Personal financial advisors review the financial needs of people and help them with investments, tax laws, and insurance decisions. Advisors help their clients recognize and plan for both long-range and short-range objectives. Advisors help clients plan for retirement, education expenses, and general investment decisions. Many also supply tax advice or sell insurance. Even though most planners offer advice on a wide assortment of topics, some specialize in areas such as retirement and estate planning or risk management (Personal Financial Advisors, 2009).
Personal financial advisors regularly work with a lot of clients and frequently must identify their own customers. A lot of personal financial advisors spend a great deal of their time advertising their services. A lot of advisors meet probable clients by giving seminars or by way of business and social networking. Identify clients and building a customer base is one of the most vital parts of becoming a successful financial advisor (Personal Financial Advisors, 2009).
Financial advisors initiate work with a client by setting up a conference. This is typically an in-person meeting where the advisor gets as much information as possible about the client's finances and goals. The advisor puts together a comprehensive financial plan that discovers trouble areas, makes proposals for enhancement, and selects suitable investments well-matched with the client's goals, feelings toward risk, and anticipation or need for investment returns. Advisors occasionally get advice from financial analysts, accountants, or lawyers in order to do their jobs (Personal Financial Advisors, 2009).
Financial advisors typically meet with established clients at least once a year to bring them up-to-date on possible investments and fine-tune their financial plan to any life changes, such as marriage, disability, or retirement. Financial advisors also answer peoples' questions concerning changes in benefit plans or the consequences of changing their job. Financial planners must inform their clients about risks and possible situations so that the clients don't have out of reach prospects (Personal Financial Advisors, 2009).
"A bachelor's or graduate degree is strongly preferred for personal financial advisors. Employers usually do not necessitate a specific field of study for personal financial advisors, but a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, economics, business, mathematics, or law provides good preparation for the occupation. Courses in investments, taxes, estate planning, and risk management are also helpful. Programs in financial planning are becoming more available in colleges and universities" (Personal Financial Advisors, 2009).
Personal financial advisors who directly buy or sell stocks, bonds, insurance policies, or specific investment advice need a mixture of licenses that varies based upon the things that are being sold. In addition to those licenses, smaller firms that administer clients' investments must be registered with state regulators, and larger firms must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Personal financial advisors who decide to sell insurance need licenses that are issued by State boards. State licensing board information and requirements for registered investment advisors are available from the North American Securities Administrator Association (Personal Financial Advisors, 2009).
Personal financial advisors must have strong math, analytical, and interpersonal skills. They need strong sales talent, including the ability to make a large group of customers feel comfortable. Personal financial advisor training stresses the dissimilar types of investors, and how to tailor advice to the investor's character. They need the competence to present financial concepts to clients in a way that can easily be understood. "Some advisors have experience in a related occupation, such as accountant, auditor, insurance sales agent, or broker. Private bankers may have formerly worked as a financial analyst and need to understand and make clear highly technical investment strategies and products" (Personal Financial Advisors, 2009).
Although not always required, certifications advance professional standing and are suggested by employers. Personal financial advisors may get the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credential. This certification, issued by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, requires three years of pertinent experience; the achievement of education requirements, including a bachelor's degree; passing an all-inclusive examination, and observance of a code of ethics. The exam tests ones knowledge of the financial planning process, insurance and risk management, worker benefits planning, taxes and retirement planning, and investment and estate planning. People are also required to have a working knowledge of debt management, planning liability, emergency fund reserves, and statistical modeling. "Personal financial advisors have several different paths to advancement. Those who work in firms may move into managerial positions. Others may choose to open their own branch offices for securities firms and serve as independent registered representatives of those firms" (Personal Financial Advisors, 2009).
Many personal financial advisors are licensed to directly buy and sell financial products, such as stocks, bonds, derivatives, annuities, and insurance products. Depending upon the contract they have with their clients, personal financial advisors may have their clients' consent to make decisions regarding the buying and selling of stocks and bonds.
Private bankers or wealth managers are personal financial advisors who work for people who have a lot of money to invest. Because they have so much capital, these clients bear a resemblance to institutional investors and approach investing differently from the general public. Private bankers manage portfolios for these people using the resources of the bank, including teams of financial analysts, accountants, lawyers, and other professionals. Private bankers sell these services to well-off individuals, usually spending most of their time working with a small number of clients. Private bankers generally directly manage their customers' money (Personal Financial Advisors, 2009).
The majority of personal financial advisors are paid on commission. While some bigger firms allow their advisors to draw a base salary when first starting out, most people in these positions work as independent contractors. Since a lot of these professionals set their own hours, salary ranges are very expansive. Part-time advisors usually make between $5,000 and $20,000 a year, while full time advisors can make well over $100,000 after several years of experience and a file of established clients. Financial Advisors can also work on a fee-only basis, which is favored by many customers seeking neutral advice. Advisors in these positions typically make between $40,000 and $80,000 a year, and report enjoying more schedule flexibility than those who work on commission (Financial Analysts & Personal Financial Advisors Salary, 2010).
Financial analysts are typically employed by large firms who work with corporate clients, and can anticipate their pay to be a mixture of salary and bonus. Most positions are full-time with starting pay around $35,000. These professionals frequently bring home much more than that, however, because of the bonus system at a lot of financial companies. Lower-level analysts characteristically bring home about $20,000 to $50,000 in bonus money, while analysts who go into management can expect to make much more (Financial Analysts & Personal Financial Advisors Salary, 2010).
Abilities that one needs to be successful at this job include:
The capability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
The aptitude to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
The talent to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not entail solving the problem, only distinguishing that there is a problem.
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
The ability to join pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions, including finding a relationship among apparently unrelated things.
The capability to speak clearly so others can understand.
The aptitude to apply general rules to precise problems to produce answers that make sense.
The ability to do basic math.
The capability to recognize and understand the speech of other people (Summary Report for: 13-2052.00 - Personal Financial Advisors, 2011).
Typically interview questions that are often asked when one interviews for a personal financial advisor position include:
1. "What qualifications and licenses do you hold?"
2. "How long do you work as a financial advisor and the firms you've worked for?"
3. "Describe the services you've offered."
4. "How many clients you've served, their average portfolio and the size of assets you have managed."
5. "Do you take continuing education classes for financial advising?"
6. "Tell about your past performance."
7. "Why did you choose this career?"
8. "What does it mean to be a financial advisor?"
9. "What are the skills that allow you to be a successful advisor?"
10. "How do you choose investments and how often you adjust portfolios?"
11. "Do you prepare a written plan for your clients?"
12. "Do you have a backup plan?"
13. "How do you make your client feel that you are someone to trust with their money?"
14. "Can you describe your ethical responsibility to a client regarding monetary risk?"
15. "Can you offer your budgeting practices concerning a retirement forecast?"
16. "How do you maintain your customer base?"
17. "Can you build a customer base from scratch?" (Financial Advisor: Interview Questions for Financial Advisors with Answers, 2009).