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How to Become a Financial Planner

Career News August 26, 2013

Do you want to work in finance, along with helping shape the future and assisting companies to grow and expand to new markets? The job of a financial planner is not merely to track numbers of recommend system changes, but to help guide company heads to a more rewarding future. A financial planner is someone who plans the how, where, and when for company spending, including devising outcomes that ultimately make a decision profitable.

Two Paths for a Financial Planner

However, there are two paths you can take. For instance, some financial planners work with money more so than people, so they might be attracted to mutual funds, insurance companies and investment. They will not deal with people, but with figures, and one of the highest achievements will be a CFA of Chartered Financial Analyst Certification. In contrast, those planners who work with people more so than hard figures might be attracted to career choices of tax help, retirement, investments and similar products. This is almost a sales position since you will be working directing with clients and managing a business.

If you prefer counting and working with numbers over people, you will definitely need a CFA certificate. If you primarily want to work with people, you don’t really need to obtain a CFA certification. However, you still need a strong understanding of pivotal issues in the lives of your clients. For example, a personal financial planner might help a client learn how to better spend his or her monthly finances over the course of the year in order to reach his or her goals. You will help the clients learn how to manage money, save for emergencies, and may even draw up a map or business plan to follow. If you work for an insurance company, you will always be selling investment packages in your company, which implies a heavy sales personality is required.

Education and Work Experience

Working at a bank may be a good starting point, so you can gain more experience. However, education will be paramount even if you don’t plan to become a CFA. A bachelor’s degree in accounting, economics, marketing, finance or business is usually required for an entry level position. Subjects to target might include mathematics or computer science. Financial advisor training precedes certification, though the CFA isn’t the only option. You can also reach out for a CFP or Certified Financial Planner certification. Certification does require an examination, but there are over 285 colleges (including UMCP based in Maryland) that can help you prepare for the exam. In addition, three years of work experience is usually required.

Anyone can call themselves a financial planner, but if you want to work with big name clients, you need to work with a broker or dealer. Another option is to become a Registered Investment Advisor. This latter is easier and more of a consultant role. The broker/dealer option is commission-based.

Skills That Will Help You

A course on communications will help boost your ability to sell and persuade, which is a major factor in some avenues of this field. You will also need to stay up to date with the latest changes in economy and finance in order to advise your clients. This is a career choice that will appeal to most for its clear pathways of working people or working with money. Its median salary of $66,000 per year is also an advantage. This is a career growing at the rate of 32%, and it will do for the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 66,000 jobs are expected to be added to over 200,000 existing jobs during this time frame. Now is the ideal time to start your career in financial planning!

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