How to Become a Financial Advisor | 2024

March 26, 2024
13 Minutes
Modified on:
March 26, 2024
Written by:
Swati Bucha
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If you are an aspiring individual with a genuine interest and passion in finance, investing, and financial planning, pursuing a career as a financial advisor is one of the best options. Financial advisors counsel individuals and organizations on many aspects, from investments to insurance. 

They thoroughly weigh the clients’ remunerations and expenses. Consequently, they help them meritoriously plan their accounting goals. Strategic financial planning helps them plan expenses for higher education, wedding, retirement, and other crucial life events. Those aspirants who are zealously learning business and accounting can unlock great opportunities in this field. 

However, in this quite competitive world and with various aspirants trying to get a job in MNCs and major conglomerates or trying to set up their firm, becoming a financial advisor is not an easy task. Many aspirants are looking for a strategic guide that helps them figure out how to become a financial advisor. That's why we have prepared a comprehensive guide covering all the important aspects of becoming a financial advisor. 

What is a Financial Advisor?

Financial advisors utilize their financial expertise and understanding to help their clients implement suitable investment strategies, manage their finances, suggest an appropriate strategy to recover losses, and everything related to finance. 

They help their clients, whether organizations, small businesses, or employees, make wise financial decisions. They assess clients’ incomes, investments, financial burdens, and expenses. Subsequently, they help their clients fulfill their short-term and long-term fiscal targets. Moreover, they assist their clients in ensuring timely mortgage payments.

Here are some ways financial advisors help the clients: 

  • Evaluate financial health: by understanding and evaluating the financial stability of the client by assessing the income, expenses, assets, debts, and savings. Then, a finance advisor may recommend investment opportunities to financially healthy clients and specific strategies to improve and achieve financial stability for financially weaker clients. 
  • Assess risk level by evaluating the client's age, investment goals, financial objectives, period, and comfort with the risk. Accordingly, the financial advisor suggests a suitable investment strategy, whether conservative, moderate, or aggressive. 
  • Understand liabilities by reviewing the client's outstanding debts, loans, mortgages, credit card balances, and other financial obligations. Liabilities affect cash flow, and financial advisors suggest investment opportunities to repay the debt. 

Job Duties of Financial Advisor

Let's look at the roles and responsibilities of a financial advisor: 

  • They build a portfolio of investments that suits the client’s risk tolerance.
  • Financial advisors give companies and enterprises an unbiased perspective on corporate development initiatives. For example, a financial advisor can evaluate the project's profitability if a company aims to expand its operations by establishing a factory.
  • They analyze the financial data of corporations and individuals to help them fulfill their financial goals. They provide the best financial advice after analyzing the client’s financial plans and strategies.
  • To help clients meet their financial objectives, financial advisors guide cash management, investment planning, insurance coverage, and related aspects.
  • They regularly review client accounts and strategies to determine if changes are required. The suggested changes will help the individual or company boost its financial performance.
  • They analyze and compile financial document summaries, investment performance reports, and client income forecasts.

How to Become a Financial Advisor?

Here's a step-by-step guide to start your journey as a financial advisor: 

Step 1. Attain a Relevant Undergraduate Degree.

Organizations aiming to fill the job positions for financial advisors intend to recruit individuals with bachelor’s degrees in subjects like Economics, Business, Finance, and Accounting. The bachelor’s programs in the financial field lay a solid foundation in various financial topics, including client relations, risk management, investment tactics, etc. They empower candidates to unlock outstanding career opportunities. Usually, the duration of these bachelor’s programs is four years. 

Some business schools provide accelerated options. Some employers might stipulate advanced finance degrees, like a master’s or doctorate, as prerequisites for higher-level job roles. If aspirants acquire a master’s degree in relevant subjects, their chances of getting hired increase significantly.

Step 2. Seek Internship and Gain Work Experience.

Completing an internship helps future financial advisor graduates gain exposure to the practical knowledge and expertise required for this job role. Final year students and recent graduates can seek internships in a financial company to get an overview of the duties involved in being a financial advisor.

The corresponding practical experiences offer insights into market trends, investment strategies, and client engagement. By acquiring practical learning experience, aspirants can become proficient at providing financial advice. It also helps them effectively navigate the financial intricacies of their potential clients.

Junior financial advisors can get on-the-job training from senior professionals. They get exposure to preparing and managing portfolios and interacting with clients. To advance in the field, the aspirants must master the following aspects:

  • Have a firm knowledge of insurance industries, mutual funds, and securities.
  • Build proficiency in commonly used financial software, databases, algorithms, and programming languages like Python and R. 
  • Stay updated with the developments in financial markets, including stock exchanges, bond markets, and commodities. 
  • Capability to provide financial advice and guidance to clients.
  • Understand how different factors, such as interest rates, economic indicators, and geopolitical events, affect financial decisions. 

Step 3. Get Relevant Licenses.

Financial advisors may need specialized licenses pertinent to their field of expertise and based on their professional domain. For instance, securities licenses are required for financial advisor professionals who provide investment advice or buy and sell stocks for their clients. Attaining relevant licenses adds to the credibility of the financial advisor. 

Candidates must complete the Series 65 exam if they are interested in wealth management. FINRA administers other essential exams required to become a financial advisor. 

Step 4. Craft an Attractive CV.

Financial advisors’ resumes should include details like their educational qualifications, finance-specific work experience, and any certifications they have received. Moreover, they can state their prowess at solving finance-related problems, their ability to interact with clients, their leadership know-how, etc.

Step 5. Discover Employment Opportunities and Apply.

After acquiring relevant qualifications and skills, it’s time to discover relevant job openings in the finance industry. At this stage, a financial advisor must go through various reputed job portals, networking platforms, and financial organizations’ websites. This approach helps them find a job role outfitting their expertise.

Take Your Financial Advisor Career to the Next Level: Become a Certified Financial Planner

CFPs (Certified Financial Planners) hold several years of professional experience before obtaining CFP credentials.

 Certified financial planners (CFPs) gain several years of experience working as professional financial advisors before seeking CFP credentials. They accomplish specific tasks tailored to their client’s requirements and pursue higher-level education degrees to demonstrate their expertise in the finance landscape.

Steps to Become a Certified Financial Planner

Let’s go through the requirements that are required to become a Certified Financial Planner: 

Step 1. Fulfill Educational Prerequisites

The educational prerequisites for becoming a Certified Financial Planner require two parts. The first part usually involves getting a Bachelor's Degree in any discipline from an accredited college or university. The second part requires completing coursework on financial planning through the CFP Board Registered Program.

If any aspiring candidate finishes the CFP coursework first, they have five years to complete their Bachelor's Degree.  

Step 2. Fulfill Mandatory Work Experience.

Fulfilling educational requirements alone will not suffice to become a Certified Financial Planner. To qualify, a financial advisor aspirant should have 6,000 hours of related professional experience, nearly equivalent to two years of work experience. On the other hand, to meet the rigorous criteria, an aspirant can fulfill 4,000 hours of supervised apprenticeship.

Step 3. Qualify for the CFP Exam.

The CFP certification exam is divided into two three-hour sections. It includes 170 multiple-choice questions. According to the CFP Board, as of 2023, the rate to qualify for the CFP exam is 65%. Finance experts recommend that an aspirant allocate around 250 hours for exam preparation.

Skills Required for Becoming a Financial Advisor

Understanding how to become a financial advisor is not adequate. The knowledge of the skills required, as discussed below, helps you to excel in your career as a financial advisor

1. Analytical Reasoning

Analytical reasoning skills help a financial advisor analyze trends, benefits, and limitations of a specific strategy and recommend modifications according to the requirement. This skill helps a financial advisor determine the most suitable solution for their clients.

2. Research Skills

Thorough research is inevitable to understand the client’s financial health properly. With this skill, a financial advisor can look through enough knowledge and resources to help solve the problem. Moreover, research skills are important to evaluate the quality and reliability of the resources.

3. Leadership

A financial advisor must be able to instruct clients and lead a team of advisors. Leadership skills help them determine the best method to find a solution for a client’s concern. It helps them evaluate the progress of the client’s financial journey.

4. Communication Skills

Financial advisors must master communication skills because they work with people from varied economic circumstances. They must effectively explain complex information and technical jargon to individuals and companies seeking financial assistance.

5. Problem-Solving Skills

A financial advisor must learn how to inspect potential barriers and find solutions. Based on the client's existing financial health and financial goals, a financial advisor must be able to provide proper advice and solutions. Consequently, their problem-solving skills will help them adopt financial solutions that assure minimal risk. 

Analyzing the Pros and Cons of Becoming a Financial Advisor

Let's take a look at bright future prospectives of becoming a financial advisor and the disadvantages associated with it:


  1. Being an advisor brings an opportunity to share financial knowledge with others and help them understand the importance of strategic financial planning. 
  2. Aspiring individuals can leave an impactful impression on clients' and individuals' lives by helping them manage their finances and figuring out how to deal with debt and loans. 
  3. The financial advisor career is flexible; employees may open their firm at some point. 
  4. The demand for financial advisors remains steady, so there are ample opportunities for financial advisors to help and guide businesses and companies. 


  1. Opening up a firm can be challenging in the initial phases because it might be difficult to build a client base. 
  2. Completing all the courses and getting the necessary licenses can be time-consuming. 
  3. Financial advisors with their firm might have to work long hours. 
  4. Financial advisors must remain in touch with clients and constantly connect with them. This is not something that an introvert would like. 
  5. It requires a sizable capital to start your financial advisory firm.


Financial advisors help customers align their financial objectives with their strategies. They also help customers regulate their investments by offering adept counseling. Once candidates have fulfilled the requisite educational criteria and gained pertinent knowledge and expertise, candidates can land an excellent career in this job. 

Besides, qualified and experienced financial advisors can start their firm by considering a suitable business structure and providing client services. Aspiring individuals will require services from a reliable partner who can help build a website and email hosting services. Neo is here to support you! With affordable plans, aspirants can build their one-page website that displays all the service details and the Schedule an Appointment feature. Take a demo today!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the various titles that refer to a financial advisor?

Any of the below names can refer a financial advisor:

  • Financial planner
  • Personal financial advisor
  • Investment adviser
  • Financial service advisor 

2. Is communication skills essential to becoming a financial advisor?

Financial advisors must illustrate complex information to clients/investors who might not understand technical terminologies. Proficient communication skills help them provide well-researched data and guidance to clients.

3. What is the least duration to qualify as a financial planner?

The minimum duration to qualify as a financial planner is six years. Two years of professional experience are also required to work for this designation.

4. Are financial planners and financial advisors identical?

No, both of these designations are different. A financial planner usually provides personalized supervision to individuals and corporations, facilitating their better planning of funds and investments. However, a financial advisor creates a program to accomplish the client’s prospective fiscal objectives.

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