How to Become a Financial Planner

by Neal Frankle, CFP ®

I get asked all the time how to get started as a financial planner. In case you are considering jumping into the profession, here’s my answer and here’s what you have to understand:

1. Understand what business you are in.

Being a financial planner is a business. I think it’s a great business if you start off right.  But it’s still it’s a business.

There are two kinds of people in the business – those who love money and numbers and those who love people.

Those who love money, math and investments usually go to work for mutual funds and insurance companies. They don’t deal with clients. Usually those folks obtain a CFA – Chartered Financial Analyst certification.

If you want to work with people, you really don’t need a CFA certification.  You need to understand investments, taxes and retirement of course.   But more than that you need to learn how to deal with people. That includes some level of salesmanship. In fact, when you start, that’s all you really are – a salesperson.

Nobody hands you clients – you have to make that happen by yourself. A successful financial planner is a person who knows how to build and manage a business. If you don’t like rejection, don’t start this career.

2. Know who to stay away from.

If you go to work for an insurance company or brokerage firm, they require that you hit all your friends and family up for business. Once you do, your employer will toss you if you don’t produce enough business. Also, who you work for will influence which clients use you as a financial planner.

On the other hand, if you go to work for a bank, they’ll introduce you to clients. It’s a great place to start and it’s how I launched my career.

3. Understand licenses.

Anyone can call themselves a financial planner, but if you want to work with clients, you’ll need to work with a broker/dealer (yuk) or become a Registered Investment Adviser. The broker/dealer route is commission-based. The Registered Investment Adviser route is more consultative-based.

Of course, you’ll need to find your own clients still, so you need to think about how you’re going to do that regardless.

4. Know the Education Requirements.

It helps if you have a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Economics, Finance, Marketing, Business or Commerce. If you’ve studied Mathematics or Computer Science, that will help too. This is just a small part of good financial advisor training.

5. Understand Certification.

You can be a financial advisor without certification, but it sure helps to have it. It demonstrates commitment and responsibility. I became a CFP (R) – Certified Financial Planner – and I highly recommend that program to anyone.

To get the certification you need to take an examination. There are over 285 colleges and universities that can help you prepare for this exam. You also need to have three years’ full-time work experience.

How to Be a Successful Financial Planner

The first question I’d ask you is, what is your definition of success?

To me, it includes being of service to my clients and supporting my family.

Becoming a successful financial planner requires work – and it never stops. You constantly have to educate yourself and learn. Above all, sharpen your listening skills. Work hard at understanding what your clients really need and want. Sometimes, they don’t even know, and you have to be able to help them discover it.

My 25 years’ experience tells me that these skills are far more important than any other. You’ll learn the most valuable lessons over the years. Don’t wait to master the subject prior to getting to work.

I love being a financial planner and if you like helping others significantly enhance their lives, you will too.

Start off by taking care of the basic requirements. Always think about how to market your services, put your clients above yourself and keep learning. That’s how to be a successful financial planner, if you ask me.

If you’re a financial planner, was your career path different? What would you add?



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{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

Morgan May 16, 2015 at 6:06 PM

Hello, I’m a junior in High School and I had a job shadow with a CFP. I was just wondering how I should start with this career. I love helping people and I LOVE math! I wanted to be an accountant but im leaning toward this since I’d get to know people better. I was thinking I cold double major in Business and Finances. Is there a different or better option to help me to being a CFP?


Neal Frankle, CFP ® July 14, 2015 at 8:19 PM

I think the studies are less crucial than the experience. Either major should put you in good shape. Thanks!


Ned January 8, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Hi Neal,

I’ve been talking with my college roommate on/off for 3 years about finance stuff and transitioning to a finance career. He’s a financial planner studying for the CFP.

I’m wondering how realistic and possible it is to career change from teaching. I’ve been a middle school teacher in English and social studies for 6 years, I’m 29 years old, and have a dual BA in Psych/Political Science with a MS ed. in Elementary Education and Social Policy.

I’m planning on getting an MBA within a year or so, and hoping that can help with a career change into the finance realm. Any thoughts or words of motivation (or not)?

Many thanks,


Neal Frankle, CFP ® January 11, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Ned, I think a teacher would be a great advisor. And as a matter of fact, some of the most successful planners started out as teachers so I think you absolutely can make this a great career. Nothing can stop you sir!


GT November 16, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Hi Neal,
Thanks for the article. I am 39 years old and in the process of changing careers from engineering into CFP. I am a certified professional engineer who currently works with primarily data and performs data analysis. Personally, I own and operated a business in residential real estate investing for 14 years. I am currently studying for a the Series 6 exam and plan to begin working with a successful, private CFP in my area upon its completion. I plan to study and prepare for the CFP exam concurrently while working with this FP.

Is this career change realistic if I plan to be a successful CFP? It appears the vast majority of people “switching” into this field are already heavily based in finance. Do you have any suggestions on additional background material that would adequately prepare me on this path?



Neal Frankle, CFP ® November 16, 2013 at 12:30 PM

GT, come on in…the water’s fine! I actually happen to know a number of CFPs who were engineers in their former lives. No problem at all there. You already have a business and investment background so that’s great. I think you would also want to bone up on tax rules – especially as they pertain to retirement income. I think you might also benefit by some marketing and sales study. This is not to manipulate – but to be of better service to your clients. Those are two good areas to focus on I think. Let me know how it goes please!


Jeff October 1, 2013 at 7:21 AM

I completed the CFA curriculum in June 2013 but need work experience to earn the charter. I was most interested in the personal financial planning material and am interested in changing careers to be a financial advisor. I believe people need help understanding what they’re investing in, setting realistic goals, etc.

I am 45, and my career has been in actuarial and data analysis, but I have had enough. I am a people person at heart and would relish the opportunity to be out in front of people as a financial planner, as I feel I have a lot to offer.

Do you have any specific tips on how to get noticed by a firm?

Thank you.


Neal Frankle October 1, 2013 at 12:06 PM

I’ve written a few posts on I think they might be a good start.


Greg S. September 3, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Hi Neal,
I have been working in the tax field for about 7 years now and I want to become a financial planner. What is your recommendation for pursuing this big change at 40? Should I start taking the series 7 and 66 exams? Should I look to start at a paraplanner level? I am really at the beginning of researching and would greatly appreciate your advice.

Greg S.


Neal Frankle September 4, 2013 at 5:58 AM

Thanks Greg. You have a great background for planning. I would first think about what kind of planner you want to be. Are you going for the brokerage side of the business or would you prefer to be a fee-based planner?


Kyle A. August 16, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Hello Neal,

Thank you for writing this description about your work and how to become a financial planner. I am still a high school student looking for career options. My dad has been a banker for twenty plus years amd have inherited his desires to help people amd work with numbers and all kids of math. Also, the feeling I helped somebody who calls upon my skills and wisdom always brightens my day. My question is do you do you make a fairly large amount of money ($85,000 to $100,00) in the path you have chosen or have I been misinformed from other sources? I want to be able to support my family in every way and even though money doesn’t buy happiness it does help. I would enjoy to do mission work for others to help spread the name of my dear and loving savior, Jesus Christ.

Thank you for your help


Neal Frankle August 19, 2013 at 1:39 AM

Kyle, Thanks for touching base. A successful financial planner can help a great many people and do quite well also. I believe that this kind of income goal is very attainable but it may take time to work up to it.


dk August 16, 2013 at 4:50 AM

By the way, the link at the bottom of the site saying perkstreet review gives a 404.

much love,


Neal Frankle August 19, 2013 at 1:41 AM

Thanks! I think it’s fixed now. I appreciate it .


William Young August 13, 2013 at 7:35 AM

Hi Neal,

Thanks for your your article, very concise. I am 42 years old, BA in Communications, MA in Technology Education, and I’ve spent half of my life working in tech for large trading firms. I want to move into financial planning for a dual purpose – to help folks get healthy financially and to have a career that can positively affect my own future. My work experience was mostly client facing and I really like working with people but my job isn’t doing it for me. (Hence me writing this note at work…) My questions are: Is a financial planner role fulfilling? and Are there any stories you have about people that succeeded in the role coming from a non-financial backround? I am interested in what my chances are.


Neal Frankle August 14, 2013 at 7:54 AM

I believe that if you follow the advice in this post you have a shot. It may be more difficult but if you work hard at it, you will do well.


Jessica August 6, 2013 at 7:53 PM

Hi Neal,
I am currently one year out of college and have decided to start studying for my CFP. I graduated from UCSD with a BS degree in Management Science (a quantitative form of economics), but chose to work in advertising upon my graduation. At my first job, for one year, I worked as an account manager and assistant financial manager. I am now working for a bigger company in Sales as I hoped entering corporate would improve my resume.

My most pressing concern is that my past experience will hinder my chances of getting a job as a CFP. I plan to stay at my current company while completing the first year of program (and passing the first exam), then hope to gain a position at a financial planning firm.

What are good entry level positions to pursue? I have a passion for mathematics and financial planning, but am slightly intimidated since I am a girl in such a male dominated field. I would love any advice for a driven 23 year old who is trying to pursue their CFP.


Neal Frankle August 8, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Jessica, a couple points:

a. Your background in advertising is a huge plus – not a drawback. Don’t worry.
b. Being a woman is also a huge plus in this industry. Celebrate friend!

Best advice on finding a job and do a search on my site for Financial Planning jobs. That will bring up a few others.

You’ll do fine. Keep me posted Pilgrim!


GM August 5, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Hi Neal,

I am a Senior in college and will be graduating in a year and a half with a dual major in Accounting and Finance. I have a real interest in personal finance and would love to be a financial planner one day, because I want to help others manage their finances better. What advice would you give to a college senior looking to pursue a career in financial planning? Also, are there any books/articles you would recommend? I really want to be prepared, so that in the future I can truly help people by having the best knowledge base to draw from.


Neal Frankle August 5, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Awesome career path….and wishing you all the luck GM. Here’s a post that might help guide your job search.


Donald ratombo July 26, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Hi, am donald ratombo currently doing my second year in internal auditing i feel i should be notified about cfp career as am interested in it and am soon to ask for an advise to u guys.


Michael June 4, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Neal, I am 49 and very interested in financial planning. My background would probably enable any large firm from hiring me. Finishing my degree, obtaining the certification and getting insured will be difficult. My main concern is gaining the knowledge of the business in 4 or 5 years to be competitive and offer solid recommendations to my clients. How and where do I go to get a mentor or the experience, to build something that will last long after I am gone.


Neal Frankle June 5, 2013 at 6:37 AM

Michael. First things first. I suggest you get the degree and the job. Then let’s see where you land and the opportunities there.


Michael June 5, 2013 at 8:56 PM

I think I would have to start my own company, because of my background. So, working alone seems risky with people hard earned money. I would like to start learning the intricacies while I’m getting the degree.


Justin March 7, 2013 at 9:40 PM

Hi Neal,

I am 28 yrs old and have a four year degree with a finance major and an accounting minor. I graduated from college in 2007 and have since been helping my brother grow a small residential construction company. For years now I have been considering a career change for numerous reasons. I have always been intrigued by personal finance and feel that I have been moderately successful managing my own finances. Also, having seen firsthand the damage that can be caused by the lack of knowledge/guidance, I have a genuine desire to help others. I know that financial advising is the career I want to pursue. However, I have recently been on several job interviews with big firms and have received a couple of offers but I am realizing their emphasis on sales and quotas versus service. Becoming a CFP has always been a dream of mine but these interviews and offers have been quite discouraging/discomforting. Is there still hope or do you have to be a used car salesman willing to solicit friend and family to get started? My sister is a CPA and has her own firm in which there is a tremendous need for advice and I have worked part time for years assisting with tax prep. Advice or ideas on how to get started obtaining necessary certifications without losing focus on rhe task at hand (helping people achieve there goals)


Neal Frankle March 7, 2013 at 10:12 PM

Justin, don’t give up. Continue your search. Join FPA and attend meetings. Use the skills I talk about I am sure that if you are patient and work hard, you’ll find a good job. This industry needs quality people like you.


LH February 25, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Hi Neal,

I’m a recent grad and have an interview with a large bank coming up for an entry level financial advisor position. I don’t necessarily have the professional background for this position, but I do have a BS in business administration with a concentration in finance. What concepts would you recommend I study or brush up on beforehand? (I’d like to review as much as possible!)

Thanks in advance.


Neal Frankle February 26, 2013 at 5:37 AM
Ed Smith February 5, 2013 at 1:07 AM

I agree with you completly about not working for an insurance or brokerage firm, I made that mistake after I completed my MBA, they churn, they burn, and they move on, both employees and customers.

I felt like I was in an insurance sales factory, whatever they want – guide them to this, how quickly can we process that, okay, who is next? The company has the letters NW and the word mutual in it. However I assume they are all pretty much like that.

I too am in it to help people, I know how ridiculously corrupt wall street is, and I see it as my obligation to protect people not only from many of their tactics, but also their own flights of fancy that they may wish to take. Another thing is people usually don’t know how vulnerable they are to catastrophy.

A good financial plan encomapsses the totality of the case, not just one aspect (we’re not pitching the latest hyped up momentum stock). The plan functions well without the owner having to worry about it. There job is to do what they are best at, business owners, doctors, whatever it is. My job is to make their financial lives safer and more secure, and that inevitably spills over into other aspects of their lives.

Great artical Neal, keep up the good work.


Neal Frankle February 6, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Good luck Ed. Thanks for the kind words…….


Luis F. January 6, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Hello Neal,

I came across your article via google. I thought it was an interesting read and I have considered financial planning as a career path. I don’t have a degree, but I have a vast amount of experience dealing with life insurance and even earned my series 6. With that said, how helpful is having this and how crucial is it that I get a bachelors degree?

I am considering taking your advice and maybe dabbling in tax preparation.

Thanks in advance!



Neal Frankle January 7, 2013 at 10:20 AM

The only thing is that if you plan on getting your CFP, it might require the BA degree now. Not sure on that but I’m sure the site tells you. The tax prep experience would be fantastic. I would consider what your career path might look like and what you really want to do and then decide.


Richard Seymour December 20, 2012 at 2:48 PM

This is really great info, Neal. You’ve done a great job at outlining the benefits and the successes that being a financial planner can bring. As a result of my training to become a Certified Financial Planner I have been able to successfully differentiate myself from the rest of my peers. Being a financial planner isn’t a difficult task, it is just a matter of your motivation and your dedication!

Continue with the great work!


Melanie December 18, 2012 at 1:46 PM

I am considering a career in financial advising. If I do not have a background in finance, how can I go about obtaining the 2-3yrs experience in this field? I would like to know so that I can get a head start on that part now!!


Neal Frankle December 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM

This post might help you. If not, search on my site for “financial planner jobs”. Best of luck!


Alice November 17, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Hi Neal,
I’m not even quite sure how I landed on your site, but I’m really glad I did. I’ve been exploring the world of personal finance for a few years and am about to turn in a grad application for a family financial planning masters soon. I am finding your advice to be very useful! Just wanted to say thanks. :-)


Neal Frankle November 17, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Hey Alice, Congratulations on your masters and thanks so much for taking the time to share those kind words. Always appreciated!


Shannon November 7, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Hi Neal,
I’m currently a stay-at-mom. My husband has developed some health issues that will likely impact his career and it is time for me to think about becoming an income source again. I have a Masters degree. Coursework and experience has mostly revolved around service/event marketing/fundraising, but I have a passion for personal finance and helping people. I’ve managed to structure our finances such that our house will be paid off (our only debt) by the time our kids start college, I have 529s in place, and we still save about 15% a month after retirement contributions. I would love to help other young families formulate that for themselves. Is there a career path in this industry that would make sense for me? I’m not interested in another degree, but I don’t mind working on a certification. I would need to be available for my family given our circumstances. My only sales experience is in event sponsorship sales. Just feeling it out and I appreciate any thoughts you can offer.



Neal Frankle November 8, 2012 at 10:15 PM


I am sorry that your husband (and you) are facing these challenges. Given your passion, I would say that this is a great option for you (financial planning). I suggest that you read this on finding a job as a planner. Let me know how things go please.


Deadre Armstrong October 30, 2012 at 8:25 PM


I also want to say my clients are easily opened to me while discussing their financial situation. They find it easy to talk with me because I allow them to feel comfortable at all time. My clients have lots of trust in me because I believe strongly in ethics and also to treat them with the utmost respect. They can call me at anytime and know I will be there for them. I personally believe this is the reason my clientelle grew quickly. My clients are the main reason I want to learn more.


Deadre Armstrong October 30, 2012 at 8:11 PM

Hello Neal,

I stubbled over your article while fishing through google and found it interesting. I am a tax consultant with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and my own business. I prepare income tax returns as well as analyze and consult with my clients. I’ve built up a pretty decent client base since registering my business in 2010. However, I’ve been doing this type of businesses here and there for 29 years. I decided I would make it a full-time thing and I’m doing pretty well in two years. I liked your ad because financial planning/advising is something I’ve been considering for over one year now. My clients are always asking me for advise in investing and how to create a better financial portfolio. I assume my tax knowledge allows me to give them good financial advise because they are always referring others to me, for both tax preparation and advise. My client base is now 300+. Do you have any recommendations on what type of literature I can read and study to build onto my planner and advisory knowledge? Your recommendations would be highly appreciated.




Neal Frankle October 31, 2012 at 12:36 AM

Your clients are very fortunate to have you and the industry is as well. Welcome aboard! Not sure what kind of info you are lacking but I would suggest you read this and put “financial planner” in my search on my site for other posts. But tell me please what exactly it is that you are looking for? Thanks, Neal


Bryce August 8, 2012 at 11:00 AM


I am currently in the interview proccess with two of the major financial firms in the country. I am looking up reviews of these companies and basically see that there is an astonishingly high turnover rate, and that you are expected to hit goals that are impossible for new financial advisors. Now, I know that a lot of people who post about these companies are disgruntled and this is how they vent, but it still concerns me.

Would you reccomend going to work for one of the big firms early on? I have a very high motor and have top notch people skills in my opinion. I want to do this because I love helping people. I know I am in it for the right reasons, I am just worried about becoming unsure of myself as the pressure mounts when they put me on my own.

Great article as well an thanks for any thoughts!



Neal Frankle August 8, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Try this on getting financial planning jobs.

And then read this on financial planning training and the other links in the post.


Ernesto Moreno July 27, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Hi! Neal;

I was reading your website, I think is super interesting.Neal I have a question.I just graduated from a major University in Business Administration with option in Finance and Accounting. I have a job offer as a Financial Advisor. The potential employer offer me to sponsor my license Series 6 an Series 7 which I need in order to sell financial products. However; I was told that I am not aloud by the Federal rules to have another job which I would need it before seem this business profitable. My question is, it is worth it to quit my present job to pursue this career. I have to invest in my license, in addition I have to sign a contract with this Financial Group. I need help, because I am really confuse.

Warm Regard



Neal Frankle July 27, 2012 at 9:35 PM

I have never heard of any Federal law precluding a financial advisor from having another job. This could be your employer who wants to enforce this. I would ask more questions and if it’s just your employer, I would look for a different one.


David July 6, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Ok so I am a vet and I have my GI Bill to use up. I already got the job I want and I don’t need any more college for it. So I was thinking of using what I have left for some college classes to better myself and that would be how to better handle my own finances. What degree would be best, I am not looking for a masters and not really interested in learning how a big business handles fiances. I would like to learn how to invest my money, maybe play around with the stock market a bit, and there is the option of going into business myself (I am a jeweler btw). Any information would be great, thanks David.


Shelbie June 15, 2012 at 5:49 AM

I’m in school taking accounting looking for a career, love working with people and numbers. Could you tell me a little more about what a CFP job desription and is there continuing education requirements?


Neal Frankle June 15, 2012 at 6:50 AM

Read this Shelbie for CFP job description and yes there are CE requirements. Job growth is touted as being very high by the industry. We’ll see! Good luck!!!


Eddie April 24, 2012 at 11:32 AM

I find this site very informative. I’ve been managing my own stock portfolio for over 15 years and now I want to just give “advice”, and “stock recommendations” to relatives and close friends. I would only recommend stocks that are in my own portfolio, but an attorney told me that I need to be careful giving out “recommendations”. I don’t want to charge any fees. I just want to write short articles and post it on my (future) website … brief articles about what I’m buying, and why. I do it just for fun, but an attorney told me I need to find out the rules of what I can and cannot do — to prevent from being sued. Do I need to be registered? I live in the state of Hawaii. Thanks in advance to whoever can answer my questions.


Ryan April 22, 2012 at 7:11 PM

I am going to be graduating college in a few months and I am really interested in becoming a CFP. Every job opening that has to relate to financial planning seems to require experience and I know that you need 3 years as well to be a CFP. The only things that I have found are the financial advisor training programs from Wells Fargo, Edward Jones, etc. where they will license you with your series 7 and 66. If I was to pursue something along those lines, does that count towards experience for you CFP? I understand it is also a lot of door-to-door and cold calling as well. Any information or suggestions will help. Thanks


Neal Frankle April 23, 2012 at 5:31 AM
Eddie April 10, 2012 at 12:37 PM

I discovered that the application process is very detailed and time consuming (at least for the state of Hawaii)?? Someone told me that there are “consultants”? who assist with the application process. If true, how would I find a reputable consultant to help me through the process?


Neal Frankle April 10, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Eddie, if you are talking about the RIA process, yes, it’s a pain. Look at magazines like “Investment Advisor” or “Investment News”. There are ads for people who you can hire to help.


Neal Frankle March 28, 2012 at 8:56 PM
Brent Pittman March 28, 2012 at 7:56 PM

Neal, Thanks for responding…I got double 404 on the links..I’ll try to find them in your archives. I hope we get to meet as I’m in “the valley” also.


Brent Pittman March 28, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Neal, Thanks for this article. I know this is an old thread, but I’m still confused.
Do I have to go through one of the wirehouses and put in my 3 years to get the experience or is there another way? I’ve heard of para-planners, but they seem to also require licenses; which require sponsorship from a company…it seems like an endless circle to break in without working for a shady company. Neal, can you clarify?


Neal Frankle March 28, 2012 at 5:54 PM
Usiere February 27, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Useful post. What really gives one credibility is first being your own financial planner, and walking your talk. When your focus is not on the fees or commission, then your work takes on a whole new meaning


Jim Campbell November 28, 2011 at 4:40 PM reported last week that the #1 industry to start a new business is in financial services and included financial planning and income tax preparation.


Mike November 20, 2011 at 8:20 PM

Being a Financial planner should NOT be taken lightly and should NOT be a second job. Please do not minimize our profession. We help people every day achieve their goals. Yes, there are individuals that call themselves “advisors” and “planners” but a CFP should not be confused with any of these.


Neal Frankle November 21, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Unfortunately, I’ve met CFP’s who are not very professional at all.


Broke by Choice April 26, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Very informative article. What is the difference between a Financial Counselor, a Financial Advisor and a Finanacial Planner?


Anthony April 14, 2010 at 12:39 PM

I have learned a lot about PF in the past few years. Although my degree is not in personal finance or any other business degree, I feel that I would make a real difference in people’s lives.

This is a good (and timely) post. I might consider this as a secondary job. I know it would be a very satisfying experience.


Nunzio Bruno April 13, 2010 at 3:07 PM

I think you pretty much hit all the nails on the how’s of becoming a planner. One thing I might add is the way I went. I have my Master’s of Science in Financial Planning and I got it from The McCallum School at Bentley University. Just another direction to accumulate the credentials and experience needed to be able to give good advice. To the point @Simple in France made in the first comment; yes anyone can be an “advisor” including kids looking for jobs right out of high school that get talked into the gig which is more of a sales job than anything else. So be very very careful when picking out people to help you craft real financial plans..not everyone out there is like Neal Frankle or myself :) Kudos on the article!


Neal@Wealth Pilgrim April 13, 2010 at 10:38 PM

Hey Nunzio,

That’s a very nice compliment…

I agree 100% ….it’s super important to take care when it comes to picking advisers.


ParisGirl111 April 7, 2010 at 12:56 PM

This is good to know. I didn’t know the requirements for this . I will be sure to look for that when I am seeking a financial planner.


Belmont Thornton April 6, 2010 at 5:26 AM

Interesting write-up!! It made me think for quite sometime. Do you really mean it when you say professional training is not essential for expertise in this field? What do you think about a long tenured experience? I have been in this field for quite some time and I sincerely think real life dealing with financial ordeals of various clients help to increase your skill.


Neal@Wealth Pilgrim April 7, 2010 at 11:39 AM


I think the education is critical…but it’s not enough. Your years and years of experience are much more important IMO…


Spokane Al April 5, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Here are a couple of points for clarification.

In order to obtain a CFP one must possess a Bachelor’s degree in addition to sitting for the examination.

One must be registered and affiliated with an SEC or a state Registered Investment Advisor in order to practice as a fee based financial planner. One can affiliate with an established firm, or if he/she possesses the credentials, he/she can start up one’s own firm via creating a Form ADV, following the registration process, etc.

My opinion is that unless one has one’s own firm, this is not a hobby or a nice to have credential, and like you mentioned, the low producer will be canned no matter what type of firm he/she is affiliated with. It takes a great deal of money/compliance/supervisory efforts and a payback to cover costs and generate a bit of profit is a minimum requirement.


Neal@Wealth Pilgrim April 5, 2010 at 8:40 PM

I’ll agree w/Al.

The credential (CFP(R)) takes a lot of work to obtain. My point is however, I don’t think it provides ALL the training planners need. It is a great basis but a good planner needs more. Such as years and years of experience…and it sounds like AL has been at it for awhile.


Neal@Wealth Pilgrim April 5, 2010 at 4:15 PM

I know of another PF blogger who does get business from his blog. I have generated a little consulting work. We’ll see how things go. My intention here was never to focus on that. I wanted to create a place where everyone could get objective advice and info without feeling like I was trying to sell them something. That’s most important to me right now.

Maybe down the road things will change.


Financial Samurai April 5, 2010 at 5:06 PM

OK. Perhaps that person is Jeff at Good Financial Cents.


Financial Samurai April 5, 2010 at 6:48 AM

Hi Neal, I’ve wondered this question so thanks for highlighting.

One needs 3 years of work experience doing anything or does it have to be related to financial planning? Might be good to add a follow on post or tips on studying for the CFP and the process (cost, where to take, how long to study, etc). Heard there are changes a coming.

Can you share with us how much CFP’s can make based on X # of clients and fees? If it’s consultative based, how do you charge? Is it by session, by milestone goals, etc? Very curious!




Neal@Wealth Pilgrim April 5, 2010 at 7:34 AM

OK Sam…….stay tuned….I”ll follow up man.


Financial Samurai April 5, 2010 at 8:08 AM

Will be great! I really think this would be a fun profession to be in as a 2nd profession.

I guess the issue is, if I want to do this in 5-10-15 years already, better to start now right?

Getting a CFP seems like a no brainer… as well as doing it in a high retireee state like Hawaii or Florida yeah?

Thnx, Sam


Neal@Wealth Pilgrim April 5, 2010 at 1:40 PM

My experience tells me to work with people I love. Hence, I work w/retirees, highly-paid employees and small business people. Those are the folks I get excited about. I think you could find the people you want to work with just about anywhere Sam.

If you want to start in 5 + years….try to get some experience in the financial services industry and determine if it’s really for you.

You might do this in retirement….I know you’re swimming in cash now anyway.


Financial Samurai April 5, 2010 at 2:18 PM

I wish I was Mr. Duckworth swimming in cash!

Is it possible for you to use your blog WealthPilgrim to gain further business? How do you see your blog as it ties in with your business.

Cheers, Sam


Neal@Wealth Pilgrim April 5, 2010 at 6:11 AM

excellent question….stay tuned!


Simple in France April 5, 2010 at 4:15 AM

Hmm I’m glad you wrote this because I had no idea that you could become a financial planner without any real training! It’s kind of funny actually because that would mean that it’s possible for me to hire a financial adviser who knows less than I do. . .fascinating.

So. . .how would you find a ‘good/competent’ financial planner? AND how would you know when you have found one. Thought provoking!


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