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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What is the importance of a Certified Financial Planner?

By Samantha Asher

A CFP is a Certified Financial Planner. Like a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you have to have a certain amount of education, a certain amount of experience, and you have to take an exam. You also have to pass an ethics test. Ethics is very important, especially when it comes to money and business. A financial planner, or financial adviser, is someone who helps ordinary people plan their finances, plan for retirement, and make investments.

If you have an extensive knowledge of finances, you love to plan and budget your finances, and you often find yourself giving financial advice to friends and family, you might be considering doing it as a career. Financial advising can be a very lucrative business on top of helping others achieve their financial dreams when they don't have the same knowledge and expertise. Financial advising is a great career to get into.

Before you jump into anything though, you need to understand that it will take a bit of work. You don't have to be certified to be a financial planner or adviser, but it will make getting a job and getting clients much easier and you will make more money. You need to have an education. Without one, very few people will trust you and it will be very difficult to develop a good reputation. A bachelor's degree in Accounting or Finance, or a double major in both, is a great starting point.

In order to become certified, you need to have a significant education. If you are already a CPA, you are set to go. Otherwise, you will need to look up the standards, and quite possible go on to an MBA. Experience is key as well. Get a job in the financial field, working with a financial adviser if you can. Study hard and take the necessary exams.

When you have finished your education, experience, ethics, and exam requirements, and are certified, you can begin your career. As a financial adviser, you can work in a firm or work alone with your own business.

People skills are important in financial planning and advising. Without them you will not be able to hold on to clients. If you are week in this area, look into strengthening them. Try public speaking classes or getting a job that works with people.

Begin looking for clients as soon as you are set up with your job or practice. Ask people you know if you they need advising or look into the ties you already have. Networking is a key part of building clients.

Hopefully with all the work you will have put into your certification you will be off to a solid career. If you think this is something you could do, take it further.

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