What Does A Personal Financial Advisor Do?

"I love the field of finance, but I’m still not quite sure where I will fit into it yet and what I should do. I’m really into investing, but I also find personal finance really interesting, and I have a pretty solid understanding of many different aspects, like retirement, insurance, etc. I was wondering, what that make me someone who is a good candidate for becoming a personal financial advisor? Maybe my knowledge can help others—and translate to a good salary for me. What do you think? What does a personal financial advisor actually do?"

asked by Ashton from Burlington, VT

A personal financial advisor is someone who advises clients on finances, exactly as the job title implies. You would meet with clients, discuss their financial situation and goals, and learn what they want to accomplish with the financial aspect of their lives. Then you would come up with a plan which would help your clients to meet their goals. Every client will have a unique set of needs.

For some clients, you may be working on retirement plans and dealing with pensions, retirement packages, and so forth. For other clients you may need to deal with questions involving real estate, taxes, and insurance.

Still others may be interested in investment opportunities. This is one of the most common activities for a personal financial advisor: researching and recommending (or selecting) investment opportunities so that clients can grow their accounts. You would also be responsible for advising clients of the risks of investing.

As a personal financial advisor, you would develop a lot of long-term relationships with clients, and you would routinely monitor your clients’ accounts to ensure that goals are being met. If there are major life changes, you would need to look for ways to adjust plans accordingly.

If for example your client has a child, that would change the entire financial landscape of your client’s life, and that would take major adjustments to ensure that the new goals can be met along with the old ones (if possible). Establishing realistic goals in light of changes is yet another task you would work on with your client.

If you have heard of “wealth management,” that is a closely related position. Wealth managers are basically personal financial advisors for very wealthy clients. They can also be called private bankers. As a personal financial advisor, you may work for a bank or another company in the finance industry, or you may work for yourself.

The majority work full time and serve clients in evening hours and on the weekends. Another benefit of becoming a personal financial advisor is developing the skills you need to manage your own finances, and hopefully become wealthy yourself one day. From what you have told me about your interests and skills, this may be an ideal job for you.

Career Spotlight: Financial Planner

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