What it Takes to be a Finanical Advisor

So often people have a hard time justifying the need for a financial advisor. After all, who knows your money better than you do?  Well here is a glimpse of what it takes to be a financial advisor to put it all into perspective.

College Education

People on the path to becoming a financial advisor must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business. Majors of study will be in the areas of finance, accounting or financial management. They should have courses in economics, financial accounting, financial planning and investments. They may have also studied international business, business legalities, ethics and business strategy.

Job Experience

Some companies may require financial advising applicants to have 1-3 years of experience in the field. It may also required that applicants have experience meeting minimum production standards for a designated amount of time. Companies that do not require financial advising experience usually consider applicants with 3-5 years of experience in sales, accounting or auditing.

Licenses and Certifications

In order to act as a registered financial advisor, an individual must obtain licensure or registration through their state. There are a number of licensing examinations, but most financial advisors have passed the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) basic securities exams (http://www.finra.org). These include the Series 6 and 63 as well as the Series 65 exam, which allows financial specialists to work as advisors.

Passing the Series 6 limits advisors to selling variable annuities, mutual funds and variable life insurance. Advisors who pass the Series 7 can sell all types of securities. To maintain FINRA licensure, financial advisors must complete continuing education training after the first two years of licensure and every three years thereafter.

To become a Certified Financial Planner, licensed advisors must complete further training through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.  In order to qualify for the Certified Financial Planner credential, applicants must meet minimum experience and education requirements, abide by industry ethical standards and pass an exam. To keep certification valid, advisors must complete continuing education credits every two years.

Continuing Education

Financial advising continuing education courses help financial advisors keep current with changes in the industry. Many community colleges and universities offer these. Some of these courses include topics such as real estate planning, tax planning, investment management, retirement planning and principles of personal financial planning.

Financial Advisors devote their work days to helping clients manage their finances and understanding the nuances of the market.


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