Login | Register

How to Become a Personal Financial Advisor

Bachelor's degree

Financial advisors work with clients to establish trust regarding their investments. They have to be knowledgeable to understand particular concerns and questions. A bachelor's degree is commonly required. Having certification and a master's degree can improve one's chances to advance in this field.

Education & Training

A bachelor's degree is typically required for personal financial advisors. Employers do not necessarily require a particular field of study when it comes to this specialty; however, a degree in mathematics, economics, law, business, accounting or finance provides excellent preparation. Courses including: tax preparation, investments, risk management and risk management are ideal. More universities and colleges are offering financial planning programs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Depending on the specific investment advice they are giving, personal financial advisors may have a combination of licenses related to the products they specialize in. Individuals may directly sell and purchase insurance policies, stocks, or bonds.

There are firms who are responsible for managing their clients' investments. These firms are regulated and registered with local regulatory bodies. Individuals associated with larger firms must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Individuals who choose to sell insurance are required to be licensed by local governing authorities. Information can be obtained from the North American Securities Administrators Association.

Becoming certified may help them gain new clients and build a successful reputation. The CFP or Certified Financial Planner certification offers the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Individuals must have a minimum of 3 years of relevant work experience, their bachelor's degree, adhere to a code of ethics and successfully pass an exam to be eligible.

Topics covered in the exam include: retirement planning, taxes, insurance and risk management, employee benefits planning, debt management, statistical modeling, emergency fund reserves, real estate planning, financial planning processes and planning liability.

Skills and Qualities that will Help

Analytical skills: Personal financial advisors must take a variety of information into account including: the clients' risk tolerance, regulatory changes and economic trends.

Interpersonal skills: A huge part of a personal financial advisor's job is to make clients feel comfortable. They must respond accurately to client's concerns and questions while establishing trust.

Math skills: Constantly working with numbers means that financial advisors need to have excellent math skills. They must determine the amount to be invested, how much that amount will decrease or increase over time and how to create a balanced portfolio that includes a variety of investments.

Sales skills: In order to expand their client base, personal financial advisors need to be persistent and convincing when it comes to selling their products and services.

Speaking skills: It is necessary for personal financial advisors to interact with numerous clients each day. They must have the ability to explain complex financial terms in a way that individuals can understand.

How To Advance

Obtaining a master's degree in business administration or finance can dramatically improve a personal financial advisor's opportunities for attracting new clients and working in management positions.