Most people know that they should manage their money wisely,
but they don’t always know how to do it. That is when they turn to financial
consultants, who have the experience to help them.
Financial consultants receive a rigorous education and training to achieve the certifications and skills necessary to succeed in this career.
The path to becoming a professional financial consultant can be straightforward or it can include a series of twists, turns, and detours depending on education and past experience.
That is what we have carefully outlined for you, to enable a smooth cruise into a financial consulting career.
Who is a financial
Financial consultants help people make sound decisions
regarding money management. They evaluate a person’s financial position,
understand their needs and objectives, and then make recommendations on how to
achieve them better.
Some financial consultants have diverse backgrounds and
provide a variety of general services, while others focus on a particular area,
such as retirement or tax legislation.
They work in a variety of settings. Many are employees of large companies that focus on investments, finance or insurance, while others choose to work in a small business or independently.
Autonomous financial consultants are usually partial
sellers. They must market their services to attract potential customers, so
they spend a part of their time teaching seminars or networks in various
functions after office hours.
What do financial
Financial consultants do exactly what the name suggests. They work with clients to assess their current financial status and future plans, economic conditions and forecasts, and regulations, to provide financial advice.
The financial consultant can mean many things, and if you
are someone who knows how to save, spend and invest wisely, it could be a good
career to help transmit your wisdom to others.
Of course, being a financial consultant is much more than just understanding finance. There is much specific knowledge to understand, not to mention discovering the right education and the licenses and certifications necessary to distribute financial advice professionally.
What are the types of
Advisors can often do well for themselves by having a
specialty, being someone whom people come to for a specific and stressful event
in their life. Some of the specialized topics that financial consultants can
focus on include:
- Real estate
- Financial planning
Even outside these, big events like weddings can make people look for finance consultants to find the best way to budget for the occasion.
Do You Need a Degree
to Be a Financial consultant?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), only
24% of financial consultants in 2016 were self-employed. If you want to work in
the field, you’ll need to work in an office, and for a company to hire you,
you’ll likely need a relevant degree.
A bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, economics, business, or mathematics could be a good first step to a financial career.
Those looking to become a finance consultant in college would also be wise to look into related courses that could help them with advising and finding work in the fields that employ them.
A couple of classes about investing and financial planning
could go a long way to not just expanding your knowledge, but diversifying your
Continuing education, though not necessarily required, can be a good way for advisors and planners to stay up-to-date or expand their financial advising horizons.
So much of maintaining your success as a financial consultant is networking and marketing yourself, it’s important to understand how to efficiently do that as early as possible.
Is Licenses required for
Most people know that they should manage their money wisely,
but they don’t always know how to do it. That is when they turn to financial
consultants, who have the experience to help them.
Financial consultants receive a rigorous education and
training to achieve the certifications and skills necessary to succeed in this
The path to becoming a professional financial consultant can be simple or it can include a series of twists, turns, and detours depending on education and past experience.
How much do financial
The most recent information from the BLS says that the average salary of a financial consultant, as of May 2018, is $88,890.
The most common industry for financial consultants in the world of investments (securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities), where they have an average annual salary of $129,950.
Financial consultants in the real estate world, although
they were a much smaller group, had an average annual salary of $161,860.
Due to the aging of the population that needs financial
guidance, the financial consultant is an occupation for which the BLS really
predicts better than average growth, with a projected growth of 15% for
How long does it take
to become a financial consultant?
It may take seven years or more to become a certified
financial consultant, including the time spent obtaining a bachelor’s degree
and obtaining the necessary experience to meet the certification requirements.
Financial consultants who do not seek certification can
start looking for work after obtaining their bachelor’s degree.
What are the job
prospects for financial consultants?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of financial consultants will grow 27 percent between 2012 and 2022, much faster than the average of all occupations.
The BLS attributes this growth to a greater need for
retirement planning as the baby boom generation ages and fewer workers receive
pension benefits through their jobs.
Financial advisors move forward in your company creating a customer base. Obtaining certification or a master’s degree can help attract larger clients and allow one to advance to higher positions in the company.
Some financial advisors with experience and skills running a
business can open their own companies and work independently. Independent
consultants must know how to market effectively to attract new clients.
Steps to Becoming a Financial Consultant
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree is required for a career as a financial advisor. Majors in finance, economics, business, statistics, or similar fields are acceptable. Financial advisors can be generalists, or they may specialize in one of several areas, including retirement, taxes, estate planning, or insurance and risk management.
Major firms or high-end clients may require their financial advisors to continue their education at the graduate level. Some pursue an MBA program after working in the profession for a number of years and while continuing their full-time employment.
Complete an Internship
An internship provides an invaluable opportunity to gain experience and demonstrate your active interest in becoming a financial consultant. While you are still in school, it is a good idea to do an internship at a financial advisory firm or a practicing professional.
Internships will help you see the career in the first person and understand what it means to be a day-to-day financial consultant.
Internships also represent an opportunity to establish contacts with existing financial consultants and potentially find a mentor. Some of the relationships you form as an intern will follow you throughout your career. Finally, an internship looks good on your resume.
Most employers prefer to hire people with experience.
Academic instruction in the classroom provides the basis for learning, but internships offer opportunities for financial consultants to gain real-world experience.
It is important that students attend a school that has forged relationships with financial companies or other companies that can provide training opportunities for students to practice what they have learned and gain instruction and knowledge from mentors working in the field.
Get certifications and licenses
The field of financial advice is competitive. Many consultants seek certifications or licenses to help them develop a specialty or differentiate themselves from their competition.
Numerous certifications are available to financial consultants, usually after having accumulated three years of work experience. Certification generally requires specialized training or courses, an exam, and continuing education.
The National Association of Personal Financial Consultants (NAPFA) recommends at least one of the following certifications:
• Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
• Personal finance specialist (PFS)
• Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
• Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
Some specialty areas require a license. For example, financial consultants who wish to sell insurance must have a license in their state as an accredited insurance advisor.
Consultants that focus on investments should register with their state or with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a Registered Investment Advisor.
Get an entry-level job
Once you have obtained your degree and have acquired some experience as an intern, it is time to start looking for work. Check with your school’s career office to identify job opportunities and get help writing resumes and cover letters.
Take advantage of networking with other students, instructors and professional organizations to find employment opportunities and discuss market trends.
There are no resources available to help you write an effective curriculum. Here are some tips for writing a resume that will be noticed:
• Go beyond your education and work experience. Talk about what makes you an excellent employee and the skills you have that make you ideal for the position.
• Don’t waste words. Brief and shocking statements on your resume make it easier for the employer to identify and remember the points you are trying to make.
• Put important things in advance. It’s okay to work from a workforce, but you’re trying to present yourself as a unique individual for potential employers. Feel free to take liberties with the template to make sure you actually sell it as a potential employee.
Finally, do not neglect social networks as an excellent channel to publish resumes and look for vacant positions.
Pursue additional education
Financial counseling professionals will often return to school to obtain a graduate degree or even a doctorate. Your job depends on your ability to provide valuable financial advice to customers.
The pursuit of higher education is a tangible way to demonstrate your commitment to providing excellent service as you continue in your career.
The demand for financial consultants is high and will continue to grow as our society has more financial knowledge and recognizes the importance of making sound financial decisions.
There is always more to learn, especially in the fast world of finance. Financial laws and strategies are always changing, and advisors must keep up with current trends.
Many certifications in financial counseling require continuing education, while senior positions often require an advanced degree. A graduate degree in finance, which is generally offered as a master’s degree in finance (MSF) or an MBA with a concentration in finance, can provide a competitive advantage.
Becoming a registered
Depending on the type of financial consultant you want to be, it would also be advisable to look for certain certifications at the beginning of your career.
Registered financial consultants generally have many hours of experience and must maintain the ethics of their profession to maintain certification.
These certifications will depend not only on what you want to do but on what you can afford. There is a lot of continuing education and exam fees involved.
How can I find work
as a financial consultant?
There are many large financial planning companies across the country, and also many smaller local businesses. You can apply for vacancies in these companies, and you can try to apply for work in other organizations such as banks and insurance companies.
If you want to work on your own, such as 20 percent of financial consultants, you will need to find your own clients by marketing your services in your community.
Establishing a presence in social and traditional networks can help you attract customers.
The origin of Certified Financial Planning is in the College for Financial Planning, created in 1972 by a group of advisors who dreamed that financial planning was recognized as an independent and universally recognized profession.
The CFP Certification Professional Education Program is a training program that prepares consultants to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER or CFP certification.
Also, the CFP certification is the country’s leading benchmark for financial planning.
In addition to the undergraduate and certification programs, the university also offers a Master of Science in Finance, Financial Analysis, and Personal Financial Planning.
The focus on preparing students for practical and practical situations has paid off: graduates can boast an average success rate of 75% on the notoriously difficult CFP exams.
CFP® certification training covers all aspects of personal financial planning, followed by a comprehensive examination and the signing of an ethics statement.
The certification is currently managed and delivered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc., which has more than 78,000 active professionals and 300 CFP Board-Registered Programs across the country.
California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks
Tuition: $820 per credit unit
This is one of the colleges for financial planning. The university is home to the California Institute of Finance, where students can pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Financial Planning. A graduate certificate program in the same field of study is also available.
Students at the institute can join national financial planning organizations or network with financial planning companies.
California State University, Fullerton
This is one of the universities that offer financial planning degrees. The program is located in the Finance Department of Mihaylo College of Business, the largest business school accredited by AACSB on the West Coast.
Extra-mural funding provided students with the opportunity to attend financial planning conferences and to learn from thought leaders who came to the campus to give lectures, said Program Manager David Nanigian.
CFP Board-registered programs: B.A. in business administration with a concentration in finance and a financial planning emphasis
The University of Georgia in Athens
This is one of the colleges for financial planning. Since this higher public university incorporated a specialization in undergraduate financial planning almost a decade ago, enrollment in the program has increased.
This is due to several unique aspects of the program that offer unprecedented practical experience for future financial planners.
At the university’s financial planning clinic, called Aspire, students have the opportunity to work under the supervision of professors to provide financial advice to clients in the community.
The required community service hours, where students can put their tax knowledge into practice while preparing tax returns for low-income families, provide the kind of practical experience that financial institutions ultimately seek in new hires.
Founded more than 25 years ago, this highly respected financial planning program is housed within the university’s Center for Professional Education. The high-level faculty, who provide the class with impressive professional experience, is perhaps the most important asset of this program.
The strengths of financial planning, wealth management, business development, law, investment, retirement planning, financial advisory services, and insurance are among the academic background.
San Diego State University
Tuition: $9,684 per semester
This illustrious program has been working well since 1980 with the creation of a master’s program in financial planning. The program is offered at the master’s level within the university’s business school.
This environment continues to benefit financial planning programs, which now include:
- a BS in Financial Services with a Certificate in Personal Financial Planning,
- an MS in Business Administration with specialization in Financial and Tax Planning, and
- Graduate Credits in an advanced financial planner certificate.
SDSU graduate students have a rich business degree program, with compulsory courses in statistics, business law, and economics.
CFP Board-registered programs: B.S.B.A. in financial services with a certificate in financial planning; M.S.B.A. with a concentration in financial planning
Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL
This is a school for financial planning. The Financial Planning Program Certificate at the FSU includes seven online courses, in which students become familiar with the field and study-specific aspects of financial planning, such as:
- Insurance planning,
- Investment planning,
- Income tax planning,
- Retirement planning, and
- Estate planning.
At the end of the training, students will have met the training requirements to pass the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification exam. For 2017, FSU was ranked # 38 among public schools by the US News & World Report.
Texas Tech University
Tuition: $23,496 per year
This public institution located in the heart of Texas has 11 CFP Board-registered programs, from undergraduate to doctoral level. The program benefits not only from a nearly $2 million grant for postgraduate financial planning but also from a faculty whose in-depth practical experience prepares students to work in the field.
CFP Board-registered programs: Undergraduate to Ph.D., including minors and dual graduate degrees in financial planning and business or law.
An accelerated bachelor’s-to-master’s program allows students to earn both degrees in five years, and a hybrid M.S. degree program is taught on-site for working professionals.
Iowa State University
The programs are in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies of the College of Humanities. The programs also focus on the human and technical aspects of financial planning, according to Jonathan Fox, a professor in the state of Iowa.
CFP Board-registered programs: B.S. in financial consulting and planning; M.S. in family and consumer science with a financial planning emphasis.
Ohio State University
Tuition: $30,742 per year
The financial planning track, which is part of consumer and family financial services, focuses on family financial management. Subjects include:
- general financial planning,
- investment instruments to achieve financial goals, and
- retirement and estate planning.
The courses are taught primarily by full-time faculty, according to the program’s president, Sherman Hanna.
Becoming a Financial Consultant | FAQs
What degree do you need to be a financial consultant?
Common majors include financial planning, accounting, finance, economics, business, law, and mathematics
How long does it take to become a financial advisor?
To become a Certified Financial Planner, one must hold a bachelor’s degree, complete a CFB Board-registered course of study, gain three years of experience as a financial advisor, and pass a certification exam.
Can you be a financial advisor without a degree?
While a bachelor’s degree in finance is the standard prerequisite for financial management positions, there are some steps you can take toward getting the career you want without the degree employers might require. The key to success in the financial industry is not always a degree, but a relentless work ethic.
Is it hard to be a financial advisor?
The future is pretty bright. Financial advisors that succeed find themselves in a career that provides them not only a healthy income but personal fulfillment too. Putting it simply, being a financial advisor is HARD. If you’re looking for an easy career where you can just sit back and coast by, forget about it.
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