Financial consultants, sometimes also called financial advisors or wealth managers, help individuals and organizations manage their finances. They provide advice about investment strategies, estate planning, retirement plans and taxes. Financial professionals may work for banks, brokerage firms, credit unions, insurance companies or other independent businesses. They may be credentialed with various designations, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP).
People often hire financial consultants for a variety of reasons. They might be looking for advice on how to invest their money, need help creating a budget, or want assistance paying off debt. Other times, people will hire a consultant to help them cope with a major life event, such as the death of a spouse or a divorce.
A financial consultant will assess a client’s current finances to determine their assets, liabilities and short- and long-term goals. They will then create a plan to help the client reach their financial goals. This can include helping them set up retirement accounts, determine how much they need to save for retirement, and identify suitable investments. Financial consultants can also assist with estate planning, tax strategy and college funding.
The career requires a lot of work. As a financial professional, you will need to stay up-to-date on changing regulations, market conditions and new investing trends. You will also need to be comfortable discussing a client’s personal and financial information in a sensitive manner.
Some financial consulting jobs require a bachelor’s degree in a subject like finance, accounting or economics. In some cases, a master’s degree is also required. In addition to these qualifications, you will need to become licensed and/or certified for certain areas of practice. Many financial professionals pursue CFP certification, but there are other credentials available as well, such as the chartered financial analyst (CFA) and the certified public accountant (CPA).
People who work in this profession generally earn a steady salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial professionals can expect their salaries to rise steadily as consumer demand for their services increases. Independent financial consultants are able to control their own working hours, which can be helpful in achieving a better work-life balance.
If you’re thinking about hiring a financial consultant, be sure to look for one who is a fiduciary and only accepts fees. Fiduciaries are legally and ethically committed to always acting in their clients’ best interests. This can prevent conflicts of interest and other ethical violations.