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How do I Become a Financial Planner?

Carol Francois
Carol Francois

In order to become a financial planner, there are four steps that you must complete: post-secondary education, experience, certification and licensing. All these steps are required to work as a financial planner. A financial planner is someone who is responsible for helping individuals with their investments and long term financial plans. This can include education funds, early retirement or the purchase of stocks and bonds.

The type of post-secondary education recommended to become a financial planner range from a three-year diploma in financial management or accounting from a community or career college to a degree in accounting from a university. The vast majority of financial planners have an educational background in accounting or finance. It can be very helpful when trying to understand financial concepts and provides assurances to clients that you have a certain amount of knowledge in the field.

Financial planners help clients plan for retirement.
Financial planners help clients plan for retirement.

Practical experience that is helpful when you become a financial planner includes customer service, financial officer, accountant and working for an investment firm. All these experiences combine client services and financial information. Many financial planners also obtain public speaking and presentation skills to increase their skill set.

Most financial planners are employed by a large finical or investment firm. These firms often required employees to complete a customized course in their product offering, client management, portfolio balancing and long term investment strategies. These courses are provided free of charge, but successful completion is usually a requirement for continued employment.

Some states have licensing requirements for everyone who wants to become a financial planner. Check with your local state government for information about the education requirements, examinations and licensing fees. The purpose of these licenses is to reassure customers that their money will be properly invested and managed.

Financial planners who open a private practice are usually Certified Public Accountants (CPA) who have added financial planning to their skill set. There are many factors to consider before opening a private practice. Resources, support and funding are all important items that have a direct impact on the long term viability of this type of company.

Attracting clients may present another challenge, as there are always concerns about fraud artists and others who steal their clients' money. Provide supporting documentation and references from well respected firms and clients to reassure potential customers. Obtain sufficient business insurance to protect clients and create promotional material to let people know that you are available to provide this service.

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    • Financial planners help clients plan for retirement.
      By: Kurhan
      Financial planners help clients plan for retirement.