Preparing Yourself for a Career as a Financial Planner

The path to becoming a financial planner begins with genuine interest in a career providing financial advice to others. But your progress toward that goal is largely influenced by how prepared you are in three key areas: financial acumen, communication skill, and your own financial situation. You may need to spend considerable time, potentially years, on one or more of these items before you can launch a financial planning career, and that’s okay.

For most, this journey begins with an honest, self-assessment of career readiness. What do you lack? Can it be corrected? And how would you do that? From there, you can build a plan to get you ready enough to advise clients. You don’t have to know everything up front because you will continue to develop throughout your career, but you need to get to the point of being functionally ready.

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AFC Certification, Part of a Better Path to CFP Certification

The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) certification, granted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards is probably the most widely recognized credential in the field of personal financial planning. If you want to practice financial planning, you will likely want to become a CFP® practitioner. However, the required 6,000 hours of experience can be a seemingly insurmountable obstacle for some newer planners, especially those wanting to avoid brokerage and insurance sales careers.

It’s a Catch 22

New planners may be hesitant about going into practice before completing the CFP Board’s experience requirement, even under the mentorship of a more experienced planner. In order to gain experience, they need to deliver personal financial planning services to clients, but they must do so while lacking the credibility and credential that comes with the CFP® marks of distinction. So their clients must be willing to work with them instead of an actual CFP® practitioner.

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Financial Advice is More Than Investing, Much More

The advancement of technology and emergence of robo-advisors have ignited discussion about the future of human financial advisors. Advisors are divided: some see robo-advisors as a threat to their livelihood, while others welcome the technology with open arms. The wide range of views can be attributed to the broad definition of financial advice.

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