How to Become a Financial Advisor

Doug Greenberg

March 25, 2023

If you’re looking for a career that can offer you financial stability and help you reach your goals, consider becoming a financial advisor. A financial advisor helps clients with holistic financial planning, including a broad understanding of their finances, goals, and budgets. They can advise on investment strategies, insurance coverage, and tax-reducing techniques.

Education and Training

Financial advisors receive a rigorous education and training that equips them with the skills to help clients make financial decisions. These individuals assess their client’s income, liabilities, and expenses to determine how well they can meet short-term and long-term goals.

They also work to improve essential soft skills, such as analytical thinking and sales. These skills are necessary to create effective investment portfolios and grow their client roster.

These professionals are also required to obtain various licenses and certifications, depending on the type of services they provide. They may need to pass licensing exams conducted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and state insurance exams in the states they sell insurance products.

The degree or certification that best suits your career path depends on your interests and the types of financial advisory work you want to do. A bachelor’s degree in business or economics is the most common choice, but you can also pursue a master’s degree or other credentials.

Licenses and Certifications

Financial advisors advise on various issues, including investment planning and retirement savings. Having the right certifications and experience to be a successful financial advisor would be best.

There are several paths that financial advisor can take to become licensed in the industry. Among them are becoming a registered representative of an investment adviser (RIA) or broker-dealer, working for an insurance company, or selling products directly to clients.

Each of these pathways has its own set of licensing and exam requirements. If you choose the path of a broker-dealer, you must complete FINRA registration and pass two license exams. Those are the 2-hour Series 6 for selling mutual funds or variable annuities and the 6-hour Series 7 for selling stocks, bonds, options, and other securities-related products.

In addition to the series licenses, you may also want to earn additional higher education and specialized certifications that demonstrate your mastery of a specific topic and can open the door to advanced career opportunities, management positions, and higher salaries. Consider pursuing a master’s degree in business administration or finance, exploring programs tailored to your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to succeed in this competitive field.

Work Experience

Financial advisors help clients achieve their financial goals, such as purchasing a home or paying for school. They also advise them on investments and insurance. The job requires strong customer service skills and an understanding of financial markets. Analytical thinking is also important.

Some jobs require certifications, such as the Certified Financial Planner credential. These credentials are obtained after graduating from an undergraduate program and acquiring at least three years of experience in financial planning.

A bachelor’s degree in business, accounting, finance, or economics is typically required for a career as a financial advisor. However, you can enter the industry with a non-finance degree and learn on the job.

Having a passion for numbers and a desire to provide financial guidance to people is also helpful. This is because it takes a lot of personality and interpersonal skills to build a trusting relationship with your clients.


If you want to become a financial advisor, it is important to understand that networking is an essential part of the process. It helps you develop a mentor and mentee relationship with other financial advisers, build trust, and gain client referrals.

Networking can also help you land your first long-term client. In addition, it can allow you to expand your business and build a network of contacts.

One way to develop a strong network is to attend events and meet-ups in your area. Join local clubs and community organizations, and sign up for pro-bono events.

For example, if you are a financial adviser who works with business owners, you can organize an expo or speaker series that supports small businesses in your area. These events can help you support current business owner clients and introduce yourself to local small business owners you have never met.

Developing your network can also involve selecting the right social media platforms. For instance, TikTok may be perfect for attracting young professionals, while Facebook can help connect with business owners near your local area.