Personal Financial Advisor Job Description

Personal financial advisors help people by providing financial advice. They normally specialize in insurance, taxes, and investment advice.

During initial meetings with a client, personal financial advisors ask questions that help them understand their client’s short term and long term financial goals. Then they recommend investments that will help their client meet their goals.

After the investments have been made, personal financial advisors provide regular reports that let their client know how their investments are performing. When questions arise or when clients need to shift their financial focus, the two sides get back together to discuss (and sometimes change) the plan.

Some personal financial advisors specialize in helping clients with a particular set of needs. For example, some focus on helping people plan for retirement, while others may work to help people pay for their child’s college education.

Specializing has a number of different benefits. First, it allows the financial advisor to really get to know and understand how to solve a particular type of problem. Second, specializing can make it easier to market their services. Generally speaking, people with a problem like to work with a specialist.

Work Environment and Schedule

Personal financial advisors spend most of their time working in their office, but frequently leave for visits with current and potential clients.

This can be a stressful occupation at times. Personal financial advisors are normally paid on commission, which means they only make money when they make a sale. This can cause a lot of financial pressure and personal stress when things aren’t going well.

Personal financial advisors often have a very demanding work schedule. Clients need to meet at times that are convenient with their working schedule, so personal financial advisors often need to work on nights and weekends to accommodate their schedules.

As a means of marketing, many people in this occupation hold free financial training classes. The goal of these classes is to turn some of the attendees into clients. Preparing for a class can be very time intensive, and there’s no guarantee of generating clients.

Nearly all personal financial advisors work full time, and many work more than 50 hours per week. Before you decide to work in this occupation, you should consider the impact that it will have on your personal goals.

For some people the work can be very rewarding, but for others, the time commitments and financial stress can be a drain on their personal lives.

How to Become a Personal Financial Advisor

A bachelor’s degree is required for most entry level personal financial advisor. Though people in this occupation come from many different academic backgrounds, taking courses in business, accounting, finance, or economics can help prepare you for the job. If you have aspirations of working in upper management, getting a master’s degree in business is often required.

It’s becoming increasingly popular for personal financial advisors to directly sell stocks, bonds, and insurance policies to their clients. In these cases, they need to be licensed. The licensing requirements vary depending on the state, as well as the types of services being sold. You can learn more about the requirements on the North American Securities Administrators Association website

There are multiple certifications offered to personal financial advisors. Though employers rarely require them, they can help establish trust with potential clients.

The most widely recognized certification is Certified Financial Planner, which is offered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. To qualify for this exam, you must have a bachelor’s degree and three years of work experience.

Related Occupations

Employment Outlook

There are currently 206,800 personal financial advisors in the United States, with 9,020 new personal financial advisor job openings created each year.

Personal Financial Advisor jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.

Personal Financial Advisor Salaries

Overall Salaries

Personal Financial Advisor salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most personal financial advisors make between $43,200 – $111,900 per year, or $20.75 – $53.79 per hour.

Updated: 09/02/2017

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