Average Salary
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
Job Openings

Investment Advisor Careers

An investment advisor is any person or group that makes investment recommendations or conducts securities analysis in return for a fee, whether through direct management of the client's assets or by way of written publications. They often have discretionary authority over their client's assets and are required to uphold fiduciary responsibility standards.

You should possess essential skills to qualify for the position, including excellent communication and listening, as well as strong financial, analytical, organizational, and time management skills. As an investment advisor, your responsibilities will include educating clients on various ways of accomplishing their financial goals. You'll also determine the risk tolerance of your clients and analyze various investment options. Some of your day-to-day will include choosing investment options that suit your client best, providing investment recommendations, and record keeping.

Brokerage firms prefer investment advisors to be qualified and have at least a bachelor's degree with a major in finance, marketing, or business. Certain licenses are also available to cement your qualifications further. The average yearly salary for the position is $87,000; however, you can make more depending upon commissions and other bonuses. The average hourly salary for a traditional workweek is $41.85.

What Does an Investment Advisor Do

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


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.

How To Become an Investment Advisor

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.


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.


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.


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.

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

Average Salary
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
Job Openings

Investment Advisor Career Paths

Top Careers Before Investment Advisor

Top Careers After Investment Advisor

Investment Advisor Jobs You Might Like

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for an Investment Advisor

Investment Advisors in America make an average salary of $95,492 per year or $46 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $177,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $51,000 per year.
Average Salary
Find Your Salary Estimate
How much should you be earning as an Architect? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.

Best Paying Cities For Investment Advisors

Average Salarydesc
Bellevue, WA
Salary Range91k - 186k$131k$130,731
New York, NY
Salary Range80k - 174k$119k$118,646
South Portland, ME
Salary Range78k - 171k$116k$115,668
Atlanta, GA
Salary Range73k - 152k$106k$105,856
Boston, MA
Salary Range66k - 145k$98k$98,469
Greenwich, CT
Salary Range66k - 143k$98k$97,773
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range67k - 139k$97k$97,159
Rochester, NH
Salary Range65k - 143k$97k$96,744
Coral Gables, FL
Salary Range67k - 139k$97k$96,688
Highlands Ranch, CO
Salary Range64k - 131k$92k$91,855
Jersey City, NJ
Salary Range62k - 133k$91k$91,332
Charlotte, NC
Salary Range62k - 130k$90k$90,298
Rochester, MN
Salary Range61k - 128k$89k$89,100
Troy, MI
Salary Range59k - 126k$87k$86,745
Overland Park, KS
Salary Range59k - 122k$86k$85,686
Houston, TX
Salary Range57k - 117k$82k$81,956
Scottsdale, AZ
Salary Range56k - 117k$81k$81,159
Eau Claire, WI
Salary Range52k - 110k$76k$76,446
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range52k - 110k$76k$75,757
Woonsocket, RI
Salary Range48k - 107k$72k$72,325

Recently Added Salaries

CompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Community Investments Strategic Advisor
City of Seattle
Investor Specialist-(Pulte Mortgage)
Pulte Mortgage
Investment Strategy Advisor
SS&C Technologies
Stipend Opportunity: Esser District Investment Advisor (SY)
Boston Public Schools
Investor Specialist-(Pulte Mortgage)
Pulte Group, Inc.
See More Recent Salaries

Calculate your salary

Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to see how your pay matches up.

Investment Advisor Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Investment Advisor. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Investment Advisor Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Investment Advisor resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Investment Advisor Resume Examples And Templates

Investment Advisor Demographics



67.3 %


27.4 %


5.3 %



76.6 %


8.2 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.9 %

Foreign Languages Spoken


39.8 %


14.0 %


9.5 %
Show More Investment Advisor Demographics

Investment Advisor Education


28.5 %
21.9 %



75.7 %


13.6 %


6.2 %

Top Colleges for Investment Advisors

1. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition

2. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

4. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

5. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

6. University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Lincoln, NE • Private

In-State Tuition

7. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

8. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

9. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

10. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
Show More Investment Advisor Education Requirements

Online Courses For Investment Advisor That You May Like

Investment Banking: The Complete Financial Ratio Analysis

Investment Banking For Investors & Financial Analysts - How to Perform Financial Statement Analysis & Company Valuation...

Value Investing: The Complete Financial Statement Analysis

Value Investing Mastery - How to Perform Financial Statement Analysis & Financial Ratio Analysis to Find Great Stocks...

The Advanced Real Estate Financial Modeling Bootcamp

The Complete Guide To Advanced Real Estate Financial Modeling For Real Estate Investment Professionals...

See more
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time

Top Skills For an Investment Advisor

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.7% of investment advisors listed financial goals on their resume, but soft skills such as interpersonal skills and sales skills are important as well.

Best States For an Investment Advisor

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an investment advisor. The best states for people in this position are Washington, New York, Maine, and Georgia. Investment advisors make the most in Washington with an average salary of $123,543. Whereas in New York and Maine, they would average $113,257 and $109,841, respectively. While investment advisors would only make an average of $104,053 in Georgia, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New York

Total Investment Advisor Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. District of Columbia

Total Investment Advisor Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Washington

Total Investment Advisor Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Investment Advisors

How Do Investment Advisor Rate Their Jobs?

Working as an Investment Advisor? Share your experience anonymously.
Do you work as an Investment Advisor?
Rate how you like work as Investment Advisor. It's anonymous and will only take a minute.

Top Investment Advisor Employers

1. Charles Schwab
Avg. Salary: 
Investment Advisors Hired: 
2. Fidelity Investments
Avg. Salary: 
Investment Advisors Hired: 
3. MetLife
Avg. Salary: 
Investment Advisors Hired: 
4. Bank of America
Avg. Salary: 
Investment Advisors Hired: 
5. T. Rowe Price
Avg. Salary: 
Investment Advisors Hired: 
6. The Merrill Company
Avg. Salary: 
Investment Advisors Hired: 

Investment Advisor Videos

Updated August 18, 2021