How to Become a Financial Advisor – Four Steps

Not every job lets you solve problems, help people succeed in one of the most important aspects of life, and earn good money while you’re at it. 

The rewards of becoming a financial advisor can be great—but they don’t come automatically. 

You’ll be faced with rigorous study, long work hours, and fierce competition before your career as a financial advisor is established.How to Become a Financial Advisor

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If you think this may the career path for you, and you’re curious about how to become a financial advisor, this article gives you a basic idea of how to get there. 

What Exactly Does a Financial Advisor Do?

Some people prefer to manage all their own finances, from retirement funds to mortgages and savings accounts.

A financial advisor is for people who have neither the time nor inclination to develop and execute strategies in all the different areas of personal finance. 

Financial advisors first look at the big picture, taking account of all the client’s assets and liabilities.

The advisor and client then discuss the client’s financial goals together.

Once the advisor has gathered all this information, he or she develops a plan to make the client’s goals a reality.

This can involve stocks, retirement accounts, college funds, health and life insurance, mortgages, taxes, estate planning, and any other area or method of personal finance.

A financial advisor is expert in seeing the total financial picture for individuals and families, and implementing strategies that benefit the client.

It’s precisely because so much expertise is necessary that becoming a financial planner takes dedication. Here are four basic steps on how to become a financial advisor.

1. How to Become a Financial Advisor: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Technically, becoming a financial planner is possible without a Bachelor’s degree.

But you will not be able to earn the industry-standard designations for financial planners.

Both the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designations are only available to candidates who have previously earned a Bachelor’s degree.

If you want to do it right, it’s best to complete a Bachelor’s degree first, then enroll in a CFP or CFA program.

If you’re worried about the time it takes to finish a Bachelor’s degree, there are two important things to remember:

•    You can major in a related field, such as economics of business administration, which will help you in becoming a financial planner
•    You can apply for internships in the financial planning industry during this time, and begin to accumulate real experience and contacts

2. How to Become a Financial Advisor: Seek an Internship or a Bank Job

Once you’re earning, or have earned, a Bachelor’s degree, the next logical step is seeking an internship. Most financial planning firms offer them.

The pay may be low (or non-existent), but it’s a necessary step to get your foot in the door, and learn what becoming a financial planner is really all about.

If you work hard and dedicate yourself to learning how the industry works, the firm will often make you a full-fledged employee, and even provide help with choosing and paying for a CFP or CFA certification program.

Internships at financial planning firms are often highly-competitive, so expect to spend long hours polishing your resume, honing your interview skills, and making contacts.

Be persistent and you’re bound to uncover a good opportunity sooner or later. If you demonstrate that you really want to be in the industry, people will notice.

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3. How to Become a Financial Advisor: Earn a CFP or CFA Certification

The CFP and CFA certifications are not easy.

Both involve rigorous academic programs, and are designed to make you expert in all aspects of financial planning.

Many financial planners obtain the CFP certification first, and go on to become CFAs as well.

How to Become a Financial Advisor: Earn a CFP or CFA Certification

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Here are the basic requirements for completing each certification:

•    Have a four-year college degree
•    Have three years of experience working in the financial planning industry
•    Complete preparation courses at an accredited institution
•    Receive a passing grade on a comprehensive exam that lasts a total of 10 hours

•    Have a four-year college degree
•    Have four years of experience working in the financial planning industry
•    Complete preparation courses at an accredited institution
•    Receive a passing grade three different exams totaling 18 hours

4. How to Become a Financial Advisor: Go the Extra Mile

Financial planners are entrusted with the hopes and dreams of people who want to grow financially.

This is a big responsibility, and new financial planners have to work hard to prove themselves.

You may have taken all the necessary steps to becoming a financial planner, and finally received your hard-earned certification, but this is just the beginning.

Building a client-list is all about working hard and exceeding expectations.  

Be prepared to put in long hours as a newly-minted financial planner, and to learn everything you can from more experienced professionals.

The more expectations you exceed, the faster your career as a financial planner will develop. 


Learning how to be a financial advisor is one of the most vital endeavors in the market today.

Concise financial planning has never been more important, and the opportunities for those who know the trade are virtually endless.

Many financial planners earn excellent salaries and bonuses,  and experienced planners can find jobs all over the world. 

But don’t expect this profession to come easily. You’ll need grit and determination in becoming a financial planner.

Likewise, don’t expect your work to be little more than numbers on a page.

Becoming a financial planner is all about relating to people, understanding their goals, and earning their trust. 

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