A Day in the Life of a Certified Financial Planner

Learn the credentials and job description of a certified financial planner

Financial planning wasn’t always a job description. In the mid-20th century stockbrokers, bankers, insurance salesmen, accountants and legal advisors filled the roles of advising clients about investing and personal wealth management. Today, however, these roles, and more, are lumped into one category: the financial planner.

With a median salary between $65k and $75k, financial planners earn a decent salary, and their job involves less number crunching than you might think. It’s been said that the majority of a financial planner’s work is psychology, teaching clients how to handle their money and how to make wise decisions.

A financial planner’s day might involve meeting with a young couple to coordinate their 401K’s with their equity investments and their mortgage, or it might be helping a retiree set up a trust fund to manage their wealth in their latter years, leaving the right amounts to their descendants in the most beneficial way.

Now, this post assumes the planner is already certified, but a planner who is just starting out might still be studying for their CFP (Certified Financial Planner) exam, a certification which can improve their chances of obtaining a better position in a firm or attracting more and wealthier clients. This career path can work for those with or without a degree in finance, so some may start out by getting their certification, or start with a degree and earn the certification on the job later.

Some planners also go to school to broaden their horizons and learn new services—some even go to law school so they can offer legal services in-house. This trend is lucrative because it brings an important part of financial planning back into the planner’s practice instead of being farmed out to an independent law firm.

A financial planner might also spend time giving seminars or lectures, to showcase their knowledge in hopes of attracting new clients. Obtaining referrals from satisfied customers is important, as is networking. A good number of financial planners are self-employed, so building a client list is critical.

Finally, a financial planner be able to manage themselves. The prerequisite requirements of being able to sell anyone anything, be analytical and have good communications skills, build and maintain beneficial contacts(and do all this independently) forms the largest part of the job description.

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