Required Courses: You must complete a set of core courses that establish your foundational knowledge in financial planning. These typically include classes like Financial Statement Analysis and Ethics in Financial Planning
  • Minimum Credits: Most programs have a minimum number of credits you must complete to earn your degree, usually ranging between 30 and 40 credit hours
  • Examination Requirements: You will have to sit a plethora of different course-specific exams in order to complete your Master’s program

Understanding these educational and examination prerequisites will help you chart a clearer course through your Master’s program, ensuring that you meet all the necessary criteria for successful completion.

Ready to get started? StateRequirement recommends having a look at Kaplan’s study materials and resources.

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Financial

Is a Masters in Financial Planning Right for You?

Even though a Master’s in Financial Planning can offer several benefits, it’s not the right choice for everyone.

When you are determining whether this is the right choice for you, we recommend considering the following factors:

  • Career Opportunities: A Master’s in Financial Planning can open doors to specialized roles that are often out of reach for those with just an undergraduate degree, and can also be a prerequisite if you want to work in academia
  • Financial Investment: Before you get excited about the lucrative prospects, remember that the cost of this advanced degree isn’t trivial. Tuitions can range significantly depending on the institution. Having said that, keep in mind that this initial financial investment could be offset by higher earning potential over time
  • Long-Term Commitment: Completing a Master’s degree typically takes between one and two years, sometimes even more if you’re planning to study part-time. This time-commitment could interfere with your other personal and professional responsibilities
  • Skill Development: Ask yourself if you have a passion for diving deep into subjects like tax planning, investment strategies, and estate planning. A Master’s program is grueling and requires an in-depth focus on specialized topics

All in all, we recommend assessing not just your academic readiness but also your financial capability and your enthusiasm for making a long-term commitment to a career in financial planning before making a final decision.

Ready to get started? StateRequirement recommends having a look at Kaplan’s study materials and resources.

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Financial

Masters in Financial Planning FAQ

Is a Masters in Financial Planning worth it?

It can be. For many, the advanced knowledge and skill set obtained through a Masters in Financial Planning can open doors to higher-paying positions and specialized roles. Having said that, you should note that the degree’s value often depends on your specific career goals and the time and money you’re willing to invest.

Is financial planning a good career path?

Yes. Financial planning offers stable job prospects, competitive salaries, and the chance to make a meaningful impact on individuals’ lives. 
There’s also a variety of different roles (e.g., asset management, consultancy, etc.), which can make it a much more flexible career path. Interested in finding out more? Check out our How to Become a Wealth Manager article.

What is the best degree for a financial planner?

A bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, or business is often a solid foundation. A Master’s in Financial Planning, or a more specialized course (e.g., ChFC, CFA, CFP, etc.), can also be great designations for you if you are considering venturing into the realm of financial planning.

Is there a demand for financial planners?

Yes, demand for financial planners is projected to grow faster than average at the moment; a statistic which is highly driven by an aging population and increased financial complexity. If you are interested in becoming a financial planner, you will likely benefit from obtaining niche-specific qualifications (e.g., CFP, securities licenses, etc.).

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