Monday, May 6, 2013

How to Become a Financial Planner


Yesterday I went to an optometry store and had an eye test done, so I had a chance to talk to one of customer representative while waiting. One interesting topic we were talking about is "how to become a financial planner". As there has been quite some people asked me this question before, I think it makes sense for me to spend some time to write about it as it was a goal I planned to achieve a few years ago.
First of all, you want to work in the financial industry. As financial planners are usually working for banks, credit unions, investment firms, I will suggest you to start with applying for a job in those types of companies.
Once accepted, you can begin with some work positions in entry-level such as administrators or tellers to communicate with customers on regular base, because this is a foundation. Financial planners need to ask proactive questions to customers about themselves and their family in order to better understand their whole financial picture and determine the financial needs from the customers, so excellent communication skill is a must.
While you are getting familiar with your daily job, learn more about the company structure and talk to your peers to gain chances to job shadow a financial planner. This serves as a basic understanding of what the job is about and you will see if it's a good fit to yourself. At the same time, you need to get some credentials done in order to earn a title called Certified Financial Planner (CFP), which is an industry standard to be eligible for this job. For detailed information about the designation, I will suggest you to check out the institution who is offering the relative education. Here in Canada, we use a website, csi.ca.
In order to become a financial planner, you need to first be licensed to sell mutual funds and/or other investment products in your area. This will give you more opportunities to employ more tools in the future to manage the overall financial affairs. Secondly you need to life insurance licensed to sell financial products to protect potential loss that has huge impact to life.
In a nut shell, financial planning can be divided into a few steps:
  1. Saving - this is about to manage your budget and save the extra income for rainy days
  2. Investing - once saved up some money, to invest them smartly for a better return and also deal with inflation risk for a long time period
  3. Protection - protect yourself from disability and protect you family for loss of income if something happens to you
  4. Plan for future - To manage your goal for retirement and prepare for your estate as well.

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