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How to become a Financial Advisor

Updated on August 6, 2011

There's a saying that rings true for most, "He who fails to plan, plans to fail." With the trouble of today's major banks and financial institutions such as Washington Mutual, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, AIG, and many others, financial planning is far more necessary than ever before. Hence, financial planner jobs ought to be bountiful in the near future, as they are now.

To say the least, financial planning is comprehensive and encompasses a wide variety of concerns depending on who is requiring the planning. The most common needs for a financial plan are in the area of retirement savings, elderly care savings, college savings, life insurance and debt management. Since each type has a different set of strategies, laws, and products, specialization in each area is of practical importance.


Financial planners, more often than not, talk to people. A career in financial planning requires plenty of customer touches because a completed financial plan is not hands-off or in autopilot. It has to be adjusted from time to time since people's lives change. A plan for retirement is different from a plan to buy a first house, but nevertheless, both requires planning.


Median annual earnings, including bonuses, of wage and salary for financial analysts were $66,590 in May 2006. The highest 10 percent earned more than $130,130.


Degrees and classes to become a financial planner can be achieved through online or traditional schools. Those who aspire to become a financial planner usually finish college first and, then, move on to get the proper securities and insurance certification. Additionally, a person must have good math skills and the ability to work with budgets and accounting systems in order to become a successful financial planner.

There is a specialized designation, CFP, for Certified Financial Planners. These are usually seen in business cards and advertisements in the same way as MD (for doctors), Esq (for lawyers), and CPA (for accountants). To become a Certified Financial Planner, one must pass the certification and exam given by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Traditional and online courses are offered to prepare for the CFP test.

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