Best Personal Finance Courses for Becoming a Financial Advisor
If you are interested in becoming a financial advisor, then you probably know that attaining this title comes with a tremendous amount of benefits … and effort.
As reported by the U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics, financial advisors make twice the average income reported for all other occupations.
Also, as a financial advisor, there is a wide range of available career paths for you.
You could work at a large financial company, a mid to small-sized firm, or you could even operate your own practice as an independent financial advisor.
So, how does one take the plunge into the world of personal finance to become a financial advisor?
What are the best online finance courses that you should take to become a financial advisor? Should CFA courses be at the top of your list?
These are some of the questions asked by individuals who are looking to become a financial advisor.
Image source: Bigstock
Overview of the Top Online Finance Courses to Take
There is a number of available online finance courses that can help you get started in the right direction of becoming a financial advisor.
Image source: Bigstock
Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect when diving into the world of personal finance courses.
Although there are a number of different courses to take, we will take a detailed look at the following high priority courses:
CFA Courses and What You Can Expect
A CFA, otherwise known as a Chartered Financial Analyst, is a professional that has been certified by the CFA Institute.
The CFA credential has become one of the most respected financial designations in the world and also one of the most recognized.
Enrolling in CFA courses is your first step toward becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst.
CFA courses cover a wide range of concepts and skills that you will apply over the course of your career.
They connect academic theory with ethical and professional standards to provide a strong foundation of advanced management skills.
Once you have met the requirements and passed the test, you will be awarded the CFA Charter.
If you are considering becoming a CFA, you should prepare for lots and lots of studying.
The test will be fairly difficult, and the CFA passing rate is below 50%.
To increase your chances, you need to create a “4-8 months” schedule with a couple of hours (or more) blocked out each day for studying.
The CFA courses test will cover a number of financial topics, including:
- Investment management
- Financial analysis
- Other branches of finance
Aside from passing the final test, there are a number of other requirements that must be met before you can become a CFA charter holder.
Below are four requirements that must be met before you can get your certification.
- You must adhere to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct set forth by the CFA Institute.
- You need to complete the CFA curriculum as well as pass the 3 (each test is six hours) tests.
- You must have no less than four years of education and/or work experience (that is acceptable by the CFA Institute).
- Finally, you’ll need to apply for membership to your local CFA member society.
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The Certified Financial Planner – CFP Exam
The CFP (Certified Financial Planner) exam is not an easy examination to pass.
With a 59.1% current pass rate, you will want to be totally prepared for a two-day grueling session.
The CFP exam is structured by the CFP Board to test your ability of integrating and applying a broad base of financial planning knowledge in the context of real-life financial planning situations.
Passing the CFP exam signifies to consumers and the public at large that you have attained a high competency level that is necessary to practice independently as a certified financial planner.
To aid you in your preparation efforts, check out the articles below that provide additional information to help you prepare for and pass the CFP exam.
Just as for most other certification courses, there are a few things one must keep in mind for the big exam day.
It is likely that you will only be assigned a small locker to keep your belongings safe and out of the testing area.
As such, only take essential items with you. Leave everything else at home.
You will, of course, want to bring along your picture ID.
Online Finance Courses
Today, the Internet can be used to your advantage.
Simply type in your search query and you get thousands of choices instantly at your fingertips!
Although many people opt to physically go to school for financial planning, there are hundreds of online finance courses that you can enroll in online.
Taking online financial courses have many advantages, such as making your own schedule and attending class from the comfort of your own home.
However, taking online courses does require a level of dedication on your part. Those who decide to take online courses must understand that they have to be very self-motivated.
Of course, we all want to sit on the couch and watch television.
However, if you want to be successful, you’ll need to balance couch time with reading time.
Before choosing an online course, there are a few things to be on the lookout for:
- Is the school accredited by the CFA Board?
- Does the school provide review materials?
- What is the overall passing rate of graduated students?
- Do they offer study guides?
- Will you have an advisor to help answer your questions?
- What does the curriculum consist of?
Once you have narrowed down your search, you can then look into reviews from others who have taken that same course.
User reviews can be just as helpful as word-of-mouth referrals.
There are number of online programs that you can delve into when it comes to personal finance.
Just be sure that the online school that you choose offers the programs that most interest you.
I’m Certified! Now What?
Once you have completed your schooling and training and aced that grueling exam, you will finally be a Certified Financial Advisor or Planner.
Whether you want to start your own business or work for a stellar company, it’s good to keep in mind why your customers will come to you and what they will ask of you.
- Have your licenses nicely displayed where potential clients can easily see them. Not every client will ask what you are certified in, but some do ask, and it’s great for them to see your achievements placed on the wall, on your website, or on your online profile.
- Get a good list of references. When it comes to finances, people want someone that they can truly trust. It’s not uncommon for potential clients to ask for a list of references so be prepared.
- Some clients will do a little research before they even contact you. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and BrokerCheck are two notable places people will search to see if their potential advisor has been disciplined or unethical.
- What are your fees? Will you charge per hour or a flat rate per month? Begin to consider your options and what works best for you.
- Some clients will wish to be advised in an area that you are not well-versed in. Be sure that you can meet your clients’ needs before you begin to work with them. If you are unable to help them, it’s a great idea to have a network of peers that you can refer them to.
- If you don’t use social media, now is the time to do so! Today, many professionals use sources, such as LinkedIn, to promote their business and make connections.
As you help others grow financially, you, too, will begin to see your finances take root and grow. It is a rewarding career for anyone who wishes to take that path.
Whether you choose to take a financial advisor course or CFA course, you will be one step closer to achieving your goals!
Also, take a quick look at one of the articles below. Each article includes factors of why these advisors have been selected and are considered the top advisors of the year.
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