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Financial Planner Career Factsheet

By: CareerFactsheet.com- Updated: Jun 21, 2017

Professional Profile
# of people in profession 249,400
Avg. hrs per week 40
*75th percentile earn $160,490
Median Wages $90,530
25th percentile earn $57,460
Education Bachelor's degree

Alternate Titles: Financial Advisor, Personal Financial Planner, Wealth Advisor.

If you are looking for a rewarding and exciting career that has plenty of room for advancement, financial planning could be the one for you.

What does a financial advisor do? That varies from person to person, but the simple answer is that financial planners assess their clients’ financial needs, and create a plan that will help the client achieve his or her goals. The financial planner (or financial advisor, the difference between the two titles is a matter of certification) forms a relationship with his/her clients and works with them in a hands-on way. They guides their clients, showing them how to get ready for retirement, pay down debt, save for college tuition or manage an investment portfolio.

Education & Training Requirements

There are many possible avenues into a financial planning career. A college degree is required, but it doesn’t have to be in Business or Finance. Many other fields of study, including Economics, Computer Science, Accounting, Mathematics, Marketing, Communications, and even Psychology, can provide the well-rounded background that financial advisors need to be effective. The important thing to remember is that this job isn’t just about money or numbers- it’s about helping people achieve their goals, and prepare for the future. If you are passionate about that, it is easy enough to get the extra training you will need to be successful.

Certification Requirements

All financial planners, whether they manage investments for large firms, or help retirees learn how to live off a fixed income, will need some sort of certification. If you want to market yourself as a professional financial planner, you must study for and earn the Certified Financial Planner designation. In order to get certified, you need three years of experience in the field, and you also have to pass a two-day, ten hour exam. Many colleges offer special courses that can help you get ready for this exam.

Those who are most interested in working with big organizations, like insurance companies or banks, will need to earn the CFA- the Chartered Financial Analyst certification. Another certification, called a Series 66, is required if you want to sell mutual funds and annuities. Thankfully, you don’t always have to work towards certification on your own. Some companies, like Wells Fargo Advisors, and Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management, provide their new employees with an all-inclusive training program which prepares them to take the required examinations.

Video Career Profile


Entry Level Salaries

When you first break into the field, it’s easiest to work for a financial advising firm. That way, you can collect experience and build up a client base. Entry level advisors typically earn around $40,000 per year. Once you have a large number of loyal clients, you can strike out on your own, which could raise your earning potential significantly. Financial planning is a challenging career- you need to be able to attract your own clients, and make sure that your advice yields favorable results for them. But if you have the motivation to work hard, and the desire to help others with their financial concerns, financial planning could be your dream career.

For further career advice on the Financial Planner/Advisor Job Profile read our articles below:

Planner vs. Advisor
Financial Planners vs. Financial Advisors
When deciding on whether or not to make a career for yourself as a Financial Planner v. Financial Advisor, it’s good to know the difference between the two in all aspects.
Financial Planning Duties
Job Description of a Financial Planner and an Advisor
Financial Planners are usually independent or self-employed whilst Financial Advisors need to meet a company’s goals
Financial Planning Salaries
4 Financial Planner Salary Sources To Help Gauge Income Potential
Wells Fargo, Merryl Lynch, Fisher Investment and T Rowe Price potential salaries for financial planners.
Become a Financial Planner
The Fastest Path To Becoming a Financial Planner
In general people make mid-life career changes into this career field so they have almost all the education, experience and required certifications to start out ¾ of the way up the ladder.

*Source: Salary ranges obtained from : Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages 2011 for Personal Financial Advisors

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