Personal Financial Advisors Career

Here is an extensive career guide that elaborates on the career path of Personal Financial Advisors , the job outlook, salaries, qualifications required and much more.

Updated by Rakshitha.N on 27th August 2020

What do they do: Personal financial advisors are professionals who address the client's financial goals and suggestive options and plans to investments, retirement plans, insurance, and transactions.

Working environment: The working conditions of a financial advisor is that they work indoors in an office setting for a schedule of 40 hours a week. Often travel to various locations to build a network and meet clients. 

How to become: A financial advisor requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance or a related major. Earning a Master’s degree increases earning potential and an advanced career as it is preferred by most employees. 

Salary offered: The salary for a personal financial advisor is about $264,855 and can range anywhere between $53,271 and $476,438 annually. 

Career Outlook: The job growth of the personal financial advisor’s career is about 7 percent during the period of 2018 to 2028 as estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Similar careers: By meeting the qualification for a personal advisor one can look up to other alternative career opportunities that align with your skills, interests, goals, and potentials. 

Top Personal Financial Advisor Jobs

Chief Financial Officer:

A Chief Financial Officer is responsible for strategizing the financial functions which include accounting, budget, credit, insurance, tax, and treasury. The organization’s financial principles are controlled and supported by business strategy with applicable laws and regulations. With high responsibility and financial goals to achieve, the average salary offered is about $382,401.

Financial Reporting Director:

A Financial director directs and manages the preparation and distribution of financial statements for the company’s use. Also, their duties include reporting, filings, and documenting the regulations, professional standards, and SEC and GAAP reporting guidelines. Ensures the transaction was accurate and manages the trends of changes. The average salary offered is about $140,568.

Financial Reporting Manager:

A Financial Manager is one who manages the financial reporting. They also manage and oversee financial records and documents based on standards. Also, the report to the management about the performance. A bachelor’s degree in Accounting or Finance is necessary for this profession. The salary offered for this role is about $120,630.

What do Personal Financial Advisors Do?

A Personal financial advisor is one who addresses the clients or organizations with advice on investments, insurance, mortgages, college savings, estate planning, taxes, and retirement to yield positive outcomes and manage their finances. Also, they analyze the risks, uncertainties, and manage the decisions taken during investments and transactions. The roles and responsibilities of financial advisors include,

  • Meet various clients and organizations to understand their business and financial goals

  • Help the client to understand the financial functions and operations

  • Educate clients on various circumstances, retirements, and expenses. 

  • Analyze the client goals and figure out the investment options and potential risks

  • Address their queries and help in making better decisions 

  • Explain the types of financial services they provide to potential clients

  • Provide options with recommendation on investment 

  • Oversee the client’s accounts to determine the areas of improvement. 

  • Assess the financial need of the clients and advice on what can be changed

  • Help clients plan for short- and long-term goals

  • Actively participate in social networking and business events.

  • Involve directly in buying and selling financial products, such as stocks, bonds, annuities, and insurance.

  • Collaborate with Financial analysts, accountants, and professionals to effectively use resources and work. 

Working Conditions of Personal Financial Advisors

Personal financial advisors usually work in indoor office settings. However, they often travel to various locations to meet clients, attend business events, conferences, finance seminars, and networking events. 

The working environments can be elaborated in detail as follows,

  • Have a high level of social interaction where they mostly work through networking and address diverse clients

  • The mode of communication is through face-to-face discussions or telephone, e-mail, and also memos, reports, and others. 

  • Work indoors in an office setting, travel to various locations for business purpose

  • Monitor the work of assistants and usually share their workspace.

  • May work in a team or an individual

  • Accuracy is necessary where a small error can cause high loss to the client

  • Working a fixed schedule of 40 hours a week regardless of evenings, holidays, or weekends.

  • Can work overtime to meet the deadline as the competition is massive in the field. 

Today, Financial advisors work to hold a total of 271,700 positions and the largest employers who hire them,

  • Securities, commodity contracts, other financial investments, and related activities: 54%

  • Self-employed workers: 25%

  • Credit intermediation and related activities: 11%

  • Insurance carriers and related activities: 4%

  • Management of companies and enterprises: 2%

How to Become a Personal Financial Advisor?

To become a Personal financial advisor, one must acquire a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a business-related major. To get employed at an organization or to become self-employed you must choose to earn a master’s degree to deepen your knowledge and address the issues better. Specializing in certain areas of financial planning will help better in gaining other designations and meeting your career goals. 

After completing your education you must then get trained for a job through training programs. Experience is valuable and advances your career as you learn under experienced senior advisors. Next is to earn a license by taking up the Certified Financial Planner Certification Examination which helps in becoming a Certified Financial Advisor. 

Educational requirements for Personal Financial Advisors

Personal financial advisors must meet the education requirement to become qualified. The minimum requirements are to earn a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, accounting, business, mathematics, or the law. However, an alternate option for a degree to complete a course of study on investments, taxes, estate planning, and risk management. 

A bachelor’s degree is a 4 years program that offers about 20 credits to complete coursework on a survey of finance, principles of investment, financial institution of management, computer modeling of finance application, and others.

A master’s degree is an advanced level of education where you get wide knowledge of specialization and courses such as derivatives and risk management, financial math programming, qualitative finance, and corporate finance and others. 

An online degree in finance or accounting is also a great affordable option that offers diverse courses with a flexible study schedule. 

Licenses and Certifications for Personal Financial Advisor

Obtaining a license and becoming a certified Personal financial advisor will allow you to be legally involved in buying or selling stocks, bonds, or insurance policies based on state regulations and the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

To get certified, you must complete your education requirements and then gain experience through internships, training programs under experienced certified advisors. The duration for the experience must be a minimum of 3 years, then pass the certification exam known as Certified Financial Planner Certification Examination and agree to adhere to a code of ethics.

The exam usually covers relevant concepts such as general principles of financial planning, insurance planning, risk management, employee benefits planning, income taxes, and retirement planning, investment and real estate planning, debt management, planning liability, emergency fund reserves, and statistical modeling


There are a number of certifications by organizations such as the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) which you can take upon completion of education, training, and clearing the exam. They are,

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)

  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

  • Securities licenses

  • Insurance licenses

Gaining a license in these specialties allows you to sell insurance however if you are focused on investing, you must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a Registered Investment Advisor.

Stand Out Skills for Personal Financial Advisor

Analytical skills: Personal advisors need to analyze the client’s business goals and functioning to suggest investment, insurance, and other options. By evaluating the business information, economic trends, regulatory changes, and the client's comfort you can help in giving options to improve business by making suitable decisions. 

Technical skills: Being technically sound and acquiring diverse skills helps in working better and improving one’s capabilities. Computer knowledge is necessary. 

Communication skills: improving your written and oral communication skills help in conveying the plans and suggestive ideas better. Writing reports, and modeling the plans require good writing skills. Also, effective communication will help in approaching people and building connections. 

Decision making: after analyzing the situation, you must be good to make suitable decisions. Your decisions can make or break the business and hence this skill is critical. 

Interpersonal skills: building interpersonal skills like management, leadership, planning, and other help in making clients feel comfortable. His inturn makes a positive impact which results in your work. 

Top University Programs for Personal Financial Advisors 

  • The College for Financial Planning

  • Boston University

  • Kansas State University

  • University of California, Los Angeles Extension

  • University of California, Irvine

  • Depaul University

  • California Lutheran University

  • University of Florida

Personal Financial Advisors Salary

In 2020, the average salary offered for a Financial Advisor in the United States is about $264,855 and can range anywhere between $53,271 and $476,438 where it depends on your skills, qualification, network, experience, certification, and other factors. 

Breaking down the salary offered,

  • 10th percentile: $53,271

  • 25th percentile: $135,427

  • 50th percentile (median): $264,855

  • 75th percentile: $397,281

  • 90th percentile: $476,438

To elaborate, the top industries for financial advisors and the median wage paid by them are listed below,

  • Securities, commodity contracts other financial investments and related activities: $95,540

  • Management of companies and enterprises: $85,150

  • Credit intermediation and related activities: $76,590

  • Insurance carriers and related activities: $71,280

The salary of a self-employed individual may vary based on one’s network and ability to assess clients.

Job Growth of Personal Financial Advisors

The job growth of a personal financial advisor career is estimated by the Bureau of labor statistics to be about 7 percent during the period of 2018 to 2028 which is faster than the growth of other occupations. 

The employment opportunities for financial advisers were about 271,700 in 2018 and are expected to drastically rise over 290,800 to in 2028 which means there are 19,100 additional opportunities created over the 10 years. 

The primary source for increased demand is due to the growing population and need for retirement plans which need the assistance of personal financial advisors. 

The advisors intervene to replace the traditional pension plans with retirement accounts which helps in saving for the future. Also the advent of "Robo-advisors," computer programs which provide for automated investment solutions. 

Related Careers for Personal Financial Advisors

Budget Analyst:

Median Salary: $58,113

The budget analyst is one who determines the budget required for completion of the project after a suitable cost analysis. They are involved in preparing budget reports and monitoring institutional spending. A budget analyst can work in public and private institutions to manage their finance. 

Financial Analyst

Median Salary: $88,930

Financial analysts oversee the business operation and analyze the risks, plan the functioning,  making investment decisions, and assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments after the evaluation of several factors. 

Financial Managers:

Median Salary: $123,948

Financial managers are professionals who are responsible for evaluating the finance and transactions of an organization. They also prepare financial reports, create business strategies, and develop long-term financial goals and plans, direct investment activities to meet the objectives of the organization. 

Insurance Sales Agent:

Median Salary: $51,074

Insurance sales agents act as a bridge between the potential customers and the insurance organization to sell one or more types of insurance. They give a demo and explain various insurance policies and terms to clients to make it easy to choose a plan.