How Do I Start a Financial Planning Business?

Whitney Leigh White
Whitney Leigh White
Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

There are no educational requirements to start your own financial planning business, but it is helpful to obtain a degree in finance or economics. Make sure to check with your local government to determine what business licenses you need to acquire and to identify any zoning restrictions that affect where your business can be located. No matter where you choose to operate your business — at home or an office — make sure that you have a proper area for client meetings. To avoid a financial catastrophe in this line of work, it is also important that you purchase errors and omissions insurance. Starting your own financial planning business also involves several other steps, including setting up a business phone line, purchasing business cards, and more.

A bachelor’s degree in a finance-related field provides you with creditability and will help to draw clients to your business. If you choose to not acquire a degree, you should still consider taking a few courses in risk management, investments, and taxes. You may also want to take courses that improve your problem-solving, mathematical, and analytical skills because these are essential fundamentals in operating a financial planning business. Furthermore, if you live in the United States, you should obtain certification as a Certified Financial Planner by taking and passing an exam through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

To operate a financial planning business, it is likely that you will need to obtain certain types of licenses. These licenses vary according to the geographical location in which you offer your services, so make sure to check with your local government to determine the exact types that you need. Some areas do not require you to register your business name when working solely by yourself. Most places, however, do require you to register your business if you hire employees to work for you. If you plan on selling financial products such as annuities and/or mutual funds, you will also need to purchase the appropriate licenses to do so.

Even though much of your work as a financial planner can be done out of your home, you should have an office location to meet with clients. The office can be at your home, but make sure that it and any areas that clients have to walk through have a professional appearance. If you do not prefer a home-office, there are many companies that offer office-rentals, which allow you to rent an office on a full- or part-time basis.

To help to market a financial planning business to the public, there are several small steps that you can take. You should always provide the public and your clients with a business phone line on which to contact you. Preferably, in the US, this line should be a toll-free number. To help market your business to clients, hand out business cards and create a website. Since so many consumers search the Internet for products and services, it is best to outsource the creation of your website to an experienced website designer as well.

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