A financial planner works in the field of investment advice and financial planning. This means that a financial planner can work in any number of specialties such as retirement planning, education planning, cash flow management, tax planning, insurance planning, risk management, investment planning, business succession planning and estate planning. The service or services a financial planner provides to his or her clients is usually termed personal financial planning. A financial planner can also be retained to give advice on particular financial matters. A financial planner can decide to charge a client a flat fee, or he or she can decide to charge a yearly fee that is equivalent to a fraction of the client’s investment total.
What is a financial planner?
A financial planner is a professional who provides the service of helping clients cope with a myriad of personal, financial situations and issues. Proper planning is usually the way in which a financial planner aids the financial issues of his or her clients. In approaching the planning function, a financial planner is directed through the financial planning process to come up with his or her own financial plan on behalf of the client. The financial plan is a specific tactic fitted to the client’s particular situation and financial issue, and it is devised with the aim of satisfying the client’s stated and intended financial goals. The central aspect of a financial planner is that he or she takes into consideration and account information, questions and advice as it relates to the impact it will have on the client’s life situation and financial issue.
The educational path of a financial planner begins at the fundamental level, and so all financial planners are required to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in finance from a college or a university in the U.S. that has been accredited. The coursework mandated by a degree in financial planning is usually rigorous, with the type of courses involving financial planning issues across a broad range of closely related subjects. These courses are courses like insurance planning, general principles of financial planning and finance, employee benefits planning, federal income tax planning, state income tax planning, securities and investment planning, gift tax planning, transfer tax planning, estate tax planning, retirement planning, asset protection planning and estate planning. Beyond this, a financial planner must also expect to be intimately familiar with a list of dozens and dozens of subjects on financial planning that is integrated.
The salary picture of a financial planner varies, and it varies accordingly based on a number of different factors like educational level, experience level and track-record success, just to name a few factors. The salary picture of a financial planner is also very secure, as this line of work and this profession are expected only to continue to grow over the next decade by a very healthy 37 percent. The number of baby boomers who are expected to retire over the next several years is one of the primary and driving reasons that the outlook for this profession is so rosy. As recently as 2006, the average yearly salary of someone working as a financial planner was around $66,000. However, the range of salary for a financial planner is expansive, with the bottom 10 or so percent making only about $40,000 and the top 10 percent of financial planners taking in more than $130,000. Salary for a financial planner is significantly impacted, too, based on where one works. For example, a financial planner who works in an area that is more rural will just make less money than a financial planner who is employed in an urban area or in a big city like New York.
Areas of Specialty
A financial planner specializes in several different areas of financial planning, all of which are services that he or she can provide to a client. One area is insurance planning and risk management, where the client’s cash flow is managed by utilizing risk management that is sound in strategy. Investment planning is another area, which is characterized by both growing and managing capital investment to create future cash flows and capital for both reinvestment and spending. Retirement planning is self-explanatory, while tax planning and estate planning are devoted to planning for the lessening of tax obligations and the distribution and conservation of one’s assets. Cash flow and liability management, relationship management, and education planning round out the remaining types of specialties of financial planners.
- Things to consider for Investment Planning (PDF)
- Investment Planning and its Costs on Monetary Policy (PDF)
- Planning for Retirement Resource Page
- Checklist for Retirement Planning
- All About Education Planning
A financial planner can also aim to achieve certification so that he or she becomes a certified financial planner. The first requirement of certification is having at least a bachelor’s degree in finance. Working for a specified number of hours in the financial field is yet another prerequisite of attaining certification as a financial planner. Finally, a deep, working knowledge of many specialties, such as estate planning and retirement planning, just to name a few, are also requirements. Financial planners who want to get certification have to get the CFB Board Certification Exam, which can take 10 hours.
- Program for Certified Financial Planners
- Professional Education Certification
- Financial Planners and Certifications
One of the most immediate and basic skills that a financial planner needs is the skill of understanding numbers well. However, the people skills, which some many not immediately associated with financial planning, are just as important; these people skills embody things such as good communication and being able to relate to clients well. Analytical skills are another important part of the job, as coming up with the right investment plan and financial plan for clients is the whole point of the profession. Finally, multi-tasking is a good skill for any financial planner to possess.