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Become A Certified Finance Planner

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Working As A Certified Finance Planner

  • Getting Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $83,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Certified Finance Planner Do

Personal financial advisors provide advice on investments, insurance, mortgages, college savings, estate planning, taxes, and retirement to help individuals manage their finances.  

Duties

Personal financial advisors typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients in person to discuss their financial goals
  • Explain the types of financial services they provide to potential clients
  • Educate clients and answer questions about investment options and potential risks
  • Recommend investments to clients or select investments on their behalf
  • Help clients plan for specific circumstances, such as education expenses or retirement
  • Monitor clients’ accounts and determine if changes are needed to improve the performance or to accommodate life changes, such as getting married or having children
  • Research investment opportunities

Personal financial advisors assess the financial needs of individuals and help them with decisions on investments (such as stocks and bonds), tax laws, and insurance. Advisors help clients plan for short- and long-term goals, such as meeting education expenses and saving for retirement through investments. They invest clients’ money based on the clients’ decisions. Many advisors also provide tax advice or sell insurance.

Although most planners offer advice on a wide range of topics, some specialize in areas such as retirement or risk management (evaluating how willing the investor is to take chances and adjusting investments accordingly).

Many personal financial advisors spend a lot of time marketing their services, and they meet potential clients by giving seminars or through business and social networking. Networking is the process of meeting and exchanging information with people, or groups of people, who have similar interests.

After financial advisors have invested funds for a client, they and the client receive regular investment reports. Advisors monitor the client’s investments and usually meet with each client at least once a year to update the client on potential investments and to adjust the financial plan based on the client’s circumstances or because investment options may have changed.

Many personal financial advisors are licensed to directly buy and sell financial products, such as stocks, bonds, annuities, and insurance. Depending on the agreement they have with their clients, personal financial advisors may have the client’s permission to make decisions about buying and selling stocks and bonds.

Private bankers or wealth managers are personal financial advisors who work for people who have a lot of money to invest. These clients are similar to institutional investors (commonly, companies or organizations), and they approach investing differently than the general public does. Private bankers manage a collection of investments, called a portfolio, for these clients by using the resources of the bank, including teams of financial analysts, accountants, and other professionals.

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How To Become A Certified Finance Planner

Personal financial advisors typically need a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree and certification can improve one’s chances for advancement in the occupation.

Education

Personal financial advisors typically need a bachelor’s degree. Although employers usually do not require personal financial advisors to have completed a specific course of study, a degree in finance, economics, accounting, business, mathematics, or law is good preparation for this occupation. Courses in investments, taxes, estate planning, and risk management are also helpful. Programs in financial planning are becoming more available in colleges and universities.

Training

Once they are hired, personal financial advisors often enter an on-the-job training period. During this time, new advisors work under the supervision of senior advisors and learn how to perform their duties, including building a client network and developing investment portfolios. This training usually lasts for more than a year.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Personal financial advisors who directly buy or sell stocks, bonds, or insurance policies, or who provide specific investment advice, need a combination of licenses that varies with the products they sell. In addition to being required to have those licenses, advisors in smaller firms that manage clients’ investments must be registered with state regulators and those in larger firms must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Personal financial advisors who choose to sell insurance need licenses issued by state boards. Information on state licensing board requirements for registered investment advisors is available from the North American Securities Administrators Association.

Certifications can enhance a personal financial advisor’s reputation and can help bring in new clients. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards offers the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification. For this certification, advisors must have a bachelor’s degree, complete at least 3 years of relevant work experience, pass an exam, and agree to adhere to a code of ethics. The exam covers the financial planning process, insurance and risk management, employee benefits planning, taxes and retirement planning, investment and real estate planning, debt management, planning liability, emergency fund reserves, and statistical modeling.

Advancement

A master’s degree in an area such as finance or business administration can improve a personal financial advisor’s chances of moving into a management position and attracting new clients.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. In determining an investment portfolio for a client, personal financial advisors must be able to take into account a range of information, including economic trends, regulatory changes, and the client’s comfort with risky decisions.

Interpersonal skills. A major part of a personal financial advisor’s job is making clients feel comfortable. Advisors must establish trust with clients and respond well to their questions and concerns.

Math skills. Personal financial advisors should be good at mathematics because they constantly work with numbers. They determine the amount invested, how that amount has grown or decreased over time, and how a portfolio is distributed among different investments.

Sales skills. To expand their base of clients, personal financial advisors must be convincing and persistent in selling their services.

Speaking skills. Personal financial advisors interact with clients every day. They must explain complex financial concepts in understandable language.

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Top Skills for A Certified Finance Planner

  1. Comprehensive Financial Plans
  2. Estate Planning
  3. Investment Strategies
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Implement comprehensive financial plans and asset-allocation strategy while incorporating economic & market news to substantiate the recommendations.
  • Delivered informative presentations pertaining to financial planning, tax mitigation, and estate planning for prospective clients.
  • Performed portfolio evaluation and analysis, made recommendations on investments and investment strategies.
  • Developed strong client relationships that consistently resulted in new qualified referrals.
  • Provided thorough/comprehensive customer service, as well as detailed communication with professional product and service-related providers.

Certified Finance Planner Demographics

Gender

Male

53.9%

Female

35.2%

Unknown

10.9%
Ethnicity

White

64.1%

Hispanic or Latino

13.6%

Black or African American

11.1%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.7%

French

22.2%

Russian

11.1%

Certified Finance Planner Education

Schools

Lane Community College

12.4%

Florida International University

10.1%

University of Oregon

7.9%

Colorado State University

6.7%

Boston University

5.6%

University of Alabama

4.5%

University of Iowa

4.5%

Miami Dade College

4.5%

Adelphi University

4.5%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.5%

American College

4.5%

University of Northern Colorado

3.4%

Arizona State University

3.4%

University of South Florida

3.4%

Brigham Young University

3.4%

University of Phoenix

3.4%

Nova Southeastern University

3.4%

James Madison University

3.4%

Kent State University

3.4%

Liberty University

3.4%
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Majors

Business

24.5%

Finance

21.2%

Accounting

11.7%

Management

4.4%

Economics

4.0%

Education

3.7%

Marketing

3.7%

Psychology

3.3%

Law

3.3%

English

2.6%

Communication

2.6%

Political Science

2.2%

Journalism

1.8%

Insurance

1.8%

Computer Information Systems

1.8%

Computer Science

1.5%

Nursing

1.5%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.5%

History

1.5%

Real Estate

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.2%

Masters

19.1%

Other

18.0%

Associate

6.3%

Certificate

4.7%

Doctorate

4.2%

License

1.3%

Diploma

0.3%
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