Financial Investment Advisor: Career Information and Requirements

Explore what education and skills a financial investment advisor needs. Learn about salary and job outlook, in addition to work duties, to determine if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for a Financial Investment Advisor

Helping investors make sound investments is the main responsibility of a financial investment advisor. They typically analyze a client's finances and make investment suggestions to help the client create a sound financial plan. On a typical work day, a financial investment advisor will make sales calls, conduct seminars or lectures, hold consultations and conduct financial research for clients. Maintaining a positive relationship with clients while looking for more customers is the most crucial element of financial investment advising because investment advisors need a constant flow of new customers in order to maintain a healthy business.

Education Bachelor's or master's degree in finance or business administration
Licensure Series 7 and Series 63 or 66 license necessary to work as a company representative
Job Skills Self-motivated, detail-oriented, good at research, proficient with computers, analytical, problem-solving, communication, and customer service skills
Median Salary (May 2015)* $89,160 (personal financial advisors)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 30% (personal financial advisors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Required Education

A 4-year bachelor's or a master's degree in finance or business administration with additional coursework in statistics, economics and business is required for prospective financial investment advisors. While employers do not expect financial investment advisors to possess licenses before being hired, advisors will need to receive a Series 7 and Series 63 or 66 license in order to act as a representative of the company that hires them. Lastly, while not required, becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) by passing the related exam can make a financial investment advisor more marketable, both to employers and customers.

Skills Required

Financial investment advisors must be self-motivated, detail-oriented, good at research, proficient with computers, analytical and good problem solvers in order to deal with all the work that comes with this position. The core, fundamental skill of financial investment advising rests in communication because successful investment advisors have excellent customer service skills, are good at sales and can explain complex financial plans clearly.

Vocational Information and Salary Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual income of personal financial advisors, including financial investment advisors, was $89,160 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). With a 30% increase in employment predicted between 2014 and 2024, personal financial advisors will see much faster than average growth due to an aging population requiring retirement advice; however, competition will remain strong when openings are available. Self-employment becomes an option for financial investment advisors who have been in the business for several years and have the skills to open and run an independent financial investment advising company.

Alternative Careers

Other occupations involving finance include the following:

Financial Analyst

If providing sound investment recommendations after conducting research into companies and market trends sounds intriguing, consider a career in financial analysis. Financial analysts perform many duties that include exploring historical records, interviewing company executives, examining corporate financial statements and compiling finding into detailed reports.

A bachelor's degree in a related field such as economics, finance, accounting or statistics is how most enter this profession. A Master of Business Administration degree may also be required by some employers. As with financial advisors, financial industry licensing is necessary for many jobs, but is often obtained after hire. The BLS has projected a 12% increase in job opportunities for financial analysts during the 2014-2024 decade. In 2015, the median annual wage for these professionals was $80,310, as stated by the BLS.

Financial Manager

For those with an interest in overseeing the financial activities and practices at a company, becoming a financial manager may be a good career choice. Financial managers direct the work of accounting and budgetary staff, explore methods of cost reduction, study financial reports, make sure regulatory requirements are met, explore expansion options and put together reporting documents.

A bachelor's degree in business administration, finance economics or accounting and years of work experience are the minimum requirements for employment in this field. However, a master's degree is becoming a more common requirement. The Association for Financial Professionals is one of several professional organizations offering certification that could be beneficial when seeking employment.

According to the BLS, financial managers earned a median salary of $117,990 in 2015. These managers should expect to see an employment increase of 7% between 2014 and 2024, based on BLS projections, which is about average compared to other sectors.

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