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How do I Choose the Best Financial Advisor Program?

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  • Written By: Paul Woods
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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Choosing the best financial advisor program is a process in which the prospective advisor makes an inventory of his or her needs and matches those to the best program available. Becoming a financial advisor requires a college degree, various certifications, training and ongoing support. The best program will be one that is locally available for the prospective advisor, or in a place the advisor is willing to relocate; offers the level of certification or training required; and, typically, results in employment. Often, prospective employers will provide training in exchange for the new advisor joining that firm.

If the prospective advisor does not have a university-level degree, the best financial advisor program might be at a university. In the United States there are many colleges or universities that offer degrees in financial planning. These types of programs often include completing required certifications as a prerequisite of earning a degree. Schools that offer financial planning degrees also typically have job placement networks to help the potential advisor find a firm with which to work.

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For the prospective advisor with a degree, the best financial advisor program could be either a company that specializes in training for the required certifications or a financial advisory firm that will provide such training. For financial advisors in the U.S., Series 7 and Series 63 securities licenses, at a minimum, are required to work with clients on investments and to actually sell securities. A life insurance license also is usually required as a financial plan typically includes a life insurance component. A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certificate is not a required to be a financial planner, but many companies require that their advisors attain this designation, often within the first few years of seeing clients.

A financial advisor with a university degree and required certifications usually needs training and mentoring from experienced professionals. The best financial advisor program for certified graduates will offer training in acquiring clients, assessing client financial needs, creating a plan, selling the plan and monitoring the plan on an ongoing basis. Many firms offer a turn-key program for college graduates that provide certification, training and ongoing support once initial training is complete.

The best financial advisor program will meet the current needs of the prospective financial advisor. If the advisor does not have a university degree, the best program usually is a college offering a degree in that field. An advisor with a degree should attempt to join a financial advisory firm that offers certification, training and support.

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