With more and more people investing in the stock market, the demand for financial planners is increasing by the day. There is a lot of competition for jobs, with security brokers and dealers paying top dollar, for skilled financial planners. This profile is recognized by several names like financial planner, financial advisor and personal finance consultant, but it is rarely referred to by its ideal name: Financial Product Sales Representative.
Every small occurrence in our life has an effect on our financial planning, be it a thought to buy a car or start a new business. It is a famous misconception that financial planners are important only for businessmen, actors or other wealthy people, but in reality even the most average earner makes investments and takes the help of a financial planner for it.
These professionals make recommendations and give guidance to individual investors regarding financial planning. Financial planners have knowledge of tax laws and use it to provide tax advice.
Financial planners also help in estate planning. They use their knowledge to gauge the need for expansion of the estate or merger with another business entity. Every investment or expense goes through the hands of financial planners before the final approval.
A financial planner has to advise many clients in order to be considered successful. There is a difference between financial analysts and planners. Financial planners work with personal investors while financial analysts work with organizations.
If you want to know how to save money for a college education, you will need the services of this financial planning professional. If you want to write a will, or plan for a secure and comfortable retirement, you will need a financial manager.
They also sell life insurance to their customers. Private bankers also fall into this category, since they help rich people manage their money.
To become a financial planner, you have to get a degree in economics, business or mathematics fields. It is even better if you have a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA). You can also take courses in taxes, estate planning or risk management. There are certain colleges and universities, too, that offer a degree in financial planning.
Before working as a financial planner, he may work as an accountant, auditor or even a lawyer. There are also certifications available such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), or Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC).
You can also get a license by taking the Series 6 exam, to become an Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative. You can take the Series 7 exam, to become a General Securities Representative. You can also take the Series 63 exam, which is the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination.
All three of these exams have been developed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which was previously known as National Association Of Securities Dealers (NASD).
Apart from the qualifications mentioned above there is a requirement for a basic skill set as follows:
Analytical Skills- A financial planner has to advise his clients on investments they need to make for which the client should be able to acknowledge a profitable investment.
Interpersonal Skills- The major aspect of his job is to make the customers feel comfortable. They should be able to trust you with information they are providing you; for this having excellent interpersonal skills is a must.
Math Skills- You should also be able to work with numbers, because they need to use math to analyze data.
Speaking Skills- To convince clients and to explain complex financial aspects in simple words you need to have a good command over English or whichever is your local language and communicate well.
Selling Skills- Marketing strategy and sales techniques are required to get more customers and clients at events such as seminars, lectures or conferences.
Acquiring a New Deal
If you wish to gain success in this field then a broad social network is a “must have”. The key principle is to build a strong customer base because satisfied customers’ referral is an important source of expanding business.
There is no portal over the Internet which will find for you your next customer. Whether you opt for giving seminars and lectures or using social and business contacts, you have to hunt them yourself.
More than 50% of the financial planners work for insurance and finance companies, it can be a bank, broker, insurance carrier or a financial investment firm. Even so, 4 out of 10 are self-employed having an independent advisory firm. Such cases are more common in urban areas than in rural areas.
With time and experience, a financial planner can climb up to the position of a manager. In general, most of them build up to establish their own advisory or security firm.
Earnings and Job Outlook
According to the statistics of 2010 provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of financial planners in 2010 was $64,750 per year, with half of the total employed earning below this level and half above it. This does not include self-employed and the bonuses. A fresher may earn anywhere around $32,660 per year.
This sector is believed to accelerate 32% by 2020, increasing job opportunities by 66,400.
A Day in a Financial Planner’s Life
The tasks in hand during a typical day at work includes:
Gathering new clients via marketing and channel building
Meeting with the existing clientèle to assess their financial requirements and future goals
Updating clients with the current scenario and scope for investments
Conforming clients’ financial plans in line with their life changes such as marriage, childbirth, divorce, disability and death of spouse, etc.