In finance, there are many different avenues available to be explored, with each providing attractive opportunities. It may be easiest to get into the industry right after graduation. However, becoming a financial advisor is possible with the right steps and training, even if you are pursuing a career change. Financial advisors can help people with a wide range of services: investments, tax planning, and life and retirement planning.
Many clients seek financial advice because of a life event that creates the need for financial guidance that can result from a job promotion, inheritance, getting married, or having a child. Financial Advising, advisors can provide extremely tailored and individualized advice for their clients.
As this field is coveted and competitive, there are a few requirements for those interested in Financial Advising as a career. Many begin the journey to a Financial Advising career through the traditional college route by obtaining an undergraduate degree. To satisfy courses that will benefit their career, most
undergraduates follow the business/finance/economics pipeline to secure a job in Financial Advising. After completing a degree at the undergraduate level, many study Financial Planning/Advising or another Finance-related subject area at the graduate level to bolster their credentials.
Coming straight out of college can also be advantageous as the on-campus organizations and clubs can assist in preparing for recruitment. Additionally, by joining organizations early on, students interested in Financial Advising will get exposed to networking and the skills necessary to succeed. If candidates are recruiting straight out of college, it’s important to have internship and interview experience. There are numerous resources such as tutoring centers, online resources, and practice books to prepare for entrance exams and interviews. Securing an internship will provide a student with real-world experience and valuable networking skills that can help them land a coveted financial services job.
Additionally, with the restrictions caused by Covid-19, there has been a tremendous increase in online resources available to college students that are easily accessible. These courses can be a valuable supplement to courses taken in college and graduate programs.
A wide variety of established institutions offer Financial Planning Certification programs online where students can enroll and fulfill coursework relevant to their work in the future. At Boston University in 9 to 12 months, students can earn an online financial planning certificate. By completing these courses, students will gain insight into taxation, investments, risk management, estate planning, and more.
This course gets students ready to take the CFP exam. The required courses include Capstone Course in Financial Planning, Estate Planning, Insurance and Risk Management, Introduction to Financial Planning, Investments, Retirement Planning, and Employee Benefits and Tax Planning. Like Boston University, Penn State, Arizona State, Boston University, and many other 4 year institutions offer these comprehensive programs.
For those looking to explore the Financial Planning space a bit more casually, there are many online crash course programs available as well. Through eLearning sites such as edX (Courses from Harvard, MIT, and more), Coursera (3,000+ course), ALISON (free online courses), and Skillshare (courses from world’s best professionals), interested individuals can take free courses on concepts integral to financial planning. Additionally, Coursera provides over 500 courses under the “Financial Planning Category.” Students can learn about Family Financial Planning, Investment and Portfolio Management, Behavioral Finance, Financial Markets, and anything else that catches their interests. These courses can provide great insight into what students can explore further either in established college institution courses or on the job as a Financial Planner.
As many finance industries work side-by-side, there are also training programs available at the top Investment Banks such as Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. Applicants are invited to apply, and the program would be a remarkable opportunity for anyone interested in a comprehensive financial advising training program. Additionally, if accepted into these programs, the training will prepare you for the Securities Exam(s) while also allowing you to open a private financial advising office supported by the bank.
If you aren’t interested or able to participate in one of these sponsored programs, there are other ways to train as a financial advisor. Interested financial advisors may get Certified Financial Planner designation to stand out as a candidate. To be eligible for this examination, candidates must have completed their bachelor’s degree.
This field is very people-oriented, and to succeed, interacting with people, presenting enthusiasm, confidence, and interest are financial advisors’ major assets. Here is a brief overview of what to expect:
- The financial advisor offers their client advice that is backed up both quantitatively and qualitatively.
- There is no one-size-fits-all approach in Financial Advising, and many advisors have moved toward Holistic Financial Planning to ensure a client’s “whole” situation is taken into account. There are various professionals, including Broker-Dealers, RIAs, and individuals who solely assist with Financial Planning.
- Continuing to connect with the clients regularly is important for the client to have conviction in the financial advisor and have trust that they are investing their valuable money properly. Utilizing technology such as video conferencing has further enhanced the advisor/client relationship, from screen sharing to greater accessibility.
Many financial advisors have adopted liabilities management, helping clients refinance mortgages to meet their clients’ needs further. Financial Advising is an important field because you are dealing with people, finances, lives, and every person with a unique story. There is a reason behind every number. By understanding the past years of a person’s life, financial advisors can ask them about their goals so they can provide a logical and cohesive plan to help them navigate the future confidently.