How To Become A Financial Advisor

Financial advisors help individuals and businesses by offering financial guidance. Their knowledge is valuable when saving for retirement, setting up a college fund, getting married and starting a family, and planning estate and tax savings. This position requires at least a bachelor's degree. Although not required by employers, a degree in fields like mathematics, economics, accounting, business, or finance is helpful in this profession. These professionals may advance into management level positions, but for this they will need a master's degree. An advanced degree could expand their practice by increasing their client base. This can also be achieved by getting a certification and becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). This examination is offered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, and can only be taken after getting a bachelor's degree and at least three years of relevant work experience. Depending upon the products they sell, financial advisors may need different licenses as well.

What Students Study
Depending upon the degree being pursued, students will study courses relevant to their major; however, there are some topics that may be taught across all majors. The following is a list of these topics that relate to financial advising:

  • Investment
  • Statistical modeling
  • Debt Management
  • Taxes
  • Insurance and Risk Management
  • Estate Planning
  • Financial planning process
  • Emergency funds reserves
  • Planning liability

In order to excel in this field, students need to develop essential qualities like good analytical and interpersonal skills. As this work involves working with numbers most of the time, students should also focus on sharpening their mathematical skills.

How To Benefit From Online Education
According to a 2013 report by the Babson Survey Research Group, 87% of the schools offer some form of online education. The range of options of degree programs increases, courses are designed in a flexible and easily accessible format, and you get to save money by lowering your transportation and accommodation expenses. All of this makes it ideal for students as well as professionals who want to upgrade their career by continuing their education.

What They Do
Their work involves the following responsibilities and tasks:

  • Hold consultations with clients and analyze their financial needs, goals and resources
  • Develop comprehensive financial plans for clients depending upon the resources, objectives, and risks involved
  • Review the client's financial information about assets and liabilities, identify problems, and develop recommendations
  • Select suitable investments with considerable returns for clients
  • Buy and sell financial products such as mutual funds, insurance, securities, pension plans, and real estate
  • Evaluate their investment strategies and performances and adjust for the changing family income, economic conditions, and financial needs.

What Are The Employment Prospects?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that the employment of personal financial advisors will increase by 32% from 2010 through 2020. This increase is much higher than the average of all occupations. Their demand will come from an aging population that is actively seeking planning advice for retirement. Declining pension funds by state and local governments and private organizations have also necessitated some form financial planning.


Q:How long does it take to become a financial advisor?

A:4 years is the minimum time required to become financial advisor. Employers prefer hiring individuals who have earned at least a 4 year bachelor degree in the field. Apart from college education, candidates must sit for series 7 and 66 licensing examination conducted by FINRA. It is important to remember that the requirements for licensing may vary from state to state.

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