Careers in Financial Planning

Mary Gormandy White
finacial planning career

If you're interested in helping people make wise investment decisions, pursuing one of the different types of careers in financial planning might be a good option for you.

About Careers in Financial Planning

Individuals who work in the financial planning field help their clients make sound financial decisions. In order to provide sound investment guidance, those who work in the financial planning field must be knowledgeable about investment strategies and terminology, the current state of the financial markets, and more. Their jobs involve gathering and analyzing relevant financial information so they can provide clients with accurate information and solid recommendations.

Jobs in Financial Planning

There are many specialties within this profession. For example, some people who work in this field specialize in working with individuals and others focus their efforts on working with companies. Some primarily provide retirement planning services, while others concentrate on shorter-term investment strategies.

Financial Advisors

Individuals who work as financial advisors typically work one-on-one with individuals to help them accomplish their financial goals and objectives. Following an initial consultation, advisors work with clients on an ongoing basis to help them continue to make wise decisions regarding their investments. While some financial advisors work directly for investment companies, most are self employed independent investment professionals. They earn revenue in the form of commissions and fees associated with buying and selling various types of securities and insurance policies.

While different clients have varying needs, services typically provided by financial advisors include:

  • Estate planning
  • Investing to fund college for children
  • Retirement planning
  • General investing
  • Life insurance

Build a solid client base is essential for financial advisors. In addition to being knowledgeable about the financial industry, being a good sales person is essential to building a successful career as a financial advisor. People who work in this profession spend a significant amount of time networking and marketing their services through lectures, seminars, and other strategies.

Private Bankers

Many high net worth individuals seek assistance from private bankers rather than from financial advisors. Rather than working independently private bankers are employed directly by banking institutions. They are often are charged with the responsibility of directly managing the finances of their clients, in conjunction with other financial professionals who work for the same financial institution.

Private bankers work with clients who have investment strategies and needs that tend to be more aggressive than those of people who are focused primarily on saving money for retirement or finding a way to pay for college tuition for their children. Investors who work with private bankers often have impressive investment portfolios and are focused on generating a high rate of return on their investments.

Training for Careers in Financial Planning

To succeed in this field, it's generally necessary to have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in a related field. Many people study business, finance, or accounting in preparation for pursing this profession. A Master's degree in a related field can also be beneficial to individuals seeking careers in financial planning. Those who wish to distinguish themselves in this field often seek the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credential.

Depending on the types of services you offer, you will also likely be required to hold one or more advanced certification or licensure. If you sell life insurance, for example, you'll be required to have an insurance license in the state you operate in. If you will be marketing investment securities, you may be required to hold a Series 7, Series 63, or Series 66 license. Maintaining licensure and certification requires ongoing continuing education.

Careers in Financial Planning