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Personal Financial Advisors

Personal financial advisors evaluate the financial needs of their clients and help them with investments, insurance decisions and tax laws. Financial advisors help people develop retirement plans, create strategies for paying educational expenses and they help them evaluate and select a variety of investments.

Personal financial planners assist their clients with the planning of short-term and long term objectives. Some financial advisors specialize in areas such as estate planning or retirement. Personal financial advisors sometimes seek advise from financial analysts, lawyers and accountants.

Some sample job titles include certified financial planner, finance consultant, financial advisor, financial agent, financial coordinator, financial consultant, fiscal specialist, investment consultant, investment counselor, personal banker, wealth manager, personal financial planner and investment advisor.

In general, personal financial advisors have to find their own clients. They typically spend a lot of time marketing their financial services. They often meet prospective clients through social networking and by giving seminars. Building a customer base is a vital part of the occupation.

Many personal financial advisors have a license to directly buy and sell financial products including stocks, bonds, insurance products, annuities and derivatives.

Private bankers or wealth managers are regarded as personal financial advisors that work for clients that have a large amount of money to invest. These clients resemble institutional investors. Private bankers manage their clients' portfolios utilizing the resources of a bank. They typically, directly manage their clients' finances.


  • Set up consultations with clients
  • Develop a thorough financial plan for clients
  • Help clients select appropriate investments
  • Learn about clients finances and objectives
  • Update clients on potential investments
  • Build client base
  • Make adjustments to clients' financial plans
  • Answer clients' questions
  • Educate clients regarding risks and possible scenarios

Job Characteristics

Personal financial planners typically work in offices or in their homes. They sometimes meet with clients during the evenings and weekends in order to accommodate their clients' schedules. Personal financial planners also give seminars in order to meet potential clients. They should have strong analytical, math and interpersonal skills. They also need to have strong sales ability.

Employment Outlook

The employment growth of personal financial advisors is forecasted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow by 30 percent during the 2008-18 timeframe which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

The median annual earnings for wage and salaried personal financial advisors in 2008 was $69,050. Those that work for financial services companies are often provided a salary and bonuses. Advisors that work for planning or financial investment companies and those that are self-employed usually earn money by collecting a percentage of their client's assets that they manage.

Some financial advisors earn money by charging hourly fees or from fees they collect on stock and insurance purchases. Financial advisors often receive commissions on financial products they sell in addition to charging a fee.

Baby boomers should increase the demand for personal financial advisors. Many companies are using retirement savings programs instead of traditional pension plans, thus there is an increase in the amount of people that are managing their retirement savings programs. These individuals may increase the need for financial advisors.

Many individuals enter the occupation by working for banks and full-service brokerages. A college degree and certification can enhance credibility.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Personal financial advisors typically hold a bachelor's or a master's degree. They often earn a degree in finance, accounting, business, law, economics or mathematics. Beneficial courses include investments, risk management, estate planning and taxes. Some colleges and universities provide financial planning education programs.

Personal financial advisers that directly buy or sell stocks, bonds, insurance policies or specific investment advice must have a combination of licenses which varies based on the types of products they sell.

Certifications are not always necessary, however certification is recommended by many employers. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards offers the Certified Financial Planner credential. The credential requires three years of relevant experience, completing education requirements that includes a bachelor's degree, passing an examination and following a code of ethics.


Major Employers

Schools for Personal Financial Advisors are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Personal Financial Advisors Skills

Below are the skills needed to be personal financial advisors according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Active Listening44
Critical Thinking44
Judgment and Decision Making43.75
Reading Comprehension44.25

Personal Financial Advisors Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be personal financial advisors according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Deductive Reasoning44.5
Inductive Reasoning43.88
Oral Comprehension44.12
Oral Expression44.62
Written Comprehension44.12

Personal Financial Advisors Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be personal financial advisors according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Customer and Personal Service4.365.14
Economics and Accounting4.324.82
English Language3.714.21
Sales and Marketing3.644.71
Administration and Management3.574.43

Personal Financial Advisors Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being personal financial advisors according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Getting Information4.645.11
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards4.55.07
Interacting With Computers4.53.5
Making Decisions and Solving Problems4.55.92
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships4.485.26

Personal Financial Advisors Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being personal financial advisors according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work StyleImportance
Attention to Detail4.43
Concern for Others4.39

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Personal Financial Advisors

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Personal Financial Advisors jobs , as of 2019

Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim11,090 $94,420
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward7,100 $157,720
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach6,150 $118,230
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington4,960 $110,920
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell4,180 $109,840
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood3,640 $117,290
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land3,430 $102,450
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale3,360 $87,140
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis3,140 $109,880
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson3,070 $107,800

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to personal financial advisors

Source : 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,; O*NET® 24.3 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor,

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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Personal Financial Advisors.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.