A career that combines your knowledge about the financial markets with the ability to help and map out a client’s finances is that of a financial planner or financial advisor. In this role, you will be meeting with clients to determine their financial goals and answer their questions about investments, retirement savings and insurance. You will be integral in helping clients have a solid plan for their financial future by recommending an investment plan based on their circumstances and decisions. You will also most likely be licensed to buy and sell stocks, bonds, mutual funds, insurance and other financial products. You monitor the market and analyze trends to be able to provide the best advice to your clients.
To succeed as a financial planner, you need to be highly analytical. You will be dealing with a lot of information in order for you to recommend the best portfolio for your customers so you need to constantly analyze between the risk taken and the potential reward. This comes in tandem with exceptional mathematics ability since you will be dealing mostly with numbers. You also need to know how to sell your products so you can earn as well as grow your client base. Finally, you need to have good interpersonal and communication skills to make clients be at ease with you.
For those who hold a keen interest in the financial markets, a career as a financial planner is the best way to be updated on what is happening in the industry. Unlike other finance-related professions where the individual is basically confined to crunching numbers in a room, a financial planner actually interacts with other people and helps them with that crucial role of planning for a stable financial future. It is also a financially rewarding profession that is expected to provide more job opportunities in the coming years.
Financial Planner Work Environment
Many financial planners work with finance and insurance firms. Some are also hired by credit intermediation and related industries. An estimated 20 percent of personal financial advisors were self-employed in 2012 based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. They usually work fulltime in offices, although occasional travel may be necessary to attend conferences or meet more clients. Compared to other financial jobs, the stress level of financial planners is lower.
Financial Planner Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that personal financial advisors received a mean annual wage of $99,920 in May 2013. This is much higher than financial analysts who got $91,620 and insurance underwriters who were paid $70,110. Those connected with financial services companies usually get bonuses in addition to their salary. Those who are self-employed or work for financial investment or planning firms earn their keep by charging a certain percentage of the assets of the clients that they handle. They may also charge a fee per hour when they give advice or charge fees for every transaction made. They may also get commissions for the financial products that they sell.
Financial Planner Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that the employment rate of personal financial advisors for the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022 will be 27 percent. This is much faster than that of all job types. This will be fueled by the growing number of retirees who will need the services of financial planners to ensure that their retirement savings won’t outlast them. Reduced budgets for corporate and state pensions will also contribute to the demand for financial planners.
Financial Planner Degree
An educational entry point to this occupation is a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, business, mathematics, accounting or law. Taking courses in financial planning, estate planning, taxes, investments and risk management would also enhance one’s credentials as will obtaining a postgraduate degree. Although not required, getting certification can make a financial planner more credible. The Certified Financial Planner certification can be obtained from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.
The financial advisor must have a bachelor’s degree, three years of relevant work experience, take and pass a test and agree to abide by a code of ethics. Financial planners who sell financial investments and advice must also obtain the necessary licenses from the state boards.