How do I Become an Independent Financial Advisor?

N. Madison
N. Madison

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.

Independent financial advisors guide clients in financial matters.
Independent financial advisors guide clients in financial matters.

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.

Independent financial advisors may look at a monthly list of expenses to advise people on where money can be saved.
Independent financial advisors may look at a monthly list of expenses to advise people on where money can be saved.

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.

An independent financial advisor may advise her clients on steps to take to ensure that their business continues to grow.
An independent financial advisor may advise her clients on steps to take to ensure that their business continues to grow.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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