How do I Become an Independent Financial Planner?

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  • Written By: Elva K.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Financial planning involves the process of figuring out how people can manage their money and have sufficient money to meet their life needs. For instance, independent financial planners might help people with issues such as developing a budget, establishing adequate savings, tax planning, insurance needs, or planning for their retirement needs. If you aspire to become an independent financial planner, generally you will need a college degree and a certification.

Earning a college degree in economics or finance can be helpful if you wish to become an independent financial planner. Economics or finance degrees typically include courses in money management, economics, bond valuation, risk management, and tax planning. These types of courses are very relevant since the work that independent financial planners do involves mainly helping people with money-related matters.

Also, interviewing an independent financial planner while in college could be useful. Interviewing someone who is already working as a financial planner can help give you insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the career. Also, it will help you get a sense of whether you have the personality and skills to succeed as an independent financial planner.


Typically after completion of the bachelor's degree, you need to get a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification if you hope to become an independent financial planner. The CFP certification establishes that you are competent in your financial knowledge and establishes that you are very focused on your career in financial planning. Certification involves educational, experiential, exam, and ethics training aspects.

If you become an independent financial planner, meeting people who need financial planning services usually involves meeting them in person, either yearly or several times a year, to gather information about what's happening in their lives and their current financial needs. For instance, issues such as the presence of a new baby, a marriage, a divorce, health costs due to unanticipated health problems, or retirement needs are typical topics that are discussed. Also discussed are their general life goals, projected future financial needs, and whether they prefer conservative, high risk, or moderate risk investments. As an independent financial planner, you would get this information so you could design a financial plan that works for their particular wants and needs.

When it comes to money, many people feel the need for help and that is why individuals often feel grateful to their financial planner. Thus, financial planners can often derive extreme career satisfaction from directly helping others manage their money and achieve their life goals. If you wish to become an independent financial planner, another advantage is the fact that this career enables you to be your own boss. Of course, being your own boss requires that you must be very self motivated, responsible, and good at keeping records. Granted, if you are a hard worker, if you are self motivated, and if you are ambitious, being an independent financial planner could be a good career fit for you.



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