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Financial Advisor: Career Information


Job Description:

When it comes to saving our money, we have choices. We can put it under the mattress, in the bank or we can invest it. The experts usually suggest a combination of the latter two (most will discourage the first option). Who are these experts? They are financial advisors whose job is to help their clients plan for their short and long term financial goals. These goals may include their own retirement and their children's education expenses. He or she may provide investment, tax and insurance advice. While the primary part of one's job involves advising clients, a great deal of one's time is spent getting more clients. In order to do this, financial advisors must be skilled networkers.

Employment Facts:

There were almost 207,000 financial advisors employed in the US in 2010. Most worked in offices, but also spent time outside the office attending conferences and teaching classes with the goal of attracting business. About a quarter of financial advisors were self-employed. Long hours are a reality of this career. Most financial advisors work full time and about a quarter work more than 50 hours a week. Expect to work evenings and weekends as well.

Educational Requirements:

To work as a financial advisor one must have at least a bachelor's degree. Many people who work in this field have an MBA (Master's of Business Administration) or a master's degree in finance.

Why Do You Need to Know About Educational Requirements?

Other Requirements:

A financial advisor who sells financial products including stocks, bonds and insurance policies, needs licenses to do so. See the Directory Of Securities Laws & Regulations on the North American Securities Administors Association (NASAA) Web Site for licensing information. Many financial advisors earn the credential, Certified Financial Planner, which is issued by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. To do this one must pass an exam and have a bachelor's degree and three years of experience in financial planning.

Advancement Opportunities:

With experience, a financial advisor can move up to a managerial position. Alternatively, one may open his or her own branch office of a security firm.

Job Outlook:

The job outlook for financial advisors is excellent. This occupation is projected to experience much faster job growth, through 2020, than the average for all occupations. On a list of occupations that require a bachelor's degree it is listed among the top 10.

Why Do You Need to Know About Job Outlook?


Financial advisors earned a median annual salary of $66,580 in 2011 (US). Those who were paid hourly, earned a median hourly wage of $32.01.

Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much a Financial Advisor currently earns in your city.

A Day in a Financial Advisor's Life:

On a typical day a financial advisor's tasks might include:

  • marketing his or her services to potential clients by giving seminars or networking
  • meeting with clients to assess their financial needs and goals
  • updating clients on potential investments
  • adjusting clients' financial plans to accomodate life changes such as marriage, divorce, disability or death of a spouse

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Personal Financial Advisors, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Business-and-Financial/Personal-financial-advisors.htm (visited July 30, 2012).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Personal Financial Advisors, on the Internet at http://www.onetonline.org/link/details/13-2052.00 (visited July 30, 2012).

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