What Are My Financial Consultant Career Options?

Financial consultants help others achieve financial stability. Read on to find out more about typical job duties, education and training requirements and the career outlook for the profession. Schools offering Accounting & Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Financial Consultant?

Whenever people or organizations have funds that need banking advice, they may ask for direction from a financial consultant. These experts watch the markets to see where money may be invested to increase profits or where money may need to be moved to protect profits. Financial consultants study the world's investment markets to put together a long term plan for someone's retirement fund or an organization's investments.

As a financial professional, you would help people and organizations find the right investments for their funds. The following chart gives an overview of is needed to enter this field.

Financial Advisor
Degree Required bachelor's degree; master's degree
Key Responsibilities Recommend financial investments
Certification Investment licensing
Job Growth (2014-2024) 30%* (much faster than average)
Median Salary (2015) $89,160* (personal financial advisors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does Being a Financial Consultant Involve?

Financial consultants, also known as financial advisors, typically provide private financial services to their clients. In such a position, you'll be responsible for helping people manage their income and establish short- and long-term plans for investment and retirement. You'll develop a relationship of trust with your clients and will often be on hand to help them meet the financial realities of life-changing events such as switching careers, getting married and having children. As a consultant, it is also common for you to hold licenses enabling you to sell stocks, bonds and insurance products to clients.

Depending on the route you take, you'll either work for an established company in the financial services industry or be self-employed. Either way, you'll often have to locate and secure your own clients. To accomplish this, you'll draw upon the contacts and connections you already have and host classes and seminars to educate the general public on the importance of financial planning and proper guidance.

What Requirements Do I Need To Meet?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), obtaining a bachelor's or graduate degree is necessary to become a financial consultant (www.bls.gov). Degree specialization is often flexible but those programs in business, accounting, finance and the like should provide you with a solid foundation for the work you'll do as a financial consultant.

Additionally, if you decide to sell financial products such as stocks or bonds, you'll need to obtain licenses that vary depending on what you'll actually be selling. To sell insurance, for example, you need to gain licensure from your state.

What Type of Work Will I Be Doing?

Education is a big component of being a financial consultant, for your clients and for yourself. On a daily basis, you'll have follow up meetings or initial consultations with current and potential clients to educate them on proper financial practices. To ensure you're adequately prepared to assist your clients, you'll also spend time learning about tax laws, investment strategies, risk assessments and other prevalent information. In addition, you'll keep up with current trends in the industry through researching and attending various classes and seminars.

Each client you have will typically require you to perform different tasks. However, some common activities might include researching different investment opportunities and presenting them to clients. You'll open up new accounts and perform buying and selling transactions on behalf of clients. You'll also meet periodically with clients to review progress, reshape short- and long-term goals, and provide motivation and reassurance to keep them on track.

What Other Related Jobs Are Available To Me?

With experience gained as a financial advisor and making good connections, you'll have the opportunity to progress to a private banker or wealth manager, where you'll work with wealthier clients. If you started working for a company, you'll also be able to branch out on your own or climb the ranks of management. Additionally, you can seek other positions in the financial service world, such as cost estimator, credit analyst, purchasing agent, insurance appraiser, budget analyst and real estate broker.

What Is the Job Outlook?

According to the BLS, employment opportunity for financial advisors is expected to grow faster than other jobs and increase by about 30% between 2014 and 2024. However, being that entry into the profession is more accessible than others and is accompanied by higher than average salaries once employed, competition is high. Salary amounts will vary depending on where you're employed, but the BLS reported that the median annual wage for financial advisors was $89,160 in May 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers involving finance will require at least a bachelor's degree. One field could be work as a financial analyst. You would work guiding clients or businesses in making decisions on how to invest their funds. Another job might be in budget analysis helping companies and private clients keep their daily finances organized properly. A third career field could be as an insurance underwriter where you'd use your financial skills evaluating people or businesses to write the best insurance policies possible for them.

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