Personal Financial Advisors

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Also known as:
Certified Financial Planner, Estate Planner, Estate Planning Counselor, Financial Counselor, Individual Pension Adviser, Individual Pension Consultant, Personal Financial Advisor, Personal Financial Planner, Personal Investment Adviser

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ABOUT PERSONAL FINANCIAL ADVISOR CAREERS
Video transcript

Personal financial advisors are not just for the wealthy. Every working person can benefit from objective help with cash flow, savings, tax strategies, insurance coverage, investing for children's education, and retirement planning. This is a profession for people with good communication skills combined with an understanding of how business works.

You could work for an insurance company, a bank, a brokerage firm, or have your own business, but it is vital to understand the products you are guiding people to purchase. Your earnings could come from a commission on sales, salary, or fees paid by clients, or by a combination of these sources.

Business schools and college courses could get you started, or you can join a firm that offers training. You may need to study for and pass specific licensing exams to sell insurance, mutual funds, stocks, and bonds. Some of those licenses are administered by federal agencies, some by the state where you do business, so you should have a good idea of where you'd like to settle before getting the process rolling.

Financial advisors need to update themselves constantly on new services and tax laws that might be good for their clients, so this is a field that requires a lifetime of continuing education.

SNAPSHOT
Advise clients on financial plans using knowledge of tax and investment strategies, securities, insurance, pension plans, and real estate. Duties include assessing clients' assets, liabilities, cash flow, insurance coverage, tax status, and financial objectives. May also buy and sell financial assets for clients.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
MED
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Devise debt liquidation plans that include payoff priorities and timelines.

Meet with clients' other advisors, such as attorneys, accountants, trust officers, or investment bankers, to fully understand clients' financial goals and circumstances.

Recruit and maintain client bases.

Interview clients to determine their current income, expenses, insurance coverage, tax status, financial objectives, risk tolerance, or other information needed to develop a financial plan.

Monitor financial market trends to ensure that client plans are responsive.

Analyze financial information obtained from clients to determine strategies for meeting clients' financial objectives.

Recommend financial products, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or insurance.

Manage client portfolios, keeping client plans up-to-date.

Implement financial planning recommendations or refer clients to someone who can assist them with plan implementation.

Investigate available investment opportunities to determine compatibility with client financial plans.

Review clients' accounts and plans regularly to determine whether life changes, economic changes, environmental concerns, or financial performance indicate a need for plan reassessment.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Economics and Accounting Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Sales and Marketing Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
TOP SKILLS
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.