How to Become a Financial Planner

A financial planner assists clients with the finances, which may include budgets, as well as investments, assets, benefits and insurance ,and to become a personal financial planner, there are many financial planner certification and education programs.


To pursue certification with as a certified financial planner (CFP) you will need to complete an undergraduate degree, within five years of applying to become a CFP, to become a certified CFP. In addition, you will need to pursue certification for the products that you would like to sell or administer as a financial planner. For example, if you sell insurance products, most states will require that you have completed a certification program or license to sell insurance products in that state.

Certification programs and employers will also screen candidates based on their personal past conduct: this means no felony convictions, not more than one personal or business bankruptcy, and at least five years have elapsed since you claimed bankruptcy to apply, and that you have not lost your licence as a seller of other financial products due to personal misconduct.

Financial Planner Education Programs

Many financial planners possess at least an undergraduate degree, usually in business, or in the liberal arts. However, experience working in a bank or in the financial industry, such as selling insurance, may also qualify a person for an entry-level position in this field.

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards provides a directory by state and/or level of education to find financial planning programs. The programs listed will include distance learning courses, so it is not necessary to enter a classroom to train for this career. This website also includes information on upcoming certification exams.

Becoming a Financial Planner

Complete an undergraduate degree, in any field, though business, especially accounting, economics or the liberal arts are your best choices. Other degrees do not disqualify you from pursuing this career, but you will learn the basics of the financial industry while studying in these fields.

Look for opportunities to work one on one with clients and with financial institutions. The client relationship is important to all financial planner activities, so look for opportunities to work as a peer counselor, volunteer to help people complete their taxes or create budgets, or look for job opportunities with banks or other financial institutions.

Many financial planners are self-employed and are responsible for finding their own clients, so it is a good idea to make as many client contacts as possible, whether friends, family, volunteering and other social or public service engagement activities. It is also a good idea to join a professional association for marketing and professional development purposes.

Finding Employment

If you are a self-employed personal financial planner, you will need to network amongst family, friends and at social and professional meetings to make client contacts. You will also receive referrals, so developing a client referral program can be an asset for your business, which can be advertised on your professional services website.

If you prefer to work for an employer, many banks hire financial planners to assist their clients, as bank employees, but you will need to have all or most of the requisite credentials completed before applying to a financial institution.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nationwide average salary of personal financial planners is thirty-three dollars an hour, though this number will vary based on the number of clients you have and the types of products you sell.