How to Become a Financial Planner: a Complete Guide

Have you ever thought of taking up financial planning as your career? Are you interested in accounting and business? Well, you would easily relate to this article, then. This is a sign to kick off a new chapter of your life.?.

Financial planners play a very important role in helping people achieve their financial goals in life. With their money-saving strategies and wise choices, they make handling money easier✅. 

This article will take you through a long journey of understanding what financial planning is all about. Let’s go?.

Who is a financial planner?

A financial planner helps people manage their finances and achieve long-term financial targets. With a thorough understanding of personal finance, taxing, and budgeting, they use their expertise in certain aspects of finance to help their clients. 

Most financial planners get their clients from a specific age group, like young people who have just started working or old people who have retired and need help handling their savings. 

A financial planner has to provide guidance and assistance to their clients on a large variety of financial aspects, from investments to savings to funding for a special cause. The goal is to manage one’s finances while preserving their economic assets.

Let us have a look at the possible income of a financial planner?. 

How much can a financial planner earn??

According to, a financial planner can earn about $60,000 every year in the US, with a basic salary range from $38,000 to $110,000. Besides, they also receive remunerations in the form of bonus payments, profit shares, and commissions.

The average bonus received by a financial planner is around $2000 to $30,000 per year. So, the total pay received stands at $40,000 to $1,40,000 every year.

Obviously, the salary amount depends on the experience level of financial planners. While an experienced one earns around 40% above average, a beginner will earn around 20% below average. Those will investment expertise earn 6% above average✅.

How to Become a Financial Planner? (Tips)

In this section, we discuss the important steps you would have to follow to begin your career as a financial planner.

Get a bachelor’s degree.

If you are aspiring to become a financial planner, get your bachelor’s degree in finance or any other field related to what you want to do. Some common subjects are accounting, business, economics, and finance.

Do internships.

The next step would be to apply for internships at financial companies to gather experience in selling stocks, bonds, mutual funds, policies, etc. During this phase, you will probably work with professional financial planners and learn about standard functioning methods, how to create expert investment portfolios, and deal with clients. 

Doing internships primarily provides you with the experience you’ll need while applying for a proper job later.

Get required certifications and licenses.

This will depend on your location and the services you plan to provide to your clients. Let us look at a list of popular financial planner certifications you might consider:

Certified financial planner (CFP)

Awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, it is a long course, passes an examination, and has at least 2-3 years of experience.

Certified fund specialist (CFS)

Awarded by the Institute of Business & Finance issues, it helps students exhibit their understanding of mutual funds. Every student has to go through an individual study program and pass the final test.

Chartered financial consultant (ChFC)

Awarded by the American College of Financial Services, this certification primarily focuses on financial planning methods. There are a number of courses and comprehensive tests that students must complete to own it, and they must also possess at least 2-3 years of experience. 

Certified investment management analyst (CIMA)

Awarded by the Investments & Wealth Institute, it primarily focuses on investment consulting and professional portfolio management. Pass an exam and meet experience requirements.

Certified public accountant (CPA)

Awarded by the Board of Accountancy of a student’s individual state, this certification allows students to gain extensive knowledge of tax-related studies. Students must pass the CPA test to achieve it.

There are various roles when you choose to take up financial planning as your career. Based on these different roles, you might have to apply for other license tests. For instance, if you are planning to set up your independent financial planning enterprise, you must pass the Series 65 or 66 tests and get yourself registered as per the regulations outlined by the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. 

Search for your first job.

If you can start your career in the financial planning industry at a renowned broker-dealer, you will eventually acquire important skills and methods like cold-calling and business book building. Also, managing investments is always better than dealing with clients. As Bender says, “If you think you want to go the financial planning route, then a small to midsize firm that focuses on full service.”

Irrespective of where you begin your career, it is very important to find an employer who ensures on-the-job training and guidance to all new financial planners. You must also look out for a mentor who can guide you well. It’s an added advantage if you work with a professional enterprise. 

You can contact the mentorship program offered by the CFP Board to connect with experienced mentors.

Education Requirements To Be A Financial Planner

As already stated, anyone planning to pursue a career as a financial planner must possess at least a bachelor’s degree. Many employers search for candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in subjects like accounting, economics, business, or law. 

Financial planners must complete courses in tax management, investment planning, or risk management. Candidates will not receive required financial planner certifications if they don’t have a bachelor’s degree.

The CFP exam is optional, but studying for it will train candidates in finance and accounting coursework. A master’s degree in the above-mentioned fields helps them easily qualify for professional job scopes and better salaries✅. 

Years of Experience Required To Be A Financial Planner

The most important requisite of becoming a financial planner is the CFP certification. Students applying for it must possess a bachelor’s degree and complete financial planning courses through a CFP Board Registered program. Most importantly, they must have completed at least 6000 hours of professional expertise related to the field or 4000 hours of apprenticeship expertise that qualifies secondary criteria. 

Obtaining the CFA accreditation because it requires 4-5 years of rigorous experience and three tough examinations✅.

Responsibilities of a Financial Planner

In this section, we will take a glance at the various responsibilities of a professional financial planner:

Handling finances

A financial planner analyses their client’s financial health by assessing their income and expenses, assets, and liabilities. With the acquired information, they identify the appropriate scopes and help them handle finances accordingly. 

Also, they provide guidance while filing taxes and understanding economic policy changes. All complex matters related to finance must be explained simply to clients.

Developing financial plans

 A financial planner develops long-term and short-term plans based on a client’s financial profile. Monthly and yearly budgets are made, investment scopes are identified, and proper measures are taken to ensure a secure future. 

Financial planners are a very important factor, especially in retirement planning. Retiring people can have guidance regarding what retirement plans are best and available and how they can invest accordingly. 

Be well-informed about the current financial scenario.

A financial planner’s most important duty is to stay up-to-date with the latest financial developments, policies, and techniques to handle money more smartly and efficiently. 

When they are familiar with the knowledge, they can recommend their clients the best options available. Financial planners understand how fiscal policies and fiscal situations directly impact tax policies and budgets.  

Provide assistance when a crisis comes up.

There are chances of accidents, sudden death or illness, or permanent financial loss in all of our lives. So, during such tough times, only an efficient financial planner can guide their clients about how to handle emergencies effortlessly, provide them with advice regarding finance management, and develop impromptu plans to assure the financial safety of their clients. 

Also, if someone is planning to start a family soon or get married, they must consult with a financial planner.

Tips to Improve Your Career As A Financial Planner

There are certain qualities that you must acquire if you want to become a successful financial planner with professional skills and great experience. Let us glance at some useful tips:

Passionate about the field

An efficient financial planner must be absolutely passionate about financial planning and wealth management so that they always have a clear understanding of the constantly evolving financial standards, techniques, laws, and services. 

Having unending passion helps aspiring candidates naturaly gravitate towards a further deep understanding of the industry. 

Great analytical capability

Financial planning comprises a wide variety of aspects and factors. Cash flow and retirement planning, managing investments and insurance. Tax filing-these are some important fields every competent financial planner would have to help their clients with. So, having a deep analytical power in all of these aspects is very important. ⚡️

Only a financial planner who understands how the risk and return connection governs almost all aspects of financial planning can be called efficient. As financial goals change, they might have to structure investment portfolios and reallocate assets accordingly. 

Analyzing standard deviation, strategic asset allocation, and drawdown is crucial for financial planners.

Professional selling skills

This is probably the most important skill that a financial planner must acquire because they cannot thrive without the growth of their book of business. The spectrum of financial planning is quite broad, and they must sell their services effectively. 

Also, the services or products should not just be for the sake of sale; they must be genuinely useful to clients.

Nevertheless, salesmanship is crucial. All financial planners have to communicate with clients regarding the financial arrangements in developing consequent plans and finding a solution to critical issues. 

Client Needs First

An efficient financial planner always puts the best interests of their clients first. They agree upon the fact that their financial interests should align with that of their clients to avoid tough spots. ????

Selling any unnecessary service, like an insurance policy with extra coverage, to a client is unethical.

Having a curious mind

The work of a financial planner is almost equivalent to a detective because they have to uncover their client’s financial necessities precisely. Attention to detail and finding comprehensive solutions to cortical issues are important skills of a financial planner. 

So, they must be curious and efficient enough to accept the challenge and enjoy the process✅. 

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Last but not least, search engine optimization places you at the top of Google search results for a number of keywords, even outside your local zone. Ranking higher in Google means you will experience more traffic to your website. 

Some aspects of financial planner SEOs include keyword research, on-page optimization, and link creation. 

Top Schools To Study Financial Planning in the United States


American College is probably the nation’s biggest non-profit educational institute dedicated to financial services and educates a huge number of planners every year. It has working partnerships with numerous banks, insurance enterprises, and brokerage firms.


California Lutheran University offers the latest MBA program in the US that primarily focuses on financial planning. They mainly tend to educate seasoned expert students. More than 80% of students enroll for this course online, and most of them even have CFP certifications already.


College for Financial Planning was founded in 1972 and has great historical value. It offers facilities like distance education, full-time and certificate courses. The courses include financial planning aspects like retirement planning, portfolio assessment, and economic analysis. 


Kansas State University registered its undergraduate program in financial planning in 1993. The university mainly looks out for leading professionals in the field. The courses cover a wide variety of topics, from finance therapy to client interaction.


University of Missouri has the oldest departmental financial planning program in the US. It now offers certificate and degree tracks, even a Ph.D. They primarily focus on purely theoretical finance, which is somewhat set apart from the financial requirements of the real world.

Top Online Courses To Become A Financial Planner in the United States

Let us have a glance at the top online financial planning courses that aspiring students can avail of?: 

The Financial Services Certified Professional® (FSCP®) course provides students with an in-depth understanding of products and services and marketing and planning techniques available to all professional financial planners. This course will help them attain the practical knowledge and skill set essential for a successful and ethical career in the future.✅.

The Certified Financial Planner course helps students achieve their primary goal of passing the CFP examination with an industry-oriented learning methodology and the most efficient in-class study elements, along with ethics and CE credits. The best part is that students can stay on track all the time and decide when they want to finish the program.✅.

The Financial Planning Certificate Program (SFPC) is a non-credit program that caters to the unending demand among professional financial planners to receive the CFP certification. The six courses offered in this program include the basic principles of financial planning, for example, insurance, investment, taxes, and estate planning✅.

Where to find a financial planner job opportunity online?

Let us look at a list of online scopes for prospective financial planners and wrath managers to find jobs?. 

Automated appointment funnel

Using an automated appointment funnel is the best way to get premium sales meetings and interact with clients who would work with you. There are five parts of such a funnel- the opt-in, video, application, schedule, and call confirmation pages.

Automated lead generation software

If you want to save time generating leads for your job search, using lead generation software is the most viable option. There are various tools like 

LinkedIn Outreach

One of the most preferred social media for financial planners is LinkedIn. With over 600 million members, it is a very powerful channel where you can use automation tools to find clients looking for professional financial planners. Although, for beginners, the more recommendable platform would be Meet Alfred.

Google Business Profile

If you can get yourself a verified Google Business profile, your name will start appearing in local Google search results. This ensures better exposure to your services and more clients who need professional advice.

Key Takeaways

To sum up, becoming a financial planner takes hard work and determination, but it is totally worth it. Once you’ve mastered the basic aspects like accounting and taxes and done a few internships, you will be ready to soar high and become a professional and efficient financial planner✅. 

Following your life goal and then achieving success is a very special feeling. Wish you all the best for your journey ahead!?. 

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