Financial Consultant Job Description
If you would enjoy helping people manage their money, being a financial consultant could be your dream job. These professionals talk to clients about their objectives—such as paying off their house or sending their kids to college—and create strategies for reaching those goals. While many financial consultants work standard, full-time hours in the offices of investment firms, banks, and similar institutions, they may need to meet with clients on evenings or weekends too. Some financial consultants are self-employed and maintain a flexible schedule. Regardless of where someone works, being a financial consultant can be a stressful job because it involves making decisions in the face of an uncertain future economy and because customers are highly vested in what is happening to their money.
Financial Consultant Duties and Responsibilities
Whether they are assigned by their employer to handle specific clients or they recruit their own customer base, all financial consultants typically perform certain common tasks. Job postings reveal the following expectations of these professionals:
Talk with People
Financial consultants meet with potential and established clients to go over the services in which they might be interested. By understanding their current situations and their long-term goals, financial consultants get a grasp of what it will take to turn visions into reality.
By gathering data on income, debt, savings, and related money matters, financial consultants obtain a clear picture of what they have to work with.
Plenty of investment strategies exist. Taking into account the age of the clients and their risk tolerance, financial consultants generate ideas. Some people prefer conservative measures such as savings accounts with fixed interest, while others are into high-potential stocks. Laying out options, providing a realistic picture of what to expect, and going over the benefits of diversification are some of the reasons people bother to hire a financial consultant.
Evaluate and Update
Financial consultants keep an eye on what is happening with individual accounts and with the economy in general. They report their findings to their clients and make suggestions for revisions as they see fit.
Financial Consultant Skills and Qualifications
Obviously, financial consultants need outstanding math skills since they deal with figures, interest rates, projections, and similar things on a daily basis. But don’t view this as a numbers-only position. A financial consultant would be hard-pressed to perform well without the following:
- Interpersonal skills – a friendly, confident demeanor helps clients feel at ease and makes them want to employ your services
- Communication skills – good listeners better understand what is being said and can then explain things in terms that others will understand
- Attention to detail – when your client’s financial future is on the line, you can’t let anything slip through the cracks
- Organization – client accounts require monitoring and paperwork, so financial consultants must create systems where information is easy to store and retrieve
- Multitasking – juggling the needs of multiple clients requires prioritization and hard work
- Salesmanship – attracting new customers and convincing them to purchase your services keeps you employed
- Trustworthiness – privy to personal or sensitive information, a financial consultant must value confidentiality
Financial Consultant Education and Training
Financial consultants typically hold a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, business, or a related discipline. New hires should expect a substantial period of on-the-job-training to become thoroughly versed in subjects such as estate planning, portfolio management, taxes, and risk analysis. They also will need particular licenses, registrations, and certifications based on factors such as what they sell and where their employer is located.
Career prospects can improve by becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). In addition to a bachelor’s degree and three years of relevant work experience, this distinction requires passing an exam that covers numerous areas of financial planning.
Financial Consultant Salary and Outlook
According to PayScale.com, financial consultants earn a median annual salary of $64,813. The lowest paid earn around $39,500, while the highest paid receive more than $106,000 per year. Some financial consultants earn commission from selling certain products, or they may receive bonuses for reaching performance goals. Self-employed financial consultants may collect an hourly fee for their services or charge a percentage of the clients’ assets that they manage.
Financial consultants should have promising job prospects in the upcoming decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of personal financial advisors will grow 15 percent between 2016 and 2026. Much of this increase will result from baby boomers wanting assistance in managing assets as they move into retirement. Even younger people are expected to seek such services in the years ahead because workers are becoming increasingly responsible for creating their own retirement plans rather than relying on a company pension.
Financial Consultant Helpful Resources
Interested in learning more about becoming a financial consultant? The following places can be helpful:
CFP Board – This website covers everything you’ll need to know to become a certified financial planner.
Think Differently: Elevate and Grow Your Financial Services Practice – Expand your client base and manage your time more efficiently with this book reviewers say “over-delivers” and “gives you an unfair advantage over your competition.”
International Association of Registered Financial Consultants – This non-profit dedicates itself to member education and training so that they may better serve clients.
Certified Financial Planner – This LinkedIn group of 29,000+ members provides a forum for financial consultants and similar professionals to discuss industry trends and make networking connections.
The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients: 6 Steps to Unlimited Clients and Financial Freedom – If you’re looking for strategies on building a better customer base, check out this publication that one reader sums up as “a comprehensive guidebook that is at once highly approachable and satisfyingly detailed.”
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