People are living longer, which is affecting how individuals manage their money and plan for retirement. According to the Social Security Administration, about one in every four 65-year-olds today will live past 90, and one out of 10 will surpass 95.
The need for financial advice and the demand for experts in this field are expected to increase along with Americans’ life expectancies. Opportunities to work as personal financial advisors are projected to grow by 30% through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
What is a Personal Financial Advisor?
Personal financial advisors help people manage their money. As an advisor, you would meet with clients to assess their financial needs and help them with decisions about:
- College Savings
- Estate Planning
Advisors discuss their clients’ financial situations and identify short- and long-term goals. You would also be called on when unexpected life events happen such as divorce, health expenses or job loss, to make sense of the financial implications and decisions your clients need to make to stay on track.
Typical job duties include assessing assets, liabilities and cash flow, educating clients on investment options and potential risks, helping plan for specific events, such as retirement or education, and monitoring clients’ accounts to determine if changes are needed to achieve financial goals.
Although most professionals in this field offer advice on a wide range of topics, some specialize in retirement or risk management. Advisors who directly buy or sell stocks, bonds or insurance policies, or who provide specific investment advice, need a combination of licenses depending on the services they provide and sell, according to the BLS.
Job Outlook and Salary Range for Personal Financial Advisors
U.S. News & World Report ranked financial advisor as No. 3 in Best Business Jobs and No. 26 in The 100 Best Jobs of 2017, which considers employment rates, salary data and future job growth.
Federal projections estimate that 73,900 jobs will be created by 2024, bringing the projected number of personal financial advisors to 323,200, the BLS reports. The median annual salary for personal financial advisors was $90,530 in 2016, according to the BLS. The lowest 10% earned less than $41,160. The highest 10% earned more than $208,000 annually.
Job titles within this field may include financial consultant, financial counselor, financial planner and investment advisor. Most personal financial advisors work for a bank or another firm in the financial industry. Advisors can also be self-employed. According to the BLS, one in five advisors were self-employed in 2014; wages of self-employed advisors are not included in the median earnings.
Several factors including a candidate’s educational qualifications, work experience and regional market conditions affect job opportunities and salary potential.
Education and Training for Personal Financial Advisors
Earning a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance can provide you with the foundation needed to pursue a career as a personal financial advisor. According to the BLS, a degree in business, finance or economics is a requirement for employment in this profession.
Coursework may include understanding portfolio management, gaining a comprehensive view of investment in stocks and bonds, and learning about international financial assets and markets and understanding the global market.
Some individuals may be able to enhance their reputation and help bring on new clients by earning a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Certification qualifications include a bachelor’s degree, three years of work experience and passing an exam.