Are you into numbers, solving problems, and helping others? Have you ever thought about turning these interests into a career?
Let’s discuss a career that incorporates all of these aspects; it’s most likely not what you would expect! This field is dynamic, constantly evolving, and filled with opportunities. It strikes a balance between analytical thinking and interpersonal skills, making it better for those who love crunching numbers as much as they cherish assisting others.
This field is where every day is different, and rewarding opportunities abound. Intrigued yet? Let’s pull back the curtain on this exciting profession! Stay tuned, and by the end of this journey, you may discover a career path you’d never considered.
What is Financial Planning?
Financial planning is like having a financial roadmap. It’s a technique that assists you in determining your current financial situation and future goals. We’ve covered the topic indirectly in many of our articles, an example being our Coast FIRE article.
Beyond just basic budgeting, financial planning involves knowing your financial goals, planning to attain them, and managing your resources. Your financial planner might be compared to a tour guide that directs customers in the appropriate route so they arrive at their objective.
It’s a field that requires analytical thinking to make sound financial decisions while also needing excellent interpersonal skills to guide others to their financial goals. It’s a profession where no two days are identical due to the dynamic nature of the economic landscape.
Surprisingly perhaps, you don’t need to be an investment guru to excel. Of course you will need to understand economics, understand how business and the financial markets work; the heavy lifting on the investment work will be done by the professionals running the various mutual funds or ETFs which you may advise to your clients.
And much like a doctor, in addition to knowing your technical details, you will need lots of empathy and interpersonal skills to deal with the wide variety of clients that you will encounter. Some will be in debt, others may have very little financial knowledge, while some others may simply have too high expectations.
Blending the technical and interpersonal skills is an art, and helping clients achieve their financial goals is what ultimately makes for a rewarding career.
Exploring Careers in Financial Planning
Financial planning is one job and a field with opportunities to explore. Also working as a financial planner is not the only option. Each of the roles below has its unique responsibilities and requires specialised skills.
- Financial adviser: The most recognisable job title in financial planning is financial adviser. Using each client’s specific needs and objectives as a starting point, financial advisors design personalised financial plans.
- Superannuation consultant: The primary responsibility of a superannuation consultant is to provide advice and support in managing retirement savings plans. They help clients maximise their investments for a secure future.
- Client services officer: This is a more administrative role that requires processing and reviewing client paperwork, communicating with providers and clients, and ensuring compliance standards are fulfilled.
- Business development manager: These professionals analyse the market and identify potential clients for financial planning services. They also develop strategies to attract new business and maintain relationships with existing clients.
- Financial planner: Financial planners make long-term plans for customers. They help businesses and people reach financial goals through investing and insurance.
- Risk adviser: Risk advisors specialise in identifying and mitigating potential financial risks for clients. They work to protect their clients’ assets, reduce liability, and ensure financial security.
The Rewarding Aspects of Financial Planning Careers
They offer you a chance to make a significant difference in people’s lives. Have you ever imagined how it feels to help someone save for their first home or guide a small business towards expansion? That’s the kind of impact you can make as a financial planner!
This career also offers intellectual challenges and a constant learning curve. With the financial world changing, you’ll learn and adapt.
Plus, there’s great variety in the kinds of roles you can take on. From being a risk adviser to a business development manager who hunts for new opportunities – each role is unique and rewarding in its own way.
How to Begin a Career in Financial Planning
You’ve seen financial planning in action, so you’re curious about how to get started, right? Starting in this field is simple.
To begin with, you will need to equip yourself with a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance, or a similar discipline. This will equip you with a strong foundational understanding of financial concepts.
Moreover, some positions may require you to earn specific certifications (who said being a financial wizard wouldn’t involve a few magic scrolls?). For instance, you might need to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Certified Financial Analyst (CFA). It depends on the job role you’re eyeing.
Internships or entry-level jobs can help you obtain the experience you need. Many financial planning professions also need prior experience in the finance industry. Apart from formal qualifications, having strong communication skills and a passion for helping others achieve their financial goals will also set you up for success.
Certifications in Financial Planning
A key element in the journey to becoming a financial planner is choosing the right certification, as it can significantly enhance your credibility and expertise. Different countries offer various certifications, each tailored to their financial systems and regulatory environments.
Let’s look at a few examples:
In the U.S., the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification is highly regarded. It requires completing education courses, passing a rigorous exam, accumulating specific work experience, and adhering to ethical standards.
As discussed earlier, another prestigious designation is the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), which is globally recognized and focuses more on investment management. The CFA requires passing three levels of exams and gaining relevant work experience.
Australia offers the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification through the Financial Planning Association of Australia. This certification demands completion of advanced education courses, extensive work experience, and adherence to high ethical standards.
Additionally, an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning or Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning is a popular choice for those seeking a comprehensive understanding of financial planning principles in the Australian context.
In the UK, there are several options. The Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning offered by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) is a common pathway. It covers a broad range of financial planning topics and complies with the UK regulatory requirements.
Then there is the Chartered Financial Planner certification, offered by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, which demonstrates a high level of competence and ethical practice.
The Canadian Securities Institute (CSI) offers the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification, which is essential for financial planners in Canada.
Additionally, the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) designation is sought after for those specializing in portfolio management and investment advice.
Rather than just crunching statistics, financial planning involves helping people and businesses navigate their financial journeys.
You have a positive impact in various roles, such as client services officer, financial adviser, superannuation consultant, business development manager, financial planner, or risk adviser.
And that’s truly rewarding! It isn’t as difficult to get started as it sounds. You are prepared to launch your career in financial planning with a degree in the relevant field and maybe a few certificates.
The exciting experience of never-ending learning, overcoming challenges, and experiencing the gratification of changing the world makes the trip as significant as the destination.