Step by step – what you’ll need for a career in financial planning

  • Staff Reporter | May 24, 2018
Financial Planning - Career Path

How do I get started as a financial planner?

As a financial planner, you’ll be working with your clients to help them achieve their financial goals, whether that’s a comfortable retirement, buying their first home, or getting out of debt.

There are lots of benefits to a career as a financial planner; you’ll get to use your knowledge of international financial trends and financial products to solve problems close to home and see your clients benefit from your advice. That’s got to be a good feeling!

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But how do you get started as a financial planner? There are a few steps between where you are now and your first clients, so let’s get started!

Get qualified

The first thing you’re going to need to become a financial planner is the right qualifications. The laws around what training you need in order to provide financial advice are changing, but the crux of the new system is that all financial planners will need a bachelor’s degree in a course approved by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority.

Fortunately, there are dozens of approved degrees at institutions all over the country and online. Many of these offer an internship subject as part of the curriculum, which could help you take the next step in your accreditation journey.

After graduation, potential financial planners will then need to undertake what’s called a “professional year”, which is a year of supervised work experience with an existing Australian Financial Services Licence holder.

At the end of your professional year, the final step to becoming an accredited financial planner under the law is to sit the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority exam, which will ensure you have the skills, knowledge and ethics required to provide financial advice as a planner.

Work on your soft skills

While you’re busy earning your degree, this is also a good time to work on the soft skills you’ll need to succeed in financial planning. These are the skills that will really set you apart when it comes to getting your first job and building a stable clientele.

As a client-focused field, communication skills can mean the difference between success and failure as a financial planner. Being able to show your clients you understand and care about their needs, active listening and showing empathy are all important parts of the emotional intelligence you’ll need to build rapport and trust between you and your clients.

Choose a firm

With over 1,500 businesses registered with ASIC to provide financial advice in Australia, there are a lot of options for finding work! The big banks and investment institutions employ two-thirds of planners, but there is a multitude of smaller firms also competing for talent.

The Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business reports that 85 percent of the country’s financial planners are operating along the east coast, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily need to move to find a job – people all over the country can benefit from financial planning services, and over 3 million people plan on consulting on their financial future in the three years leading up to 2020.

Take the first step

Check out the range of Registered Training Organisations that offer approved courses in financial planning – you could be only a few years away from your first client!

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