Approximately 271,700 personal financial advisers are employed in the United States. They work for financial planning firms across the country. Many of these firms are small, perhaps employing two to 15 people, and most are located in urban areas. A smaller, but growing, number of financial planners are employed by corporations, banks, credit unions, mutual fund companies, insurance companies, accounting or law firms, colleges and universities, credit counseling organizations, and brokerage firms. In addition, approximately 25 percent of financial planners are self-employed.
Early in their careers, financial planners work for banks, mutual fund companies, or investment firms and usually receive extensive on-the-job training. The job deals heavily with client-based and research activities. Financial planners may start their own business as they learn personal skills and build their client base. During their first few years, certified financial planners spend many hours analyzing documents, meeting with other advisers, and networking to find new clients.
Those who have not changed their career track in five years can expect to have established some solid, long-term relationships with clients. Measured success at this point will be the planners' service fees, which will be marked up considerably from when they started their careers.
Those who have worked in the industry for 10 years usually have many clients and a six-figure income. Experienced financial planners can also move into careers in investment banking, financial consulting, and financial analysis. Because people skills are also an integral part of being a financial planner, consulting, on both personal and corporate levels, is also an option. Many planners will find themselves attending business school, either to achieve a higher income or to switch to one of the aforementioned professions.
Tips for Entry
Read the Journal of Financial Planning (https://www.onefpa.org/journal) and The Journal of Investment Consulting (https://investmentsandwealth.org/journalofinvestmentconsulting) to learn more about the field.
Visit https://jobboard.onefpa.org and https://www.napfa.org/careers/opportunities for job listings.
Attend the Financial Planning Association's annual conference and expo (https://fpaannual.org) and other association conferences to network and participate in continuing education opportunities.
Conduct information interviews with financial planners and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field. The Financial Planning Association (http://www.plannersearch.org) and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (https://www.napfa.org/find-an-advisor) offer member lists at their Web sites.