The role of a financial advisor is broad. Generally speaking, their job is to guide clients through the confusing and sometimes overwhelming landscape of investing, taxation, real estate, and financial management. At the end of the day, the goal of financial advisors is to help each of their clients get enough money to spend during their lifetimes, and in some cases, protect and preserve a portion for future generations. A person can also hire a financial advisor for a specific goal, such as financing their child’s college education or buying a vacation home. Therefore, in addition to personal advisors and confidantes, financial advisors may also be required to act as all-purpose financial advisors;
- Generally speaking, a financial advisor’s job is to help each client get enough money during their lifetime, but a person can also hire a financial advisor for specific goals, like financing a child’s college education or buying a vacation home.
- When deciding on a college major, a consultant’s area of expertise may relate to stocks, retirement, education, taxes, insurance, real estate, or financial planning.
- A good prospect for a student entering college to become a financial advisor is to pursue a business degree with a specialization in finance.
- One of the benefits of a career as a financial advisor is that a college major is not required to enter the profession.
Financial advisors come from a variety of academic backgrounds. The tutor’s area of expertise may be relevant when deciding on a college major. Some professional topics that financial advisors can focus on include stocks, retirement, education, taxes, insurance, real estate, and financial planning.
For example, a financial advisor working for an investment brokerage might need a different set of skills than a fee-based financial planner who only has his own small business. Additionally, many financial advisors must receive specialized training on top of their chosen college degrees to pass the necessary licensure exams. For an aspiring financial advisor, here are some college degrees that can prepare you for a career.
Finance Professional Business Degree
A good prospect for one who wants to become a financial advisor is to pursue a business degree with a specialization in finance. While studying business, students develop a broad understanding of banking and economics, an important topic in understanding financial planning. Plus, focusing on finance can give you insight into how to value a business, stock, or other financial product.
Some universities also offer financial planning majors and certificate programs. For example, San Diego State University offers a bachelor’s degree in financial services and a certificate in personal financial planning. Overall, a business major’s strong quantitative and analytical background is a big plus for the financial advisory industry. With a business degree and a concentration in financial planning, the sometimes required graduate program financial advisor licensure can be minimized. 1
A degree in economics, a finance program, can also provide the foundation for aspiring financial advisors. Economics covers global and broad macroeconomic concepts, as well as important microeconomic topics such as monetary and fiscal policy. Financial advisors with a solid understanding of the economy are better equipped to help clients navigate business and financial market cycles.
In general, you can’t go wrong with a business or economics major, and both can serve as a good foundation for a career in financial planning or consulting. To earn a degree in Accounting, Economics, Marketing, Finance, and Management, the foundational courses you must complete will help you transition into the field of financial planning.
While a business or economics degree is better suited for future financial advisors, a person who decides to enter the field of financial planning after college or later in college studies may successfully enter the field of financial planning without a business or economics degree. This is one of the benefits of a career as a financial advisor; no college major is required to enter this career.
Liberal Arts, Communication Studies or Psychology Degree
A liberal arts degree or even a communication or psychology degree can provide important communication and analytical skills. While understanding investing and business concepts is important, much of a financial advisor’s job is dealing with people and their emotions about money. The ability to communicate with clients and build relationships are equally important skills.
Money and financial issues can be highly emotional issues. Psychology majors learn about emotions, fear, anxiety, and how the brain works, a training that helps financial advisors handle client relationships;
Communications majors also benefit from analytical skills and the ability to make complex topics simple. A planner with a communications degree can be a successful financial advisor when complemented by financial and investment concepts.
Some financial advisors want to be able to advise their clients on buying and trading stocks. Even just advising about investing requires a license. Likewise, financial advisors to insurance companies require additional licenses to sell and advise specialized insurance products. These licenses require timely courses and exams.
In general, liberal arts teach sound reasoning and analytical skills. Advisors with excellent critical thinking skills will be well-prepared to present options to clients when putting together and presenting financial plans.
There is no college-required professional financial advisor in a career. That said, certain degrees can offer aspiring financial advisors some advantages. Obtaining licensure is not necessarily a requirement of a financial advisor, and depending on your major, you may need to pursue additional research and certification before beginning to practice as a financial advisor. At the end of the day, aspiring applicants can have a successful career as financial advisors with a variety of different college majors.