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Financial Planner Career

Considering a career as a Financial Planner? Find out all you need to know to decide whether this career is right for you.

What does a Financial Planner do?

The role of a Financial Planner (or Financial Advisor) is to help clients acquire a clear understanding of their current finanacial status, develop finanacial goals and finally develop sound financial plans to meet these goals.

Successful Financial Planners will have indepth knowledge of the money market, investment opportunities, insurance options, current tax laws and levels of risk associated with all options.

As a Financial Planner, you will not only help with your clients' investment plans and opportunities, you will also regularly contribute to your clients' understanding of consequences for various life changing decisions. An example of this might be a clients' decision to change careers. You will typically be required to help your client see how such a decision will change their ability to meet future financial goals.

A client may request your opinion on large purchases in areas such as real estate or vehicle purchasing. A highly regarded Financial Planner will be well-informed in all areas of financial activity from investment in the stock market to acquiring the best type of car insurance for sa 16 year old son or daughter.

As a Financial Planner, you will find you receive the greatest number of referrals by simply being versatile with all aspects of personal finance.

Today 4 out 10 Financial Planners are self-employed and future projections show this ratio to increase. Financial Planners can set themselves up for success by acquiring the skills necessary for running their own business.

As a self-employed Financial Planner, you will need to have strong interpersonal skills in order to develop strong relationships with your clients (they are trusting you with their life savings!). Secondly, you will need to develop strong sales skills.

When presenting clients with great investment opportunities, you will need to have the ability to sell these opportunities that are based on complicated money market ideas and concepts. You will regularly need to fight against your clients' financial ignorance in order to help them make the best financial decisions for themselves.

How to Become a Financial Planner?

Educational requirements may vary slightly depending on the company (or if you are self-employed), the area you wish to work and your previous work experience.

For most Financial Planner careers, the minimum educational requirement is the completion of a Bachelor's degree in Accounting or Finance. However, if you are interested in advancing your career as quickly as possible, then you may wish to earn an advanced degree such as an MBA with an emphasis in Accounting.

You may also wish to consider acquiring the distintion of Certified Financial Planner, or CFP. This distinction is offered through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standard Inc. The CFP is a distinction designed to signify a Financial Planner's proper code of conduct and professionalism. You can find more about earning the CFP distinction here.

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Beyond a quality education and the development of skills necessary to succeed as a Financial Planner, you will need to learn where to gain experience by finding career opportunities.

You will find some career opportunities and post your resume on Financial Planner portals such as The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors; however, you will probably have quicker results if you contact a local recruiter or begin contacting hiring firms directly. You may find Financial Planner openings under newspaper or online classifieds (Craigslist or Monster.com).

What is a Financial Planner's Salary?

As a Financial Planner, your salary can vary significantly depending on your level of experience, your level of acquired education and size of the company you work for.

The median salary* for a Financial Planner is $66,100.

The top 10% of Financial Planners are pulling in an average of over $150,000.

In order to boost yourself to this level of success, you will need to perform highly, develop years of experience at a respectable company or within your own business and lastly, earn yourself an advanced degree.

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* Source: The Bureau of Labor and Statistics for 2006

How does the future look for a Financial Planner?

Job growth for the Financial Planning career is projected to grow much faster than average. Due to deregulation in the financial advising industry, many companies such as banks are adding financial advising services to their existing customer base.

The job market is also increasing due to an increasing number of highly educated and wealthy individuals wishing to create or enhance retirement funds. In addition, as life spans increase, individuals are needing to finance more years of retirement before they are able to stop working. Among many other variables these are some of the factors encouraging job growth for Financial Planners.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics forecast job growth for Financial Planners from 2004 to 2014 to be around 26%. At this rate, Financial Planner jobs in the United States should increase from 158,100 to 199,000.

The future looks bright for the Financial Planner profession, so go ahead and get started!

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