How to Become a Financial Planner
Financial Planner Careers & Degrees

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A financial planner gives advice to people on their financial situation.

This might include advice on how to invest money, buy property or shares, save, pay off debt, or build their secondary sources of income.

Financial planners are savvy when it comes to money, they know the laws surrounding these sectors inside and out, and will always find the best course of action for their client.

If you become a financial planner, you could find yourself completing a wide range of duties.

You will need a very strong knowledge base when it comes to finance and money.

Skills in mathematics are essential, as well as excellent communication skills.

Interpersonal skills are required, as you will spend a lot of time communicating with clients, as well as your colleagues.

Working as a financial planner can be rewarding.

When you get the best possible result for your client, you’ll feel a high level of satisfaction and be able to collect a nice salary.

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Education Requirements to Become a Financial Planner

To become a financial planner, you must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.

Many have master’s or doctorate qualifications.

Accounting, finance, business, and economics are all good areas in which to major in.

It’s also a good idea to study some writing subjects, as you’ll need to have good communication skills, and often be called on to prepare reports.

More colleges are beginning to offer specific courses in financial planning.

Financial planners need to be able to retain a lot of information about financial markets.

It’s important to learn as much as you can from early on.

Start taking an interest in stock markets, property prices, and retirement funds.

In some states you will be required to be licensed to work as a financial planner, depending on the services you provide.

If you are buying and selling bonds and stocks, you will need to be licensed in almost all locations.

You can also work towards achieving your Certified Financial Planner Credential.

To do so, you will need a bachelors degree, three years of work experience, and have passed a written exam.

This certificate is recognized by both employers and clients, and can help your career.

Financial Planner Job Description

While the most important part of a role as a financial planner is providing advice and assistance to clients, there is much more involved with this job.

A financial planner must work to keep themselves up to date on the latest market trends, this means time reading reports, and completing other research.

There is also some administrative work involved, as many financial planners are self-employed they must complete this themselves.

Financial planners also spend a good amount of time looking for new clients.

A lot of effort and energy goes into promoting their own services.

  • Analyzing the needs of a client
  • Helping a client achieve financial goals
  • Giving advice on investment
  • Giving advice on insurance
  • Giving advice on retirement
  • Giving advice on taxation
  • Analyzing reports and market trends
  • Preparing reports
  • Buying and selling stocks and bonds
  • Communicating with clients and co-workers
  • Marketing financial services

Financial Planner Salary and Career Path

If you want to work in the financial planning industry, you can look forward to strong job prospects.

The growth in this sector is much faster than average.

This means that there are many jobs and opportunities.

While there is a lot demand for financial planners, many find getting their first job difficult.

Most work for a years in another financial role, such as a banker, until they can get a role as a financial planner.

Most financial planners begin their career working in a firm, but most go on to become consultants.

Around 29% of financial planners are self-employed.

The entry level wage for a financial planner is around $45,000 a year, and the median salary is $65,000.

Many in the industry make well over $100,000 a year.

If you are interested in financial markets, are strong in math, and could like a career where you get to interact with people, then you should consider to become a financial planner.

While some study is required, there is a good salary and job security offered in return.

Financial planners enjoy a varied work day, and get to interact with a wide range of people.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$106,490
New Hampshire$85,410
New Jersey$99,170
New Mexico$84,540
New York$132,290
North Carolina$87,730
North Dakota$88,270
Rhode Island$88,620
South Carolina$76,070
South Dakota$68,770
West Virginia$71,470
Puerto Rico$51,460
Virgin Islands$66,400

The top earning state in the field is New York, where the average salary is $132,290.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New York - $132,290
District of Columbia - $106,490
Connecticut - $103,250
Massachusetts - $102,610
Alaska - $101,600
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Financial and Investment Analysts, Financial Risk Specialists, and Financial Specialists, OCC Code 13-2098, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a financial planner do?

A financial planner is a specialist who helps corporations and individuals meet their long-term financial goals.

Financial planners are qualified investment professionals.

The main responsibilities of a specialist might include helping the client with the budget, investment, insurance, taxes, etc.

There are financial planners that specialize in one sphere (for example, retirement, risk management, tax or estate planning, asset allocation, and so on).

Typically, financial planners at first meet with the client to determine the main goals.

After learning a few things about the client, a specialist can help choose the right class of investments and, as a result, the savings will be distributed to help the client gain income (in most of the cases).

QuestionHow much do financial planners make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of a financial planner in the United States is a little over $90.500.

You can expect to earn anywhere between $41.000 and $208.000 per year (there is plenty of space for growth in the industry).

Typically, the more money a client makes on his or her investment, the more money a financial planner will receive; that’s why it’s important for the specialists to try and make the best possible decision.

The wage of a financial planner would also depend on the geographical area.

New York, Maine, California, and New Hampshire, for example, are considered to be the highest-paying states.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a financial planner?

You might want to consider earning at least a bachelor’s degree, in case you want to become a financial planner.

Acquiring a degree in business, finance, accounting, mathematics or law will cost you anywhere between $7.500 and $27.000 per year.

If you want to go for a master’s degree, it can cost you up to $100.000 annually depending on the university that you decide to choose.

Financial planners can also earn voluntary certifications.

The one provided by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards will cost you $355 annually.

QuestionWhat is the demand for financial planners?

Between 2012 and 2020, the financial planner job market is expected to grow by 27% (according to the BLS).

It is much faster than the average growth nationwide.

In the near future, more and more people will be seeking for retirement planning as the baby boom generation is aging.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a financial planner?

You can choose to complete your training as a financial planner independently or undergo on-the-job training after you have been hired.

However, the majority of companies prefer to hire specialists with at least a bachelor’s degree.

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree and a few years more to earn a master’s.

In case you want to earn a voluntary certification, you would have to meet the main requirements and have at least a couple of years of experience in the industry before applying for the certification.

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