Financial Planning Analyst

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Financial Planning Analyst


In the last few decades, people have become more concerned with their personal financial planning because they want to ensure they will have enough money for their retirement and for their children to attend college. Financial planning analysts, also called financial planners or consultants, develop personal financial plans for individuals and families using their knowledge of investments and tax laws and then recommend financial options to clients. They also sell RRSPs, stocks and mutual funds. Financial planning analysts focus on the individual determining all the financial and psychological factors that impact a person's life. Although planners have their own style, each is involved in specific activities for the financial benefit of their clients.

There are two basic types of financial planners: Fee-for-service planners and commission planners. Some actually do both types of work. Fee-for-service planners charge their clients based on the value of the client's assets or on an hourly rate. Their suggestions may include recommending that clients buy particular products. Commission planners only receive commissions for selling specific financial products. Therefore, those who work off commission deal with more pressure and stress and must make careful decisions in the marketplace.

An important aspect of the occupation is finding prospective clients and building a customer base. Many financial planning analysts contact potential clients by giving seminars or lectures on financial planning or meeting clients through business and social contacts. More established financial planning analysts may write a column for a newspaper, or appear on television or radio shows to offer their financial suggestions.
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  Interests and Skills  
The most important characteristic of a financial planning analyst is good listening and communication skills. Since a majority of the work deals with communicating with clients, in person and on the phone, and making new contacts, financial planners must possess superior people skills. They must also respect client confidentiality, have the ability to understand complicated financial documents such as wills, pension plans, financial statements and tax regulations, keep up-to-date on financial matters and consider new approaches to problem solving. They must be confident in their financial knowledge and consulting as well as enjoy taking a methodical approach to research.

Financial planning analysts usually love working with numbers and have an intense interest in the stockmarket.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Look at the client's income, spending and investments, and help them clarify their goals
  • Calculate client's net worth
  • Explain and compare financial products and study the market
  • Make recommendations on how clients can achieve their financial goals and objectives and prepare suitable financial plans
  • Help clients implement plans or refer them to other financial services or professionals
  • Build and maintain a client base by keeping current client plans up-to-date and recruiting new clients on an ongoing basis
  • Maintain detailed client files
  • Check the client's investments on a quarterly or half-yearly basis
  • May speak at financial seminars
  • Financial planning analysts either work alone or with other financial planners, in fully equipped offices or out of their homes. Many financial planners travel frequently to meetings at clients' homes or businesses. They generally tend to work long hours due to the amount of research and planning put into each client's account. They may also work evenings and weekends as meetings may take place at night or on a Saturday or Sunday.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Financial planning analysts are employed by private financial related institutions. Some are employed by smaller financial planning businesses, few are self-employed, while others are employed on a full-time basis or contract their services to larger firms and organizations such as trust companies, banks and other lending institutions, stock brokerage firms, insurance agencies, legal firms, accounting firms, mutual fund companies, and private financial planning companies.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Financial planning analysts are usually equipped with years of experience, often in other sectors of business. They are generally not young and fresh out of university as people tend to entrust their money with older, more experienced investors. Also, it takes years to build up a wealth of clients therefore this career takes many years to achieve. Experienced financial planners may decide to specialize in a particular aspect of financial planning, for example retirement planning, or move into supervisory or senior management positions in larger companies or professional associations. More established financial planning analysts may write a financial column for a newspaper, or appear on television or radio shows to offer their financial suggestions.

  Educational Paths  
Most financial planning analysts have an undergraduate degree or college diploma in a field related to finance and commerce. Some even have an Master's of Business Administration (MBA), which is always an excellent stepping stone for this career.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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Colorado State University Global Campus

Colorado State University Global Campus

Colorado State University Global Campus (CSU Global) offers career relevant bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for working adults and nontraditional learners.

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