Financial Planner
How to Become a

Financial Planner

The complete career guide to be a Financial Planner: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $118,050
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 29.6%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Good Entry Level Salary
    Career Attribute

Financial planners assist individuals with making investment decisions by calculating the impacts of purchases and investments on long-term financial goals. They may help individuals form a plan on how to save for retirement, how to pay for their children’s education, or how to pay off a loan more quickly.

Recommended Schools

What is a Financial Planner?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in financial planner roles:

  • Conduct initial meetings with clients to establish, determine, and record financial goals
  • Review individuals’ finances and look for opportunities to suggest alterations in spending, investing, and saving to meet established financial goals
  • Recommend different savings opportunities that offer the largest return on investment
  • Conduct seminars and market services to recruit new clients
  • Stay abreast of changes in investment opportunities in order to best advise clients

A Day in the Life

Financial planners assist individuals with meeting long-term financial goals by educating clients on the risks and rewards of certain purchase and investment decisions. They may assist clients with simple tasks like forming a budget, or they may help clients find ways to save enough money to cover a major life expense. For example, a financial planner may look at inflation, investment returns, and typical spending in order to determine how much a client needs to save each month in order to prepare for retirement.

Financial planners help individuals with many different types of financial planning. They may help individuals with young children form a plan for paying for their children’s college education when they reach adulthood. They may also help individuals determine what amount of money they can afford to finance for a mortgage when considering a new home purchase. They do this by meeting with clients, determining their long-term goals, reviewing their finances, and finding a wise investment and savings plan that will serve their needs when it’s time for the goal to come to fruition.

In addition to working with and counseling clients on financial matters, financial planners must work to recruit new clients. They may conduct public seminars to educate people on the importance of financial planning in order to recruit clients, or they may market their services through managing a website and creating educational financial planning content. They may also offer incentives to existing clients for referrals, allowing them to grow their networks by offering a discount to clients who refer others.

Typical Work Schedule

Financial Planners usually have long working hours and they commonly have to work to later evenings. This depends on the field and level of their work, the type and number of clients, the workload and its related time and effort required to deliver. This gives their schedule a wide range as they can sometimes work part-time with under 40 hours per week and sometimes have a more difficult schedule that exceeds 40 hours per week. The schedule must also have enough flexibility to accommodate their clients’ schedule and to be able to respond to their concerns which may occur on evenings and weekends. Also, Longer hours may have to be allocated to accommodate the conducted analysis, research or further education that can be sometimes required.

Projected Job Growth

According to the US bureau of labor statistics, the employment of Financial planners and advisors is expected to grow by at least 4 % from 2019 to 2029 which is as fast as the growth of other jobs. Financial planners and advisors are different jobs but closely related as an indicator of the economy health. The role of a financial planner includes developing personalized financial plan for your clients. The limited growth of the demand for this job makes the job market more challenging for fresh graduates who need to earn the trust of their clients. You may consider earning certificates like CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or an MBA as well as his interpersonal and communication skills to improve your chances in this competitive job market.

Typical Employers

Financial planners have a wide range of job opportunities especially as they get more qualified and experienced. More than half of financial planners work for different finance or insurance companies including securities and commodity brokers, banks and insurance carriers. In addition, about 40 % of financial planners prefer to work independently in their own small investment advisory firms (especially in urban areas) where they use their skills and experience to gain new clients. The experience and connections required to be able to prosper can be gained by working first in related financial companies such as accounting or insurance to be able to prove your competence in the field.

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How To Become a Financial Planner

The first step in becoming a financial planner is to earn a bachelor’s degree. There is no specific major required to find work as a financial planner, but degrees in finance, mathematics, economics, accounting, or business are beneficial for teaching students the skills and concepts needed to succeed as financial planners. With a bachelor’s degree, you should be able to find entry-level work as a financial planner for a bank or investment organization and begin earning the required licenses.

During training, you’ll serve as an apprentice for a year or more under an experienced financial advisor. This allows you to learn how to recruit clients, how to understand and document client goals, and how to advise clients properly. During this time, you’ll also work to earn the necessary licenses to work individually as a financial planner. The licenses you need will vary depending on what clients you serve and what products you sell. You may need to become registered by your state or by the Securities and Exchange Commission, depending on where in the country your clients are located.

After earning several years of experience as a financial planner, you may also want to pursue additional degrees and certifications to qualify for advancement opportunities. Many financial planners in senior or management positions hold master’s degrees in finance, economics, or business administration. Others pursue specialized certifications from organizations like the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. These certifications usually require a bachelor’s degree, several years of experience, and passing a written exam.

Financial Planner Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Financial Planner salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Financial Planner's can make an average annual salary of $118,050, or $57 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $57,190 or $27 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #33 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Financial Planner. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Financial Planners

  • 5.4%   Doctorate
  • 22%   Masters
  • 52.7%   Bachelors
  • 4.7%   Associates
  • 11.5%   College
  • 3.4%   High School
  • 0.3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Financial Planner job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 73,800 jobs for a total of 323,200 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 29.6% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #14 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Financial Planners

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Other financial investment activities 72,700 46,200 46%
Securities and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage 56,400 14,700 15%
Self-employed workers 50,300 8,900 9%

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