Sometimes people find themselves able to offer certain services for financial returns. Take for instance those who started careers in entertainment, broadcasting, advertisement, business development, business management and so on without actually being formally trained. Or certain people who stumbled into certain careers by mistake but they made a resounding success out of it. One could say that they were gifted for such. Some might claim that since they are achieving so much success, they no longer need any kind of formal training. But the truth is, if anyone wants to continue to grow in any field, whether they got into it by mistake or by natural talent, they would need some type of formal training. Not to mention if the profession is something as important as telling people what to do with their finances.
Exploring the possibilities of practicing as a financial advisor without a degree is the major theme for this article today. But the question really is this “would you want to be telling someone what to do with their money without proper training?” That question is so important because it determines how far one is willing to go if they want to have a long-lasting career as a financial advisor. Before answering this question, we must look at the importance of a financial advisor.
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WHO IS A FINANCIAL ADVISOR?
Stock brokers, Insurance Agents, Tax preparer, Investment managers, Financial planners, Bankers even Estate planners could all be labelled as financial advisors. Money is a very important part of life especially if you have a lot of it, you would want to know how to secure all that money.
Usually when one comes into money, people would always offer advise on how to handle the money, but the best thing to do when we receive large sums of money is to get professional to help us develop ways to grow our money.
Therefore, a financial advisor is one who gives professional advice to people on what to do with their money.
A financial advisor;
Assists in achieving financial objectives
We all have financial objectives we so earnestly desire to achieve. Some of us want to buy a new home, save up for some type of higher education, increase our purchasing power, etc. Sometimes we cannot grow our finances to the point where we are able to do these things.
Honestly, some of us would like to do more with our lives, but when we look at the amount of money we make, we tend to become discouraged. A financial advisor will show a person from the standpoint of a trained person, on how to reach their financial goals by implementing various changes to their financial practices. A financial advisor knows the money business and understands how to work the money so it grows over time.
With the help of a proper financial advisor, a person can move from being just an average person financially to actually being rich, just like a person who was unfit, can become fit with the help of a trainer. All we need most times is proper advice on what to do with the money we have.
Develops plans for finances
Financial plans show the clients how to position their finances so that these goals can be achieved, or so that money would not be wasted by the client. The financial advisor should be skilled in looking at the present financial level of the client, develop structures that allows the client place their finances in ways that will eventually produce the kind of results the client needs. This way the client has an idea what their money is doing at every point in time, however the client would have to learn to stick to the plan. Most times due to personal crisis in life, emotional pain or even overexcitement about various development, a client may want to do things with their assets or finances that is not in the plan. It is part of the financial advisor’s job to make sure the client sticks with the plan.
Creates new income
It is no surprise that when one thinks about income, they think about going to work in the morning and coming back at night, in order to receive their wages either at the end of the week or month. Many survive on this, from these wages they usually pay the rent, other bills and do a lot of other things. So, for the average person, income is tied to actively working. But when one begins to expand their horizons on financial matters, they begin to realize that there are ways to ensure that the money one makes can work for them. One of the ways of course is to invest in a profitable business, it could be one’s own personal business or another person’s. But the idea is when one puts their money into that financial asset called the business, the money works for them without one necessarily having to be there. However, another way in which to generate income is through what is called passive income.
Fine-tunes and establishes budgets
Budgeting may seem like a simple enough thing to do when one thinks about it, but for many it is a challenge. One of the major challenges being the ability to recognize priorities within the ever-changing desires most people have. Most people may complain that they do not earn enough money to do a lot of things, but the truth sometimes is their poor approach to budgeting. If some would simply look at how much passes through their bank accounts yearly they would realize that they have more money than they think. This is especially experienced among the middle class, anyone who finds themselves in this category has a chance of changing their financial status for the better but it would require great discipline and sacrifice.
For example, I will use the illustration of one desiring to lose weight; sometimes the approach for most people is to starve themselves so they can lose the weight dramatically. But the challenge with that most times is that people who try this approach end up eating back the weight they lost because of some type of re-lapse into some cravings.
But if they take the gradual approach, begin to work out at the gym, eat proper meals, listen to their trainers, they would develop the discipline needed to sustain the lifestyle that keeps them in shape.
This is what budgeting will do to a person’s financial life; one of the reasons why most do not budget properly is because they have not been known to stick with the budget. A financial advisor helps the client develop a budget, just like the trainer helps his client develop a diet and an exercise plan.
Advice on numerous investments
Multiple streams of income is the dream people who desire to be rich. Our ideal situation should be making money from our day jobs mixed with income from one or two other side businesses, then maybe other passive income options. The truth is that in order for us to live the kind of lifestyle we envisage, and in order for us to make enough money to be contributing members of the community, we need to grow our financial capacity and this is done by one major way alone, increasing the number of investments we have.
Not all of us are knowledgeable in how to invest properly or even where to invest in, so we may need the help of a professional, one who is trusted to know what to do with money in order for it to grow over time.
Identify great financial opportunities
It takes a trained eye to see the opportunities in the financial world. It takes one who can effectively understand the patterns and trends of the financial markets to give solid advice on when to dive into the investment or pull out. Even if one is self-taught in dealing with financial opportunities, they would still need the informed counsel of a professional. To spot opportunities, one must have been in the financial game for a long time.
There are lots of events that present themselves as opportunities and nowadays there are so many things to invest in, including cryptocurrency, forex and so on. If one is not properly advised, they may lose a lot of money that probably came to their possession by luck.
WHEN DOES ONE NEED A FINANCIAL ADVISOR
We would have to understand that there are certain situations where a financial advisor is not needed or could simply be consulted only once. There are people who aren’t earning so much and can actually provide basic financial plans for themselves by themselves. There’s really not that much to work with and hiring a financial advisor then would be redundant. It will only make the person spend more money on a service that would not be beneficial to them.
However, there are specific times when hiring a financial advisor is very necessary. They are;
When a person needs a retirement plan
Let’s face it, we all have to retire at some point in time, it will be very frustrating if in our old age we still have to work as hard as we did in our mid-thirties and so on. In as much as some folks in their golden years may still have the strength to work, they certainly should not need to work. Hopefully they should have set up various financial structures throughout the years to ensure that they receive enough income to take care of them during retirement.
Setting something like this up in the earlier years is the job of a financial advisor.
When a person first gets employment
Gaining your first place of work is an amazing experience, not I’m not talking about petty work, but the kind that gives you the opportunity to have a financial future. Usually when a person gets this type of job, they would want to instantly buy the things they have think they require, those things that they probably couldn’t get because of a lack of money. But now it seems there’s lots of money to be spent, so many begin to spend recklessly. In times like these, you may need to get a financial advisor as quickly as possible. It would be very disappointing to work for about five long years and have no standing investment to support your income.
When a person has need for accountability
Whether we admit it or not, having someone who makes us account for what we do with our money gives us a sense of caution when we want to be with our finances. Like was stated above, some of our challenges is not a lack of money per se, but a lack of proper allocation of funds.
When one receives large amounts of money
This doesn’t happen always; large amounts of money may come as a result of a bonus from work, some break in business, an inheritance or winning the lottery. In whatever case, one of the first things to do when one receives such a thing is to hire a proper financial advisor. It has been public knowledge that people who come into large sums of money end up becoming broke again because either they didn’t hire a financial advisor or they didn’t listen to them if they had such people on their team.
When one wants to start a business
One of the things to do when intending to start a business is to get a financial advisor. A lot of proper steps are missed when people want to start a business; certain basic steps like putting together a business plan, hiring a consultant and so on are neglected. Usually when we receive the capital, we go ahead to start purchasing what we need to get the business going. If it is a transportation business, we buy the cars, if it is a place to sell products; we pay the rent for the shop space and purchase the items we intend to sell. Just like that we have simply jumped into the business.
But if one desires to be great in the business they want to start, they must learn to go through the proper channels. They must learn to do proper planning, pay attention to details and yes listen to their financial advisor on the matters that have to do with money.
When one is making a big life decision
Big decisions like relocating, buying a house or having a baby may need some type of look into the financial structures one has been living by in the past. It would be ill advised to embark on such decisions without a fresh set of eyes, especially coming from one who deals in these things for a living. For something like buying a house one needs to get into this kind of decision gradually and with the proper kind of strategy. Strategy is everything in this type of situation, should one go about it the wrong way, they could find themselves in a bad spot financially.
When one is getting married
Most people only think about the wedding day when the thought of marriage comes into the mind. But many do not realize that after the wedding comes the marriage and just like anything else, finances would be needed to make the marriage work. First of all, there are two different people coming together to live as one unit. When they were single, they each had their financial lives to handle by themselves. Some people are poor financial managers while others are great at it. Sometimes a certain party may have investments that may be affected by the marriage.
So, it is important for one to look after their financials properly and plan it well before entering the institution of marriage. A financial advisor when getting married would properly guide both parties into what it would be like financially when they are finally a unit.
When one is getting divorced
In as much as nobody wants to get a divorce, it happens and in times like that, both parties, especially the one that has assets and properties would have to know the financial implications of getting a divorce.
A financial advisor can help present both the financial dangers and financial advantages to getting a divorce. The advisor will inform the person in question on what their options are and the steps they can take into minimizing damages or maximizing opportunities.
When one’s investment has become more complex
When your finances are growing beyond your own ability to manage it properly, you need to involve a good financial advisor. It is possible to have the chance where one grows their income so much that they do not know exactly how to handle it. One of the saddest things would be to have had access to that much money and still come to the place where broke days arrive again. How many times do we hear of athletes, musicians, actors and so on, that made so much money in the past, and have to do petty jobs for a living many years later. Once one’s personal money becomes more complex than one can handle by themselves, they would need to hire a proper financial advisor.
When one wants to pass on wealth
Every wealthy person knows that eventually their wealth would have to be passed on to others either when they are gone or even when they are still alive. Understanding the best ways of making your wealth available to others would require some professional touch. For example, knowing the nature of the people you want to hand over your wealth to will give you the best set of packages to use in transferring the wealth. You could transfer it as a trust, so that in as much as the benefactor has possession over the wealth, they are still subject to an executor who has to approve all transactions the benefactor intends to make. Sometimes wealth is transferred in other financial packages that may be too complex for the simple person to understand.
THREATS TO THE FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Just like any other profession, the financial advisor will definitely have numerous factors threatening their existence. One of which is the rise of technology that is able to offer most if not all of the services a financial advisor can render. They are called robo-advisers in some settings, they carry out most of the work the financial advisor will do, but the financial advisor does not have to give up on his trade because of this because in as much as the robo-adviser can do a lot, there are still a lot of other things that a human being must do. One of which would be managing some excessive behaviors that may jeopardize the financial plans already set in motion. A machine cannot function by intuition; hence it takes a living breathing person to identify exactly what makes their clients spend emotionally. So, in as much as the computer based financial adviser may be a threat, there would always be a need for regular financial advisors.
The rising of new markets may pose another threat to the financial advisor as they may not have proper strategies on how to take advantage of these new markets. Take for example the time when social media was not as influential as it is now. Imagine that this new trend was just budding; because of the newness of this wave, financial advisors may not be able to advice on how to take full advantage of this emerging market. There is no real reference point to draw experience from, so it would be quite a challenge to advice investors on how to go about making their money work through investing in this market.
Another threat is the demand for specialization; more and more clients are looking for more specialization with their investment portfolio. You may find people looking for financial advisors who specialize in the beneficial outcomes of divorce or money markets and so on. So the average financial advisor would have to have a well-rounded knowledge of the many options out there for people to invest their money in.
Is It Possible to Become a Financial Advisor Without a Degree?
The fact that financial advisors are dealing with people’s livelihoods, futures and the major thing that sustains their economic existence, it is not advisable to get into such a profession without being properly trained. In fact, in some countries, one cannot practice as a financial advisor if they do not have at least a Bsc in economics, banking and finance or even mathematics. After this basic degree is gotten, they must take a few tests or exams.
While having academic degrees is advisable for the role of a financial advisor, they will still need to obtain licenses in order to operate properly. If one does not have a degree, they may be limited in how high they can go in the business. When people are looking for whom to advise them on their finances, they would rather choose a person who is trained, rather than one who simply has a flair for these things. The bottom line is that training cannot be over emphasized even if one may have a flair for investing and giving investment advice and has shown great success in the field.
So yes, a person can become a financial advisor without a degree only in certain countries, however if one is a financial advisor without a degree and it is allowed, they should use their new-found success to finance a degree so that they are not held back by anything as they advance in their profession.