You can’t just expect to walk in and nab a “plum” financial planner position. You must show proof that you possess the necessary qualifications. A Bachelor’s degree in a financial field is an excellent starting point. It may get you in the door at some places. However, more and more employers are insisting that applicants for financial planning positions possess an MBA. This is especially true if you will be seeking a position that enables you to climb the corporate ladder to a senior management or even partner position.
You Will Need to Obtain Certification as a Financial Planner
The next step to becoming a financial planner is to obtain the necessary certification. The two most well-known types of certifications are Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). To qualify for the CFP exam, you will need three years’ experience in a finance-related industry. You also will need to have a Bachelor’s degree or better. And, finally, you will need to pass a thorough background check. The exam itself lasts 10 hours and is split over 2 days. To qualify to take the even more grueling CFA exam, you will need four years’ experience.
It Pays to Get Your License to Sell Stocks and Bonds
As a financial planner, being able to sell stocks and bonds is not necessarily a requirement. However, being qualified in this area certainly doesn’t hurt. You can obtain a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) license, such as the Series 6, 7 or 63, to be able to sell mutual funds, stocks, bonds, or insurance to a client. It’s an excellent way to gain more valuable industry experience and qualifications. At the same time, you are also making yourself indispensable to the needs of your clients and your employer.
What is the Career Path of a Modern Financial Planner?
Once you have achieved the necessary college degree to enter the financial industry, your career path will require first gaining three or four years’ worth of experience in junior positions. After gaining the necessary certifications, you will be able to work as a financial planner in an unsupervised capacity.
You will be qualified to receive your base salary, plus incentives and bonuses. That can easily add another five figures to your annual pay. As you work your way upward to a senior position, you can earn a six-figure base salary with matching bonuses and incentives. The career of a financial planner is thus a highly lucrative path to consider.