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How do I Become a Retirement Financial Advisor?

By Mandi Rogier
Updated May 17, 2024
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A retirement financial advisor is a specialized consultant who assists members of the senior community in saving and investing their money in order to properly fund their lifestyle once they are no longer working. This type of consultant is simply a personal financial advisor who has chosen to specialize in the field of retirement planning. Many general personal financial advisors assist with retirement planning in addition to their other financial services.

To become a retirement financial advisor, you will first need to acquire a bachelor's degree. Fields such as finance, business, and accounting are especially useful in this career. Your college courses should cover investments, estate planning, and taxes to best prepare you for a career in financial planning. Some colleges now offer specialized degree programs for financial planners.

If you want to become a retirement financial advisor capable of buying and selling stocks, bonds, or insurance policies for clients as a part of your services, you will need to be licensed to do. In North America, the North American Securities Administrator Association (NASAA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can provide specific information on the types of licensing an individual or firm will need. In the US, requirements vary by state.

Additional certifications can also be useful in your quest to become a retirement financial advisor. These will prove to your clients that you are a reputable professional who stays current in the ever-changing field of financial planning. For example, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards offers credentialing as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®). To obtain this credential, you must have a minimum of three years of qualifying experience, complete the required educational courses, pass an examination and background check, and pay certification fees.

Another useful credential to become a retirement financial advisor is the Society of Certified Retirement Financial Advisors™ (CRFA®) certification. To obtain this certification, you must have at least two years of experience or equivalent training in the fields of insurance, tax planning and preparation, and the investment industry. You must also have a working knowledge of trusts as they apply to those planning for retirement. Once you have met these qualifications, you can apply to take the CRFA® test to receive your certification.

While proper education and certification will help you get established as a retirement financial planner, success in this field will require a continuing effort to stay up to date on trends and news in the areas of financial planning, economics, and tax laws. Staying up to date on these issues will make you an invaluable tool to your clients.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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