Did you ever want to learn how to become a financial advisor?
Do you have an absolute knack for numbers and a thirst to change your career? Pursuing certain jobs, such as becoming a financial advisor, might be an avenue in life that no one has told you about. Many people have not heard about a financial advisor career, let alone have any idea how to become a financial advisor.
Becoming a financial advisor can be easier than you think. As long as you meet certain educational and licensing criteria, you too can be well on your way to a new career.
What is the financial advisor description?
Before you dive any deeper into a financial advisor career, you should first learn what the job consists of. A financial advisor is an individual who offers financial advice to a client. Typical financial advisor duties will include coaching clients through general financial planning, retirement planning, and insurance planning.
By becoming a financial advisor, you can even branch out into other careers, such as being an accountant, lawyer, insurance agent, or financial planner. Going through a financial advisor training program will give you more than enough background to pursue other financial careers.
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What are the financial advisor qualifications?
Basic financial advisor qualifications include earning a bachelor’s degree and obtaining a Certified Financial Planner license (CFP). Every financial advisor will have to get their CFP license before they are qualified to work as a financial advisor. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) wants to make sure that you know all about how the financial advisor career before you start working.
Before you can earn your CFP license, you are going to have to jump through a few hoops. They will first ensure that you learned how to become a financial advisor from an accredited university. They want to be sure that you are not becoming a financial advisor from a quack university.
At your university, you will have to take specific classes on how to become a financial advisor. Some classes include learning the basics on finances and financial planning, insurance planning, estate planning, retirement planning, etc.
After all, you cannot go to university for a degree in fine arts and except to know how to become a financial advisor. You will have to go through the proper financial advisor training program before the CFP Board will grant you the license.
You will also have to take a 10-hour test that consists of 285 multiple choice questions and tests whether you learned anything from your financial advisor training program. Anyone can sleep through a university degree on how to be a financial advisor, but you cannot guess your way through a 10-hour exam. This exam will cover everything you covered in your time learning how to become a financial advisor, so it is a fairly big deal.
You can purchase practice exam books to help you study for the 10-hour financial advisor qualifications exam. There are also organizations in most big cities that give students mock CFP exams, so that you can practice in a controlled environment. It is one thing use a financial advisor training program book in the comfort of your own home; it is a completely different feeling to take the test in a classroom setting.
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The final financial advisor qualifications you will need include real-world work experience in the financial advisor career. Going to school to learn how to become a financial advisor is not enough. You have to demonstrate that you interned, volunteered, or worked within the financial planning field in order to get your CFP license.
For something to count as work experience, you will have had to supervise, teach, or directly deliver financial advice to a client. While you are going to school to learn how to be a financial advisor, you should look into getting a low level job at a financial advising firm. Low level jobs will help you get your foot in the door for a financial advisor career when you leave school, and they will help you pass your CFP licensing exam.
Once you have jumped through all of these hurdles, you are well on your way to becoming a financial advisor! In order to maintain your CFP license, you will have to pay an ongoing certification fee and maintain your education in learning how to become a financial advisor through examination, experience, and ethics requirements.
Do financial advisor training programs exist?
Financial advisor training programs are universal throughout the country. Most major universities offer coursework in becoming a financial advisor. Any major that includes finances, economics, business, or statistics will be able to give you a background in becoming a financial advisor.
You will want to achieve, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree from the financial advisor training program. A bachelor’s degree is crucial when learning how to become a financial advisor because you cannot obtain your CFP license without one. The CFP Board will not issue you the license without having graduated from an accredited institution.
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If money is tight, you do have the option of taking general education classes at a community college before transferring to a university. Becoming a financial advisor at a four-year university can get expensive if you are unable to qualify for federal grants or scholarships. Starting the financial advisor training program at a community college can potentially save you a boat load of money in the long run!
If you want to specialize in a particular niche, you can even also focus your bachelor’s degree coursework around certain areas. For example, you can focus your financial advisor training program around retirement planning if that is what you want to work in. However, be careful of specializing when becoming a financial advisor. Doing so may make you unqualified for jobs within the financial advisor field, because you will lack relevant coursework and work experience.
After getting your bachelor’s degree, you do have the option of going on to obtain a master’s or PhD in the financial advisor career. The financial advisor job description only requires a bachelor’s degree at the minimum, and there are upsides and downsides to getting a higher level degree.
Becoming a financial advisor with a master’s or PhD can allow you to open your own practice with ease. Clients are more likely to trust you, because you have more education than the average financial advisor. This can work to your advantage, because you can take on more specialized financial cases that pay out more.
However, becoming a financial advisor with a higher education can also work against you. If you go straight from a bachelor’s financial advisor training program to a master’s or PhD program, you may not have as much work experience as other financial advisors in the work force. In a financial advisor career, experience matters more than your education level. It is possible to learn more about how to be a financial advisor on the job than it is in a classroom setting.
Related: How to Become a Financial Advisor
Is becoming a financial advisor hard?
In the current economy, it is difficult to find a new job. Especially when there are people who have worked in the financial advisor career for 10+ years with whom you are competing for a job. As a new graduate from a financial advisor training program, it will not be as easy to obtain a job as it would be for somebody with great experience.
However, there is a silver lining if you want to learn how to become a financial advisor. Financial advisors can open their own practice once they obtain a CFP license. This makes becoming a financial advisor a lot easier, because you do not have to wait for a practice to hire you straight out of school.
In the financial advisor career, the individuals who earn the most money will be the ones who own their own practice. Although it is not a simple process to open your own business, becoming a financial advisor can be as easy as starting a side financial consulting business out of your basement. Some individuals who are starting out in the financial advisor career choose to be a financial consultant on the side while still working full-time elsewhere.
Should I quit my job and pursue a financial advisor career?
Becoming a financial advisor can appear to be a lucrative career, because on average financial advisors make $81,060 a year! That is much higher than the salary of the average American; many people view a financial advisor career as a cash cow.
However, you should not be running to quit your job just yet. It is difficult to start out making that sort of money when you are fresh into the workforce. In the financial advisor career, the people who will be making $81,060 a year are the veterans. These are the individuals who have decades of experience and own their own practices.
Before becoming a financial advisor, you should know that the lower end of the spectrum makes only $35,500 a year. That is a more realistic salary for somebody fresh out of a financial advisor training program.
Many people choose to work concurrently at their old job while starting a financial advisor career. Jumping straight into a financial advisor career without a safety net is a poor idea, because you will not have the means to support yourself while your business is taking off. If you are only becoming a financial advisor for the money, you will need to take a step back and reevaluate if a financial advisor career is right for you.
What else should I know before becoming a financial advisor?
When becoming a financial advisor, you will have to decide how you want to be compensated by your clients. Financial advisors are not compensated like other job fields. When learning how to become a financial advisor, you will find that payment gets a little tricky in that financial advisors generally get paid through a combination of fees and commission.
Some financial advisors choose to take the easy route and charge an hourly fee for their services. This is the simplest route you can take in order to get paid in the financial advisor career. Becoming a financial advisor is a headache enough without trying to figure out how much you are supposed to be getting paid by your clients!
Other financial advisors choose to charge a flat fee per year. If you want to know how to become a financial advisor who only sees clients on a yearly basis, this is the way to go. Clients who pay you a yearly fee will typically be paying for a portfolio review or a yearly sit-down meeting.
If you’re still interested in the financial advisor game after reading this article, we applaud you! The next right step is to start looking at programs in your area and deciding how you will make that education happen. Good luck on your journey toward a new career!
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