financial advisor working with a couple

What does a Financial Advisor do?

A financial advisor assists a client plan their short and long term financial goals both. These goals may include saving for retirement, college education, and ensuring a client has the appropriate insurance plan to secure a sound financial future. Their primary goal is to provide advice for financial security.

Watch a video to learn what a financial advisor does.

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How to Become a Financial Advisor

In order to be a certified financial advisor, a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, accounting, business math, or law is required. A master’s in business administration would certainly improve your career opportunities as well. Taking investment and risk management courses is highly recommended along with courses in taxes and estate planning.

Job Description of a Financial Advisor

financial advisor working with a couple

Financial advisors assist clients with their financial planning. A client’s life may change unexpectedly as well, so financial adjustment be needed. For example, there may be a death in the family, marriage or divorce, a chronic illness or disability, or the person may come upon a large sum of money. A financial advisor can assist with the planning of college preparations for themselves or their children. Although most financial advisors work in offices, one-quarter of them are self-employed. They may attend conferences and seminars in order to network and market themselves in order to meet potential clients.

If you are interested in learning more about financial advising, you can visit the National Association of Personal Advisors website (link opens in a new tab) to view why financial advising is important as well as items a financial advisor can help a client with.

Financial Advisor Career Video Transcript

The weighty responsibility of investing individuals’ savings and helping them build a secure retirement… takes both financial knowledge and interpersonal skills. Personal financial advisors provide advice on investments, homeownership, estate planning, and more to help people manage their finances and plan for the future. Personal financial advisors start by determining a client’s financial needs and how much risk they’re comfortable with, then helping set short and long-term goals.

Advisors are experts on the benefits and limitations of many different types of investments, such as mutual funds, stocks and bonds, real estate, and related issues such as insurance and the tax implications of different investments. Marketing their services to potential clients is an ongoing part of the job. To build their client base, personal financial advisors give seminars, participate in networking events, and seek referrals from current clients. Typically, advisors meet annually with clients to discuss their investment portfolio and make adjustments.

Most personal financial advisors work in the finance and insurance industry, and many others are self-employed. They usually work full time in offices, and some may meet with clients during evenings and weekends. Personal financial advisors typically need a bachelor’s degree; majoring in finance, economics, accounting, math, or law are all good preparation. Finance is a highly regulated field: specific licenses are required to sell different investment or insurance products. Advisors may need to register with state regulators or the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Advisor.

National Center for O*NET Development. 13-2052.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.