A financial advisor is a lot like the director of a film or a play: it’s their job to oversee every part of a client’s budget, correcting problems, singling out oversights, and helping them determine where and when to invest. About 25 percent of financial advisors are self-employed, with the rest often working out of an office – so either way, communication skills are essential.
More than anything, a financial advisor needs to be prepared to look far into the future, to help clients plan for the costs of their children’s education, for retirement, or for other long-term costs. Financial advisors need to be confident, but also well-informed, and innately consistent – no one wants to trust their money to someone with a shaky batting average. There are a number of necessary qualifications, but more than the degrees and the licenses, a financial advisor absolutely needs to be a skilled communicator, a savvy businessperson, and always on top of their game.
If you still think financial advisor could be the career path for you, you’ll need to get your qualifications in order. While many would-be applicants in the business sector likely already meet the minimum requirements, additional schooling and preparations will only increase your talents, your reputation, and, as a result, your client base.
It should go without saying that the job requires a deep understanding of financial trends and standards – but it also requires, without exception, a bachelor’s degree (preferably, in finance, accounting, business, or another related field). Yet an MBA, or a master’s degree in a finance-related field, would go much further toward helping you secure the position that you want.
But to truly solidify your position as a financial advisor, you’ll want to earn certification from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, which tests applicants against standards in education, examination, experience and ethics.
If you qualify for the job, now’s probably the time when you’re wondering what it pays. Salaries for financial planners hover above the national average, with U.S. News and World Report reporting that the median annual pay in 2011 clocked in over $66,000, with 10 percent of advisors earning over $185,000. No question, the pay is attractive. So if you’re looking for careers in finance, meet the requirements, and are up to the challenge of directing a whole clients’ list full of personal finances, being a financial advisor could be the position you’ve been waiting for.
Ready to start your search? Check out hundreds of financial advisor opportunities posted on OneWire, from entry-level to experienced hires.