Financial Planning – A Fascinating Career Option
Dreaming about a career that gives you a secure job, fame, money, career growth and satisfaction? A career as a financial planner can be your ideal career option. As a financial planner you need to work with numbers and with people. A course in financial planning teaches you how to save, spend and invest intelligently.
History of Financial Planning
The financial service sector has come a long way since the last decade. Earlier there were distinct divisions within the industry such as banks, brokers, agents, mutual fund agents and so on. So an individual needed to go to the bank for taking loans, consult brokers for investments. Mutual funds were a completely different sector.
This made people long for a holistic approach towards financial planning. There was need for planning for children’s education, retirement, emergencies etc. Thus, financial planning, a relatively young profession, emerged.
Professional financial planning takes a holistic approach towards managing an individual’s financial resources. Financial planners make recommendations for growing and preserving wealth, minimizing tax, retirement benefits, insurance, investment planning – and more, depending on the client’s financial status.
Financial Planning – an Overview
“Financial Planning is the process of managing the financial resources of an individual in a manner that helps him save and invest wisely.” As a financial planner you need to interact with people and find out about their needs.
Based on each individual’s financial strength, you will need to plan for their savings, taxes, retirement planning, investments and so on. Financial Planning equips you to create a comprehensive strategy to manage the financial resources.
A good financial planner has a deep understanding of investments, taxes, retirement issues, insurance, benefits and more. One of the most important assets of a financial planner is the ability to listen.
A Financial Planner helps his clients figure out their financial needs and work out a strategy to fulfill those needs. The various responsibilities include:
Defining client-planner relationship
Establishing the client-planner relationship
Gathering data for clients
Analyzing the financial resources
Evaluating client’s financial status
Developing and presenting Financial Planning Strategies
Reviewing of Financial strategies
Implementing the strategy
Monitoring the growth level of funds
Giving advice about investment and savings
Financial planners need to constantly interact with advisors, attorneys, accountants, trust officers, investment bankers, and tax officers.
Financial planning is an intensive research-based and stressful profession. Many financial planners device comprehensive plans for their clients, handle a specific interest and financial goal, planning for retirement, buying a home, investments, taxes etc.
A financial planner uses questionnaires and personal interviews to put together a client profile. The profile includes details on major issues like financial objectives, current income, investments, risk, expenses, tax returns, insurance coverage, retirement programs, estate plans, inheritance, benefits and more.
Though no formal criterion is set for becoming a financial planner, a bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting, statistics or finance is considered good. An in-depth knowledge of statistics, economics, accounting procedures, budgeting, financial analysis and business is essential.
A qualified financial planner, apart from being knowledgeable should also have certain basic interpersonal skills:
He/She should be a good listener
Self-confident, mature and understanding
Should be able to work independently
Ability to work under pressure
Diplomatic & energetic
Good conversational skills
The US News and World Report rate the career of a financial planner as one of the ten top-most professions today.
Increased investments by businesses and individuals are expected to result in faster-than-average employment growth for financial planners through 2012. In addition, quality of life has improved and people have started planning about retirement.
Financial planners can earn in several ways. Some in the form of fees charged to individual clients, some earn commissions on the investments; some receive a salary from their employer. However, a qualified planner can earn by all three of these ways i.e. a combination of fees, commission and salary.
Salaries for financial planners can vary widely, from $18,000 for entry-level planners to $1,20,000 for established ones. According to a recent financial survey, certified financial planners are earning average salaries of around $70,000 per year.