Skip to Content

How to Become a Certified Financial Planner With No Experience

Do you want to know the requirement needed to be a certified financial planner? If YES, here is a guide on how to become a financial planner with no experience.

A financial planner is a practicing professional who prepares financial plans for people which covers various aspects of personal finance such as cash flow, education, retirement, insurance, tax and estate planning.

Financial planners are tasked with using their skills and wealth of knowledge to help their clients to create a concrete financial plan in such a way as to ensure that they achieve their long term financial objectives. In other to help their clients draft out their future, the financial planner must first analyze some aspects of the client’s current financial condition such as their net worth, financial resources, lifestyle, preferences and goals.

A Detailed Guide on How to Become a Certified Financial Planner With No Experience

Having gathered these information, they can then make suggestions and recommendations as to how best the client in question can achieve the financial future that they envisage. To be a good financial planner, you will have to possess the following qualities;

Qualities of a Good Financial Planner

  • Good at finance: you must understand finance, debt, insurance, investment and other complex financial concepts.
  • Be good with people: as a financial planner, you should be good at relating with people because you will be helping them to pull their financial lives together.
  • Good at marketing: irrespective of how you will like to look at it, the job of a financial planner is like a sales business in the sense that you will have to find your own clients with the use of your marketing skills.
  • Ability to understand complex financial documents
  • Knowledge of financial products
  • Excellent presentation skills

In order to become a financial planner, you must first have a bachelor’s degree in a field such as accounting, finance, economics or business. Granted, a degree from any of these fields is not a legal requirement, yet, employers will prefer to hire someone who holds a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation as well as a degree.

In order to function effectively as a financial planner, you will have to first find out if you have the skills, interest and personality traits that are suitable for that career path. Here are a few traits that you should possess if you intend to be a financial planner.

  1. You have a desire to help people prepare for their financial future
  2. You enjoy meeting new people
  3. You enjoy getting to know about the needs and desires of your clients
  4. You have interest in giving people advice and guidance
  5. You wish to enter a career field that has unlimited earning potentials
  6. You are able to understand complex financial documents such as will, insurance policies and financial statements
  7. Respects clients confidentiality
  8. Willingness to “cold call” and “door knock” in order to develop your client base

Educational Requirement Needed to Become a Financial Planner

The educational requirements needed to become a financial planner (certified and otherwise) vary from region to region and even from employer to employer. Technically, it is possible to become financial planner without a degree and without certification, though, those who seriously want to pursue a career in financial planning will definitely pursue certification due to its many additional benefits.

In order to become a certified financial planner in the united states of America, you will need a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university (the accreditation must be recognized by the United States Department of Education at the time the degree was awarded).

There are no specifications as to what field the degree must be from, but a degree from fields such as accounting, finance, economics, business or mathematics is highly applicable to a financial planning career.

Next, you will have to work in the financial planning industry for at least three years, in a full time position that puts you in direct contact with financial planning, assisting an already established financial planner or teaching financial planning in an academic environment.

Getting Certified as a Financial Planner

When you have attained that, you will then have to take and pass the CFP examination which consists of three sessions that last a total of 10 hours. This examination can be taken three times in a year usually in March, July and November and can be written in over 50 test centers in various locations across the United States of America.

Alternatively, when you have earned your doctorate degree in business, economics or business management, become a licensed attorney or earned credentials as a certified public accountant, chartered financial consultant or chartered life underwriter.

You can then apply for a CFP board’s certification exam under the “challenge status”. What this implies is that even though the training does not include the typically course work that the board requires, its content can be considered to be equivalent. You can request for a transcript review of your prior education if necessary.

Next you should take a college-level “capstone” training course approved by the CFP board, designed to ensure that all the professionals that intend to enter from other fields have the necessary knowledge to act competently as CFP’s.

Average Income or Salary of Financial Planner

According to the data that was collect by the United States Bureau of Labor, the average salary of American workers in the personal financial advisor occupation group is about $67,520 per annum. So how do financial planners get paid?

How Do Financial Planners Make Money?

  • Commission: this is a fee that is charged for carrying out certain transactions. When a financial planner sells a stock, bond, mutual fund, insurance plan, they will get a percentage of that sale. This percentage varies according to the product in question.
  • Flat fee: here you simply charge a flat fee for the advice you give to your clients.
  • Management fee. You can also charge a particular fee for the amount of money you manage for your client. This fee is usually around one percent of the total amount of money that you are managing.
  • Base salary: financial planners can also be paid on a monthly basis by their employers (possibly along with a commission or bonus structure in addition to the main salary).

A lot of financial planners are employed on a full time basis or on contract basis by larger firms and organizations such as banks. On the other hand, financial planners can also be employed by small financial planning businesses or they can even be self-employed. Here is a list of organizations that have need for the services of a financial planner:

Organizations That Need the Services of a Financial Planner

  • Banks
  • Trust companies
  • Insurance agencies
  • Stock brokerage firms
  • Legal firms
  • Accounting firms
  • Self-employment
  • Mutual fund companies

In conclusion, looking at all the steps that are involved in becoming a finical planner, some people may be overwhelmed by the entire process. Here are steps that you can take today in order to make your goals a reality.

  • Take a financial planner to lunch and ask them certain questions like if they like their job, how long it took them to become a financial planner, what their average day is like et al.
  • Sign up for a finance, investment, banking or economics course to start learning the basics.
  • Get an internship at an investment banker brokerage firm. This will teach you financial terminologies and transactions and will allow you to gain on the job experience.