Personal Financial Advisors Overview

A bachelor’s degree is extremely important for personal financial advisors. Strong analytical, math, and interpersonal skills are also important for personal financial advisors. Many personal financial advisors are self-employed as there is growing competition for high paying personal financial advisor positions.

Nature of the Work for Personal Financial Advisors

Personal Financial Advisors

Personal financial advisors can help clients create plans for short and long-term goals in terms of their financial needs such as investments and insurance decisions as well as assisting them with tax laws. A personal financial advisor can help a client with education expenses, plan for retirement or any other general investments. Some personal financial advisors will also sell insurance or give tax advice.

Many personal financial advisors must find their own customers and wok with many clients at one time. Marketing services are important for personal financial advisors who must also give seminars or network socially in order to meet new clients. An important aspect of a personal financial advisor’s job is to build a customer base.

A consultation is the initial part of the process when a personal financial advisor works with a client. This in-person meeting will involve creating a financial plan that can help a client with recommended improvements, investments or any identifiable problems. Some personal financial advisors will seek advice from other lawyers, accountants or financial analysts.

Established clients will usually meet with their personal financial advisors once a year to adjust their financial plan or potential investments. Life changes such as marriage or retirement can occur, making this meeting crucial in order to educate their clients about any risks that can occur due to such changes.

Some personal financial advisors can buy and sell financial products with a license. Such products include bonds, stocks, derivatives, insurance products and annuities. Some personal financial advisors can make decisions on the buying and selling of stocks and bonds for their client if given permission from the client.

Personal financial advisors who work with those who have a lot of money to invest are known as wealth managers or private bankers. These people can manage an individual’s portfolio using the bank, accountants and, financial analysts as resources.

The work environment for a personal financial advisor can either be an office or their home. Though most personal financial advisors work standard business hours, many have to schedule meetings with clients at night or on the weekend. Some personal financial advisors also hold seminars or teach classes in the evening. Traveling can also be a large part of the job for those who attend conferences, meet with clients or go to training sessions.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Personal Financial Advisors

A bachelor’s degree is required for personal financial advisors while many also obtain a master’s degree in finance or business administration. Some personal financial advisors also obtain a professional designation.

A bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, accounting, mathematics, business or law is usually preferred by employers, even though personal financial advisors do not need to have their degree in a specific field. Courses in estate planning, risk management and investments are also helpful for personal financial advisors.

A license is required for personal financial advisors who directly buy or sell bonds, insurance policies or stocks. Smaller firms that manage investments for clients must be registered with state regulators while larger firms need to be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Math, analytical and interpersonal skills are important for personal financial advisors. The ability to make people feel comfortable as well as working in sales is also important for personal financial advisors. Being able to present financial concepts in a way clients can understand is also important.

Many employers recommend that their personal financial advisors receive certification. A credential known as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is issued by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and requires a bachelor’s degree, 3 years of relevant work experience and passing an exam. The exam will test the individual’s knowledge of employee benefits planning, insurance and risk managements as well as other concepts.

Advancement for personal financial advisors can include moving up to managerial positions for those who work in firms while others may open up their own offices and firms.

Top 10 Most Popular Finance Schools

1. University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
2. University of Illinois, Urbana, Champaign (Champaign, Illinois)
3. DePaul University (Chicago, Illinois)
4. Florida International University (Miami, Florida)
5. University of Florida (Gainesville, Florida)
6. University of Central Florida (Orlando, Florida)
7. New York University (New York, New York)
8. Tulane University (New Orleans, Louisiana)
9. Texas A & M University (College Station, Texas)
10. Pace University, New York (New York, New York)

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Top 10 Most Popular Online Finance Schools

1. University of Phoenix - Online School
2. Purdue University Global
3. Ashworth College - Online School
4. DeVry University - Online School
5. University of Arizona Global Campus
6. South University’s Online programs
7. American InterContinental University - Online School
8. Saint Leo University Online
9. Colorado Technical University - Online School
10. ITT Technical Institute Online

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Employment and Job Outlook for Personal Financial Advisors

Number of People in Profession


Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to grow much faster than average (increase 20% or more).

Many personal financial advisor jobs can be found in cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, and Florida. Over half of personal financial advisors work in finance and insurance industries while others work for small investment firms or are self-employed.

The growing number of people expected to retire will increase the need for personal financial advisors. The baby boom generation is beginning to enter into retirement years meaning personal financial advisors will be needed to help with personal investments. Personal financial advisors are also needed in companies that are replacing their pension plans with retirement savings programs.

The need for private bankers and wealth managers will also grow due the growing assets of many rich individuals.

High wages also attract people to personal financial advisor jobs which create a lot of competition in the job market. Those with a college degree and a strong background in sales will have the best opportunities.

Earnings and Salary for Personal Financial Advisors

Median annual wages of wage and salary personal financial advisors are $68,200. The middle 50 percent earn between $44,760 and $116,580.

Those working for financial services firms may also receive a salary plus bonus. Charging a percentage of the client’s assets as well as charging hourly fees is also a way personal financial advisors can earn money. Personal financial advisors can also receive commission for any products they may sell.

Annual Salary for Personal Financial Advisors

On average, Personal Financial Advisors earn $68,200 per year.

10% 25% 75% 90% $33,790/yr $44,760/yr $116,580/yr $166,400/yr

Hourly Wage for Personal Financial Advisors

On average, Personal Financial Advisors earn $32.79 per hour.

10% 25% 75% 90% $16.25 $21.52 $56.05 $80.00

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook