What is a Personal Financial Advisor?
A personal financial advisor is a professional who provides financial advice and services to clients based on their specific needs.
Personal Financial Advisors have the expertise and experience to provide solutions tailored to their clients’ needs, avoid costly mistakes and mitigate risk, as well as offer a range of services and products aligned with current goals and future customers. Some financial advisors receive a fixed fee for their advice, while others earn commissions on the sale of investments.
Key points to remember
- Personal Financial Advisors are professionals who provide tailored financial advice and services to clients.
- In the United States, financial advisors hold FINRA Series 7 and 66 or Series 65 licenses and may hold various designations, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP).
- Financial advisors first develop a financial plan for their clients, which assesses their current and future financial needs and considers many facets of their lives.
- Good financial plans are fluid and will keep the client informed of changes that affect them and their investments.
- Personal financial advisors can be compensated in the form of a fixed fee, a commission or a percentage of the client’s assets.
Understanding Personal Financial Advisors
Finding a personal financial advisor can be a daunting and confusing task as there are many financial services professionals whose duties are similar to those of financial advisors. Professional organizations such as the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) can help you find advisors in your area.
When choosing a financial advisor, it is important to check their background and references. For example, ask them if they have FINRA licenses or professional titles.
Many personal financial advisors choose to join wealth management firms like Fidelity, Vanguard and Charles Schwab that provide personalized financial advice to high net worth clients and individuals. Some large asset managers like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs also have strong wealth management services to high net worth individuals.
When meeting a potential financial advisor, always ask if they have a fiduciary duty yours. This means they have a legal obligation to act in your best financial interests.
Types of Personal Financial Advisors
In the United States, financial advisers must hold Series 7 and Series 66 or Series 65 licenses of the Financial Sector Regulatory Authority. In addition, each state requires Series 63 license before an investment adviser can operate within its borders.
In addition to these qualifications, some advisors are looking for additional credentials who demonstrate their knowledge of the various financial fields. Possible additional qualifications include:
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP): means expertise in all areas of financial planning, including tax, insurance, estate planning and retirement.
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): Indicates an in-depth study of accounting, economics, money management, and security analysis.
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC): Indicates completion of nine college-level courses on topics related to financial planning, such as tax laws, asset protection, and employee benefits.
- Registered Investment Advisor (RIA): authorized to advise clients on various securities and manage their portfolios.
Some of the FINRA series requirements may be waived for individuals who hold any of these qualifications. In addition to the required financial expertise, each of these study programs requires a strong awareness of the ethical requirements of financial planners. These designations are good indicators of an advisor’s experience and education.
Before providing advice and recommending products and services, financial advisors create financial plans for their clients. This involves a full assessment of their current and future financial situation. It also takes into account essential and basic information, such as age (temporary horizon), financial goals (saving for education, buying a home, preserving capital, or generating income) and appetite for risk and reward.
Creating a financial plan requires considering each client’s education, net worth, and financial experience. Other aspects of financial plans may include tax obligations, asset allocationand future retirement and estate plans.
A good personal financial advisor will not reuse models on different clients. While the majority of financial plans will include research and consideration of the client’s life goals, wealth transfer plans and projected spending levels, a personal financial advisor should take the time to incorporate the unique aspects of the journey. each client’s financial situation, including attitudes toward investing, budgeting, and ongoing education on financial topics.
A good financial plan will alert an investor to changes that need to be made to ensure a smooth transition through life’s financial phases, such as decreasing expenses or changing asset allocation. Financial plans should also be fluid, allowing for occasional updates.
How do you become a personal financial advisor?
There are several different paths to becoming a personal financial advisor, but most of them require at least a bachelor’s degree. Financial advisors are required to pass the FINRA Series 7 and Series 65 or 66 exams, although these exam requirements can sometimes be waived for those with more advanced credentials. Many counselors choose to demonstrate deeper knowledge by earning certifications such as the CFP, CFA, or ChFC, which require additional education and work experience.
How much does a personal financial advisor cost?
There are several different fee structures for financial advisors. Many advisors charge a percentage of the client’s assets under management. This is usually around 1% or 2%, although larger portfolios may be charged a lower percentage. Others may charge a package, usually around $1,500 to $3,000, to create your financial plan. Some advisors may also receive a commission based on product sales, although this practice is controversial due to possible conflicts of interest.
Where Do Personal Financial Advisors Work?
While many financial advisers operate independently, the majority work for financial institutions such as brokers, insurance companies, banks and investment firms.