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Become A Finance Counselor

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Working As A Finance Counselor

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

  • $31,720

    Average Salary

What Does A Finance Counselor 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 Finance Counselor

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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Finance Counselor jobs

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Finance Counselor Career Paths

Finance Counselor
Business Office Manager Accountant Staff Accountant
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Insurance Specialist Accounts Receivable Specialist
Accounts Receivable Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Coder Auditor Accountant
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Chief Executive Officer Administrative Coordinator
Administrative Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Insurance Specialist Account Manager Billing Specialist
Billing Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Benefit Specialist Account Manager Billing Specialist
Billing Office Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Benefit Specialist Billing Specialist
Billing Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Business Office Manager
Business Office Director
8 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Sales Manager Office Manager
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Medical Coder Adjunct Instructor Associate Director
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Service Supervisor Human Resources Coordinator Controller
Finance Services Director
10 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Account Executive Sales Manager
Office Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Patient Care Coordinator Reimbursement Specialist Billing Supervisor
Patient Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Supervisor, Patient Access Patient Care Manager
Patient Relations Director
10 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Service Coordinator Service Supervisor
Patient Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Business Office Manager Business Manager Practice Manager
Practice Administrator
10 Yearsyrs
Benefit Specialist Billing Specialist
Senior Billing Specialist
7 Yearsyrs
Service Supervisor Sales Consultant Senior Sales Representative
Senior Representative
5 Yearsyrs
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Finance Counselor Demographics

Gender

Female

78.0%

Male

20.3%

Unknown

1.7%
Ethnicity

White

77.3%

Hispanic or Latino

14.9%

Asian

5.9%

Unknown

1.4%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

80.5%

French

4.2%

Portuguese

2.3%

Chinese

1.5%

German

1.5%

Turkish

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Swahili

0.8%

Somali

0.8%

Mandarin

0.8%

Armenian

0.8%

Italian

0.8%

Arabic

0.8%

Hmong

0.8%

Swedish

0.4%

Vietnamese

0.4%

Gujarati

0.4%

Hindi

0.4%

Khmer

0.4%

Yoruba

0.4%
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Finance Counselor Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

33.5%

Kaplan University

5.1%

Liberty University

4.9%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

4.8%

Grand Canyon University

4.8%

Western Michigan University

4.2%

Webster University

3.9%

Strayer University

3.9%

University of Central Florida

3.7%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.7%

Walden University

3.5%

Capella University

3.2%

Troy University

3.0%

American InterContinental University

3.0%

Ashford University

2.8%

Indiana Wesleyan University

2.8%

Arizona State University

2.6%

Hinds Community College

2.3%

Middle Tennessee State University

2.1%

Florida Atlantic University

2.1%
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Majors

Business

31.7%

Health Care Administration

13.8%

Accounting

6.8%

Management

4.8%

Psychology

4.8%

Finance

3.8%

Medical Assisting Services

3.5%

Nursing

3.4%

General Studies

3.4%

Criminal Justice

3.4%

Human Resources Management

2.8%

Human Services

2.2%

Sociology

2.2%

Social Work

2.1%

Liberal Arts

2.1%

Communication

2.0%

Education

2.0%

Medical Technician

1.8%

Computer Information Systems

1.8%

Marketing

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

33.3%

Other

26.9%

Masters

16.6%

Associate

13.0%

Certificate

6.4%

Diploma

1.8%

Doctorate

1.4%

License

0.6%
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Real Finance Counselor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Bilingual Finance Counselor Wealth Ocean Inc. Irvine, CA Sep 18, 2014 $85,984
Financial Counselor Lithotechs, LLC El Monte, CA Sep 19, 2014 $79,869
Financial Counselor & Adviser Elegance Wood Products Inc. Fontana, CA May 15, 2014 $63,633
Financial Counselor Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $50,246
Financial Counselor Abundant Habits Olympia, WA Jul 02, 2010 $49,000 -
$55,000
Financial Counselor Commonwealth Motor, Inc. Wilmington, DE Aug 09, 2016 $43,576
Financial Counselor Credit Is Where Credit Is Due, Inc. New York, NY Oct 07, 2009 $42,500
Financial Counselor CBS Manufacturing Group Ontario, CA Apr 15, 2013 $41,177
Alumni Program Finance Counselor & Outreach Coord. Monroe College Ltd. New Rochelle, NY Oct 01, 2012 $40,144

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Top Skills for A Finance Counselor

FinancialAssistanceApplicationsFinancialAidCharityCareCustomerServicePaymentPlansInsuranceCompaniesPaymentArrangementsDebtManagementMedicalServicesEmergencyRoomPatientAccountsInsuranceInformationInsuranceCoverageInsuranceBenefitsTitleInsuranceVerificationMedicalRecordsDataEntryFinancialInformationSelf-PayPatientsFinancialCounselor

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Top Finance Counselor Skills

  1. Financial Assistance Applications
  2. Financial Aid
  3. Charity Care
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Identify and utilize all possible means of obtaining information to process financial assistance applications for families.
  • Supervised financial aid counselors to ensure adherence to quality standards, deadlines, regulations, and policies and procedures.
  • Screened patients for state and government assistance programs such as charity care, Medicaid and social security benefits.
  • Provide one on one customer service to students, addressing questions and concerns about their financial status.
  • Calculate allowable charges and collect upfront payment, and help patients set up payment plans or other alternative means of payment.

Top Finance Counselor Employers

Finance Counselor Videos

Financial Advisor - Career Conversation

Career Opportunities for Finance Majors

A Day in the Life of a Financial Advisor

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