A financial advisor is the specialist that you hire when you don’t want to figure out how to manage money for yourself. It is the job of a financial advisor to get their clients on a path to meeting their money goals by helping them budget properly, developing workable retirement plans, investing their money wisely and taking on other financial responsibilities that they would prefer not to do. Most financial advisors start out working at a bank, brokerage company, insurance company or other financial services institution then branch out on their own. Many become specialists in such things as retirement planning or working with small business owners addressing their specific financial challenges.
As the baby boom generation matures, the demand for financial advisors continues to grow. This has taken the form of advising on retirement to online planning services that automate the analysis of assets and goals and needs.
A financial advisor requires deep financial expertise, usually initially learned at a college or university and then augmented with experience working at a bank, brokerage, insurance company or other financial institution. Many financial advisors earn certification such as financial planning certification. If their business sells securities, then they will need to become a licensed securities dealer and pass the series exams required by the SEC. Similarly, some financial advisors also sell insurance and must be licensed by their state insurance boards in order to provide this service to their clients.
Financial planning is a very personal, relationship-building career. You must demonstrate not only knowledge about financial instruments and planning, but also listen to your clients’ needs and special situations in order to provide the very best advice you can. Building a long-term client base is still a customer service business; a financial advisor must have empathy and solutions that will take the stress and worry out of money matters.