Financial Counselor Career Info

If you are good at managing money and are interested in helping other people, you might be interested in a career as a financial counselor.

Education

Since financial counselors need to be very knowledgeable, most employers will require you to have a college degree. Usually the best majors are ones related to finance, accounting, or marketing. In very rare cases, firms may hire people who only have a high school education as long as they have extensive experience in the financial or business sectors.

You should be aware that many companies that hire financial counselors require you become certified through your state sponsored Certified Personal Finance Counselor (CPFC) program.

Licenses

To be able to give their clients the best possible advice and information, financial counselors need to stay up-to-date with the latest developments about things like stocks, bonds, CD’s, insurance policies, money market funds, retirement account options, etc. And since the financial services industry is heavily regulated by both state and federal governments, financial advisors must be licensed in order to ensure they have a proper training in various types of industry legislation and planning concepts.

If you want to offer a wide variety of services to your clients, you will also want to get your insurance producer license. To do so, you will need to check your state’s Department of Insurance requirements. Many times you will have to attend an approved classroom insurance training class, but sometimes you can simply complete a home study course. This training will help you get the information you will need in order to pass your state’s insurance-provider license exam. This test ensures you have a grasp of industry practices, ethics, sales standards, as well as methodology and general techniques. Only after you have successfully passed this test that will you be able to sell insurance products.

In addition, you should obtain your federal securities license. To get this license you will need to attend a securities training class. This training will prepare you for the highly complex and technical nature of buying/selling stocks and conducting other transactions on behalf of your clients. You will also want to find a securities broker-dealer to sponsor you since only those with formal sponsorship can sit for the exam.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), careers in the field of financial counseling will grow much faster than average due to the high number of consumers who are using their credit cards and taking out loans that they are struggling to repay. The greatest growth is projected to be in urban areas where they population is highly concentrated.

 The average annual full time salary for financial counselors is usually somewhere in the range of $30,000 to $40,000 per year, not including bonuses or commissions.

While becoming a financial counselor can take a lot of time, money, and energy, the reward of helping others become fiscally stable can be well worth the effort.