When you want to learn how to become a financial advisor, you must understand the requirements. It’s not possible to just become a financial advisor without the right education and experience. Let’s look at the process of becoming a financial advisor and the steps you will need to take.
What is a Financial Advisor?
The term financial advisor is rather broad. If you become a financial advisor, your job will include advising people about their finances. The duties include helping clients create a budget, advising on a retirement plan, and helping clients decide on large financial purchases.
As a financial advisor, you’ll never stop learning. The world of finance changes regularly with new laws and regulations. There are also new investments and economic factors you must keep up with. As a financial advisor, you will continue your education throughout your career.
How to Become a Financial Advisor, Step-by-Step
Step #1 – Get Your Bachelor’s Degree
If you want to become a financial advisor, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. However, it’s common for someone to become a financial advisor to major in finance or business.
During your time in college, it can also be helpful to shadow someone in this career already. Make sure you ask the right questions and find out more about the career of a financial advisor. This will help you decide if this is the right career option for you.
Step #2 – Complete Your Internship
While you’re in school, you will likely need to complete an internship. You should look for an internship with a financial firm to gain the experience you desire. With the right internship, you’ll get a closer look at the day-to-day operations in this field.
Along with gaining some experience, you’ll get to network and make some connections. It will look good on your resume, and some degree programs will even require an internship.
Most employers like to hire financial advisors with experience. Plus, if you complete an internship, the company you work for might hire you once you’ve graduated.
Step #3 – Get Your First Financial Advisor job
After earning your degree, you will need to go on the hunt for the right job. There are many ways to find the right job for you. Gaining some experience will help you build a resume employers will like.
If you completed an internship, you might have a better chance of landing your first job. It’s rather common to start with an entry-level position. You can build your financial advisor career by gaining more education, certifications, and licenses.
Step #4 – Get Certified
There are several different certifications and licenses you can gain as a financial advisor. With the right training, you can advance your career. Some of the common certifications and licenses you can gain as a financial advisor include:
- Certified Financial Planner – A CFP requires a bachelor’s degree and the right work experience, along with passing the CFP exam.
- Chartered Financial Analyst – This is a big step for a financial advisor and allows you to work with investments and portfolio analysis. You will need a valid international passport for this certification.
- Personal Financial Specialist – This type of financial advisor is often a Certified Public Accountant with the right amount of experience. you will need to pass the PFS exam, as well.
- Certified Fund Specialist – If you want to become a CFS, you will need to gain a bachelor’s degree and the right experience. This certification will allow you to work with mutual funds.
- FINRA Licenses – Series 6 and Series 7 FINRA licenses give you the licenses you need to sell stocks.
- NASAA Licenses – Series 65 and Series 66 NASAA licenses allow you to work as an investment advisor.
The more certifications and licenses you can gain, the more you can help your clients and the more they will trust you. With the right certifications and licenses, you can become a trusted financial advisor. So whether you decide to work as a sole proprietor or for a large financial firm, getting certified will help.
Step #5 – Continue to Gain Education
Just about all careers can benefit from more education. For example, as you work in the financial industry, you can gain more education. Going back to college for a master’s degree or even a doctorate can help you advance your career.
Some certifications and licenses will require continued education. This will allow you to keep your licenses and stay up-to-date on the financial news. With the right continued education, you’ll be able to climb the ladder to a higher financial advisor position.
Financial Advisor Specialties
If you decide you want to become a financial advisor, you can specialize in many different areas. Financial advisors work with clients on all aspects of their financial planning. Some of the common specialties include:
- Financial Planning
- Stocks and Investments
- Retirement Planning
- Education Planning
- Real Estate Buying, Selling and Investing
Along with these areas, a financial advisor can help clients with large financial purchases. For example, they can help you plan and save for a wedding.
Top Skills Needed to Become a Financial Advisor
If you want to become a financial advisor, you will need to have a few specific skills. It’s necessary to know how to work with numbers well. You should also be able to pay close attention to detail. Some of the other skills you should have to be a financial advisor include:
- Financial Expertise – Of course, this position requires you to have specific expertise in finance.
- Trustworthy – Nobody wants to work with a financial advisor that isn’t trustworthy.
- Good Analytical Skills – You will need analytical skills, no matter the type of financial position you take on.
As a financial advisor, you’ll need to build strong relationships with your clients. Good communication skills and customer service skills will help for this type of career.
With the financial field growing, it’s important to get the right education. With the right skills and education, you’ll be able to better compete in the very competitive job market.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Financial Advisor
Will I need a degree to become a financial advisor?
While it’s not technically required, getting a bachelor’s degree is important in becoming a financial advisor. A bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business, economics, or mathematics is a great first step.
Without a bachelor’s degree, you won’t be able to gain certain licenses and certifications. Along with a bachelor’s degree, you can get a graduate degree if you want to advance your career. This can help you qualify for higher-paying positions at financial firms.
You can become a financial advisor without a degree. Some of the licenses and certifications don’t require a bachelor’s degree. However, you will be limited if you choose this path.
How much can I earn as a financial advisor?
The salary range for a financial advisor is rather wide. It depends on your degree, location, licenses, certifications, and experience. The median salary for a financial advisor is about $89K, according to the BLS. However, the highest-paid financial advisors can make more than $200K per year.
How long will it take me to become a financial advisor?
The amount of time it takes to become a financial advisor depends on the path you choose. For some, it will take many years, while others will only need a year or two to complete the training.
If you decide to get a bachelor’s degree and become a Certified Financial Planner, you can expect this path to take 6 to 10 years. However, if you skip the bachelor’s degree, the amount of time to become a financial advisor will be much shorter.
What’s the most common way for financial advisors to get paid?
As a financial advisor, you will likely earn a base salary and fees from clients. However, you can work for yourself and earn the profits from the fees you charge, as well.
Some financial firms don’t pay financial advisors with fees or commissions. Instead, they only get paid a salary. How you get paid completely depends on who you work for and what they offer.
Is it difficult to become a financial advisor?
The field of finance is incredibly competitive. Therefore, you will need the right education and skills. Becoming a financial advisor isn’t easy and comes with plenty of challenges. If you want to get to the top of the field, you will need the right licenses and certifications. Without the right training, it can be hard to compete as a financial advisor.
Is Becoming a Financial Advisor Right For You?
Deciding to become a financial advisor is a great move. If you love working with money and want to help clients with their financial planning, this is an excellent career path. Using the information above will help you with how to become a financial advisor.
Whether you choose to get a bachelor’s degree or not, you can enter this rewarding career. Moreover, it can become a very lucrative career with the right education and training.