What do financial planners actually do?
As a financial planner, or financial advisor, your job will revolve around working directly with clients and business, helping them to navigate the principles of personal finance. Essentially, you’re an expert in advising people on how to best achieve their financial objectives.
Depending on your preferences and career goals, financial planners may work independently or within a larger investment firm. Environment or service structure aside, the job description is pretty similar across the board. Either way, you’ll be working with individuals, families and businesses to help them in understanding their financial situation, and realise both their short-term and long-term monetary goals.
What does a typical day-in-the-life look like for a financial planner?
Upon first meeting with clients, you’ll be given any relevant financial information during a preliminary conversation. At this point, the client will answer questions regarding their:
- Annual income
- Debt obligations
- Tax liabilities
- Current investment holdings
- Savings account balances
- Insurance plans
After gathering and analysing all of this information, a financial planner will propose a realistic plan of action tailored to the client’s goals. This phase involves discussing various topics, including debt management, saving and investment strategies, and personal budgeting. Depending on the client’s specific requirements, considerations such as estate planning, protection planning, retirement, and monetary distribution plans may also come into play.
Where do financial planners begin their career journeys?
Typically, financial planners will begin their career by first pursuing the necessary professional qualifications, before securing practical experience. Let’s take a look at some common first steps you’ll take on your journey to becoming a financial planner:
- Education: Most financial planners have degrees in fields like finance, economics, accountancy, or business. A degree, while not obligatory, offers a strong knowledge foundation and essential industry skills.
- Qualifications: To enhance credibility and establish authority, financial planners often pursue the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) qualification. This entails completing specific educational requirements, passing a comprehensive exam, meeting experience criteria, and upholding ethical standards.
- Practical Experience: Vital for developing the skills and knowledge to effectively work with clients, practical experience is key for financial planners. Many start in entry-level roles at financial planning firms, banks, or financial services companies. This provides exposure to client interactions, regulatory practices, and diverse products and services.
- Networking: without a doubt, building a network of professional contacts is a vital part of financial planning. Who knows where a connection could take you? Mentorships with more experienced planners are common in the industry too. By joining certain associations, attending conferences and getting involved in networking events, aspiring planners can gain a priceless insight into this sector.
- Specialise: what happens next? As knowledge and experience improves, financial planners might be drawn to specialising in a particular area of planning. Specific areas might be retirement planning, tax planning or investment management. By specialising, financial planners can solidify their expertise even further and attract clients with more niche requirements. Furthermore, given that regulations, tax laws, and investment protocols are subject to constant evolution over time, consistent professional development is crucial to stay on top. Continuous learning through workshops, courses and seminars can help in keeping you up to date with industry trends.
It is important to note that every career path will differ from planner to planner, depending on circumstances, interests and personal goals. Some people might start off independently, while others may join established organisations.
Perks of the Job: what benefits come with the role of a Financial Planner?
There are many upsides to becoming a Financial Planner, let’s take a look at a few of them:
- Financial Stability: this is a profession that offers huge potential for securing a stable income and long-term growth. As individuals and businesses always need assistance in finance management, the demand for planners remains high.
- Making a Difference: as a profession that revolves around understanding a very personal aspect of life (people’s money), being a financial planner offers the opportunity to make a real positive difference to someone’s life. By providing guidance and expertise, you’ll help clients, families and individuals refining their situation or achieve their financial goals. As you’re playing a key role in improving clients’ financial wellbeing and quality of life, the impact is super rewarding.
- Intellectual Stimulation: This position requires a sustained level of analysis of complex situations, strategy development and staying up-to-date with market trends. So, if you enjoy problem-solving and critical thinking, this a fab role to keep your brain engaged.
- Autonomy and Flexibility: Planners often have the flexibility to work independently or within a firm, allowing for a level of autonomy and control over their own hours or workload. You can choose your own clients, set schedules that work best for you, and design your practice in a way that aligns with your personal goals.
- High-Earning Potential: money ain’t everything, but it matters right? While income can depend on various factors, financial planning offers the potential for high earning potential. Successful financial planners who build up a strong client base and consistently deliver results will earn a significant income.
- Job Satisfaction: At the end of the day, everyone wants to go home after work and feel satisfied with their day, that they’ve completed work to the best of their ability, and made even a tiny impact. Helping clients achieve their financial goals and witnessing their progress can be highly rewarding. Financial Planners often report a sense of fulfilment from seeing the positive results they achieve with their clients, leading to a better overall sense of fulfilment and job satisfaction.
Salary ranges for a Financial Planner
- Entry-Level Financial Planners: The salary typically falls between £25,000 and £40,000 per year
- Experienced Financial Planners: As financial planners gain experience, earning potential increases. If you’re experienced, the annual salary will generally range from £40,000 to £80,000.
- Senior Financial Planners or Wealth Managers: extensive experience, a substantial portfolio and specialised expertise could land you in a salary of £80,000-£150,000 or more per year. Now that’s big bucks!
Please note that these salary ranges are approximate, and will vary depending on location, firm size, industry specialisation, and performance. Moreover, a central London firm will likely offer higher salaries compared to other regions. Additionally, compensation structures in UK financial planning differ, encompassing base salary, commissions, bonuses, and profit-splitting arrangements.
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