How to Go About Becoming an Independent Financial Advisor

Are you the best budgeter in your friend group?

Do you often think about planning for the future and establishing financial security for the people you care about?

If so, you may want to consider becoming an independent financial advisor.

Financial advising is not just for Wall Street. You can run this business online or from a small office in your local area.

The opportunities in this industry are expanding, which is all the more reason to get started now and get ahead.

Here’s everything you need to know to become an independent financial advisor.

1. Understand the Job Profile

Investopedia defines a financial advisor as one who “provides financial advice or guidance to customers for compensation.”

This can be done in the public or private sector. You can differentiate between personal capital and betterment, which investormint.com explained more about in a recent blog post.

Try to choose one specialty to get started with. You can grow your portfolio of services as your business expands.

Here are a few common areas of practice:

  • Buying and selling stocks
  • Selling insurance
  • Tax preparation for businesses and/or individuals
  • Community banking
  • Estate planning

One may call out to you right away. Or, you might decide to try your hand in a few different areas of financial advising.

Either way, remember it’s about more than the numbers. A good financial advisor is in many ways a teacher to their clients.

It pays to know about money management, but being a strong communicator, understanding, and patient adds much more value to your work.

2. Go (Back) to School

Although it’s not the only way, the most common way of becoming an independent financial advisor is to start with a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate studies in economics, business, and of course, finance, are good places to start.

Some specialists say a strong understanding of psychology helps too, though, to help prepare you for working with different types of clients.

If you’ve already finished your degree, or you want to be even more competitive, look into certificate programs. Certificate programs establish credibility in a niche area of financial advising. Some include:

  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)
  • Certified Financial Planner (CPA)

3. Grow Your Network

No matter what route you take to expand your knowledge, make an effort to grow your professional network as well.

Talk to your professors. Join a finance- or business-related student organization. Attend alumni networking or young professional events in your area.

One hand you shake today can be your future employer tomorrow.

4. Get Experience

Speaking of employees, try to get strong experience in the finance field before you become an independent advisor.

An internship is one of the most important stepping stones on your road to success.

It takes all the knowledge you’ve acquired (or are still working to acquire) and gives it a real-world application.

Although internships teach you a lot about financial advising, you’ll learn a thing or two about yourself as well. Starting with a summer position or a part-time role can help confirm or deny this is the path for you.

Take on Becoming an Independent Financial Advisor Today

Ready to start your financial advising journey?

As an independent advisor, you will end up establishing your own business in whichever sector of finance you choose. This comes with its own set of pros and cons, and of course, numbers to work with.

Luckily, we’ve got the perfect course to get you started.

Check out the ten numbers every business owner should know today!