How to Become a Financial Planner

How to Become a Financial Planner

Learn About Being a Financial Planner

Financial planners advise their clients on how to manage their finances. They work with people who have high incomes, those who are nearing retirement, and many others in between. Financial planners can be self-employed or they can work for a company. A financial planner’s key responsibility is to educate and help their clients take control of their finances and plan for the future. Here are three steps to becoming a financial planner.

A financial planner is a professional who advises people on their money and investments. They can help with everything from budgeting to tax planning to retirement. And, they can provide guidance for individuals and families as well as businesses.
There are many different titles that may be used interchangeably with this, such as Registered Financial Planner or Chartered Financial Analyst, and they each have their own credentials. But no matter what title you see, it’s important to note that these professionals are experts in finances.
If you want to learn more about the importance of having a financial planner in your life, read on for more information!

What Exactly Does a Financial Planner Do?

Financial planning is the process of creating a plan that will help you achieve your financial goals. Financial planners advise clients on tax, investment, retirement and estate planning, personal insurance and risk management, among other services. Many people know there are financial planners out there but not everyone knows what they do exactly. If you’re trying to figure out whether or not to hire a financial planner, be sure to read on.

Read: 10 High Paying Engineering Jobs

Financial planners are finance professionals who provide money management services and guidance to clients. They assess client finances and make plans for investments, retirement, savings and more. Additionally, a financial planner might also have the following duties:

  • Meeting with clients to discuss current financial standing, set goals and assess potential risks

  • Helping clients create personal budgets that help them reach savings goals

  • Assisting clients with tax returns, estate management, retirement planning, mortgages and properties and other financial tasks

  • Staying current with developments in financial products, tax laws and industry updates that impact their clients

  • Maintaining relationships with clients and keeping them updated about financial changes to their account

  • Referring clients to service providers and other financial professionals as needed

Financial Planner Salary

It’s important to know what financial planners make, especially if you’re considering a career in the field. Financial planners typically hold a bachelor’s degree and earn an average starting salary of about $40,000. Over time, compensation can increase depending on experience and specialized skills. There are many factors that come into play when determining a specific salary for a financial planner. Education, years of experience, location, and employer all factor into determining how much someone earns in this position. Here are some financial planner salaries by state to give you an idea of what to expect.

Average salary

Most financial planners work full-time. Some work for investment firms or banks, while others are self-employed. Their salary often depends on geographic location, years of experience and level of education in addition to any relevant certifications.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $66,575 per year

  • Some salaries range from $14,000 to $150,000 per year.

Financial planner requirements

Financial planners frequently require a combination of the following requirements to secure employment and effectively assist clients:


The minimum educational requirement for a financial planner job is a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, business or economics. Some colleges and universities offer degree programs or coursework in personal financial planning. Many of these finance professionals also choose to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree or another relevant master’s degree to advance their career, specialize in certain types of financial planning or increase their earning potential.


Most financial planners undergo some on-the-job training once they join a firm. They are taught the procedures and policies of the firm and may be guided by a senior-level financial planner.

Those financial planners who wish to become certified are required to get experience and training in financial planning before taking the certification exam. One way to do this is through an apprenticeship with a certified financial planner or relevant finance professional that typically lasts two years. These experiences offer hands-on experience in and observation of consulting on money management, savings plans and investments, learning the most effective strategies to best assist clients.


Some states require financial planners to earn licensure to sell securities, stocks, bonds, options, futures and other regulated financial products. These licenses include Series 6, 7, 63 and 65. These professionals can check their state’s requirements to earn these types of licensure, often by passing knowledge exams proctored by the North American Securities Administrators Association.

Related: 15 High Paying Weekend Jobs

Financial planners can choose to become certified to sell specific investment products, refine their skills and knowledge and become more desirable candidates to prospective employers and clients. One such certification is the Certified Financial Planner, which is offered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board). The pathway to certification includes education, experience, an examination and an ethics module. To apply to become a CFP, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree with coursework in financial planning. CFPs are also required to have three years of experience in financial planning before they can hold the title.


Financial planners need a variety of hard and soft skills, which can be developed through education and experience. To be a successful financial planner job candidate, acquire the following skills:


Financial planners create budgets, invest capital and make other choices related to finances, so they must be confident doing calculations with large sums of money. Comfort with math, money and basic accounting is essential.

Data analysis

Research is also central to a financial planner’s job. They track the latest statistics, changes and trends in financial markets and analyze that data to make well-informed decisions related that positively impact clients’ financial plans.


Financial planners often work with many different clients, all of whom are entrusting the planner with their financial security. Financial planners work hard to organize their schedules and compile comprehensive client files, including sensitive financial information. Some planners work with clients in different geographic locations who have a variety of financial needs. These professionals must keep each client file separate and secure.

Customer service

Financial planners must be able to gain and keep their clients’ trust to run a successful financial planning business or secure employment with a firm. To gain trust and build relationships, financial planners use customer service skills like active listening, empathy and kindness. They are also quick to update clients of any potential financial issues, changes or opportunities.


Financial planners are tasked with making plans, portfolios and budgets and then presenting them for clients to review. The stronger the presentation, the more likely a client is to happily agree to their financial planner’s suggestions. These professionals use sales techniques, effective public speaking and persuasion skills to provide clients the most attractive options.

Financial planner work environment

Financial planners usually work in office settings. They work in banks, credit unions, government agencies and corporate offices, while some work for individuals and families. Though they work in towns all over the world, there are a few things that almost any financial planner can expect out of their work environment:

  • Sitting down at a desk or table inside an office

  • Communicating with a set group of clients over the long term

  • Working with phones and computers, often typing up reports, conducting research, checking financial statistics and staying in contact with clients

  • Working full-time during Monday through Friday, with some positions requiring weekend hours, holiday hours and mobile availability

  • Traveling to meet clients, especially if the planner is an independent contractor

How to become a financial planner

If you’d like to become a financial planner, you can follow these steps:

  1. Pursue education. After completing a high school diploma or a GED, earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business or finance to gain the foundational knowledge often needed to become a financial planner.

  2. Gain experience. Before becoming certified, you will want to gain experience as a financial planner. Search for an apprenticeship, internship or entry-level position with a firm or bank.

  3. Become licensed. Some states require financial planners to become licensed to sell certain types of securities and investments. Check with your state’s requirements, and pursue the type of licenses you need to sell the investment products that interest you professionally.

  4. Earn a certification. You can also consider getting trained as a certified financial planner (CFP) and sitting for the exam. Becoming a CFP can allow you to sell certain investment products and prove your financial planning knowledge to prospective employers and clients.

  5. Build your resume. In your resume, include any educational credentials, licenses, certifications and experience you might have. You can use the language in the job description to better align your qualifications with the employer’s expectations.

Financial planner job description example

A local financial advisory group is searching for an experienced and certified financial planner to take on new clients at our downtown office. This professional must have at least five years of experience providing financial advice to a wide range of individuals and families. Our firm specializes in debt management, investments and personal budgets. The ideal candidate will possess a Series 65 license. Our client-focused group is hoping to hire a financial planner with flexible full-time availability. For the right candidate, this position offers the potential for career growth.

Leave a Comment