How do I Become an Independent Financial Advisor?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2018
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An independent financial advisor is a person who advises his clients on financial matters in exchange for payment. An individual who pursues this career essentially provides advice for the benefit of his clients rather than attempting to earn commissions from one particular financial company or being affiliated with one specific brokerage. There is no set level of education a person needs to become an independent financial advisor. Often, however, a person interested in this career seeks a college degree in a finance-related field. In fact, holding at least a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a finance-related field may help an individual to gain the confidence of his potential clients.

When some individuals and businesses have to make financial decisions, they may turn to a professional for help. An independent financial advisor helps his clients make the best possible financial decisions. For example, a person in this field may help a client invest with the goal of having a more secure retirement or providing income for his loved ones after he is gone. He may also advise business clients on investments and steps to take to ensure solid growth of their businesses, build stability, and meet other goals. An individual with this title isn't affiliated with just one financial company; he can usually offer his clients access to financial products from a range of companies.


An individual who wants to become an independent financial advisor usually completes high school in preparation for this career. After high school, an individual interested in this field may go on to college and earn a degree in a finance-related field. For example, a person who wants to pursue this career may earn a degree in finance or accounting. A business or statistics degree may prove helpful as well.

A person who wants to become an independent financial advisor may also consider getting an associate’s degree, as he may be able to earn this credential in as little as two years. Since there are no set educational standards, opting for this type of degree may not completely hinder him from getting clients or finding a job. A person usually has a better chance for success if he has earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree, however.

A person who wants to become an independent financial advisor, regardless of his level of education, needs to have a firm grasp of accounting processes and methods of financial analysis. He should also be knowledgeable about business budgeting. An individual in this field usually needs to be an above-average problem solver and have good math and computer skills. Additionally, an individual who wants to become an independent financial advisor typically needs good interpersonal skills, as he’ll have a great deal of interaction with clients.

Licensing requirements may vary, depending on the jurisdiction in which a person wants to become an independent financial advisor. Gaining certification, which may require an aspiring advisor to pass exams, may boost a person’s chances for success in this career. Additionally, an individual who will trade investment instruments on behalf of his clients may need special licensing.



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