What does a financial adviser do?

Prospective students and working professionals may be intrigued by what a financial advisor does for a living. These industry professionals use their expertise in tax and investments, real estate and insurance to recommend financial plans to individuals.

Financial advisors assess a client’s assets, cash flows, and liabilities as well as their tax status and insurance coverage to develop financial goals. They also analyze financial data and ensure compliance with laws.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 5% job growth for financial advisors between 2020 and 2030.

The daily life of a financial advisor

Financial advisors should have expertise in basic math, personal finance, and research. Advisors can specialize in financial planning, insurance, and retirement, as well as stocks, real estate, and taxes.

Industry professionals may work for securities and commodities brokers, insurance companies, and financial institutions. While advising a client, financial advisers may collaborate with lawyers, accountants and life insurance representatives.

Financial advisors typically handle the following responsibilities:

  • Provide financial solutions
  • Build referral networks
  • Provide financial planning services
  • Comply with policies and regulations
  • Advise customers on product pros and cons
  • Review of client’s financial information for compliance
  • Apply sales tools to perform analysis and offer products
  • Partner with retail, wealth management and corporate banking
  • Research current and new investments and insurance solutions

Lifestyle of a Financial Advisor

Financial advisors review the client’s financial goals, convey investment options and risks, and create strategies to improve financial performance.

Industry professionals may work over 40 hours per week and meet with clients in the evenings and on weekends. With stock market fluctuations, financial advisors can experience stress. Industry professionals can work from home or remotely.

Financial advisors are expected to keep abreast of legislation and industry changes through ongoing education.

Salary expectations as a financial advisor

The median annual salary for financial advisors was over $89,000 in 2020. Many higher-paid professionals work in credit intermediation, insurance companies, and management firms and firms, as well as in securities, contracts commodities and other investment businesses.

What does it take to become a financial advisor?

Financial advisors are generally expected to have a four-year finance degree. A master’s degree in finance or a postgraduate license or certification can increase opportunities for career advancement.

Although most employers don’t require a specific specialization, degrees in economics, math, and business are helpful. Newly hired financial advisors typically go through more than a year of training with a senior advisor.

Although a tough crossover, career changers can enter the field with a bachelor’s degree. Career changers should consider enrolling in finance, estate planning, and risk management courses to prepare for their new role.

Working professionals can explore paid internship opportunities to gain experience. To become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), career professionals must complete a BFC board-registered program and pass an exam.

Financial advice is a competitive field. Advisors need to maintain a growth mindset to retain existing clients and maintain a competitive edge.

What skills do I need as a financial advisor?

Financial advisors need both professional and human skills to be successful. This role requires effective communication, negotiation and decision-making skills, as well as expertise in accounting, sales, business management and finance.

Industry professionals must be skilled in building relationships with customers, performing risk analysis, and researching the market for products and services. Financial advisors maintain an ethical and professional work approach while developing financial strategies.

  • To research
  • Equity analysis
  • Risk analysis
  • Financial planning
  • Financial and accounting techniques
  • Analytical thinking
  • Relationship building
  • Communication
  • Personal skills
  • Eye for details

In conclusion

Financial advice is a remarkable opportunity to educate clients on wealth building and risk management. Advisors help clients make informed market and investment decisions.

If you enjoy building relationships, taking on challenges, and striving to achieve an end goal, consider a career in financial consulting.

This article has been reviewed by Lizzette Matos, CPA

Lizette Matos, a woman with long black hair, smiles at the camera.

Lizzette Matos is a Certified Public Accountant in New York State. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting from New York University. Matos began her career at Ernst & Young, where she audited a diverse set of companies, primarily in consumer products, media and entertainment. She has worked in the private sector as an accountant for law firms and ITOCHU Corporation, an international conglomerate that manages over 20 subsidiaries and affiliates. Matos keeps abreast of changes in the accounting industry through training courses.

Lizzette Matos is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Independent Reviewers Network.

This page was last revised on January 17, 2022.

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