How to Become a Financial Advisor

Becoming a financial advisor is a smart career move for people with the skills and know-how, because recent surveys rate “financial advisor” the third-best job in America, with an average salary substantially in the six figures.

So learning how to become a financial advisor is a worthy search topic. Having the resume to become a financial adviser is an entirely different matter, because you need experience in the world of finance dealing with subjects like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and overall investment strategies.

A financial advisor consults with clients on how to manage their investment portfolio and prepare for retirement. Every major life event and life decision, from marriage to retirement to having kids and grandkids, might call for a reassessment of prior investment strategies.

How to Become a Financial Advisor

Your recommendations directly affect the lives of your client and their extended family, so giving sound financial advise is important, and having success over a course of years is even more important.

Join a Financial Firm’s Training Program

You’ll need previous experience and training as an investment broker and advisor to start your own career as a financial advisor. You might be that rare individual who can convince people they need to trust their future to you, but people with skills in charm and persuasion do not necessarily (or even usually) have skills in investment and finance. So learn the trade before you start to collect clients.

Get Good University Grades

Go to university and study a financial degree, and be sure to maintain a grade point average of 3.2 or higher. You have to show you mean business and you can handle the pressures and hard work of a life in investment. Even a college degree isn’t going to give you all the training in math, accounting, and finance that you’ll need, but it’s a healthy start.

When you finish, you’ll need to take professional exams to show you are qualified to be a financial adviser. Certain degrees might offer exemptions to some of these. Even when you pass your exams, you’ll need to retake these every year or so, to show you are keeping up with new developments in the world of finance.

Find a Salaried Position as a Financial Advisor

This might be difficult, but try to find a job with an investment firm which offers a higher starting salary, instead of large commissions and fees. That’s because these are going to be low when you first break into the business, as your client list will be small (non-existent at first). Once you have established yourself, this salary will become a minor part of your salary, as your fees grow with your client list and reputation, but for now, it’s going to be your mainstay.

Consider a Bank Job as an Alternative

Another alternative is to find a job working as a financial advisor for a bank. This is sometimes easier to procure, and it also tends to pay more than working as an independent financial adviser.

are also good at working with employees during their professional exams, when hours are going to be long and time short. Also keep in mind that a bank career might provide you with early-in-career essentials like a company car and a health insurance plan.

Get a Series 7 License – Get a Series 66 License

The General Securities Representative Exam or “Series 7 Exam” helps you become a broker-dealer, ready to cover topics like stocks, bonds, LLCs, options, open-end funds, and closed-end funds.

I’ve talked about this one before, but I wanted to be sure you knew about this one. Some states require a Series 66 or Series 63 license, too, so get your Series 66 license. Remember that a Registered Investment Advisor or RIA can sponsor people to get licenses, but you may also be able to get state sponsorship on this question, as well.

How to Become a Financial Advisor

Becoming a financial advisor is going to take a lot of work, but if you put in the time, you’ll get a job as a financial advisor. The main qualifications are the ability to work and communicate with people (clients), and a college degree. Once you gain some experience in the field, you’ll be able to become an independent financial advisor, work for yourself, and hopefully build a large client network and a sterling reputation as a financial advisor.

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