All of us need money to meet our day to expenses or to save for our future goals which could involve buying a house, a car, providing education costs for children and so on. Earning money is thus not enough, money needs to be saved and invested in a proper manner. Hence the need for financial planning.
Financial Planner – The Concept
The concept of financial planning originated in the US and has picked up in India over the years due to rising income levels, increased awareness and more complexity in financial products.
Most of us are busy with regular jobs, and a lack of time and knowledge prevents us from taking appropriate money decisions. Here is where a financial planner comes in. To use an analogy, a financial planner is a like a doctor. While a doctor is someone you go to with questions regarding your health, financial planner advices you on monetary matters. The one to whom a financial planner is giving advice to is known as a client.
Role of a Financial Planner:
Let us look more closely at the role of a financial planner. To start with, a financial planner needs to have an understanding of the financial status of his client. Then he needs to have an idea of the client’s goals, both short-term and long –term. These goals, as mentioned above, will include buying a house, saving for education and marriage of kids, retirement planning and others. Based on this information, a financial planner advises his clients how to utilize his money to best achieve these goals. To do that, he needs to have thorough knowledge of different financial products available in the market and also understand taxation which can have significant impact on investments. If all is not well with a client’s finances and some of the goals cannot be met, a financial planner suggests means and remedies to rectify the financial situation. Apart from educating his client and providing advice, a financial planner also helps a client with the formalities and paperwork needed to start and manage his investments.
Required skills for a Financial Planner:
A financial planner requires a specialized set of skills apart from suitable degrees in finance which we will come to later. These would include strong communication and interpersonal skills which are very important to build a relationship with the client. This needs to be coupled with a familiarity of numbers and ability to use various financial tools. Financial planners also need to come with a problem solving mindset as different clients will have different financial situations which needs to be addressed differently.
Courses available for a Financial Planner:
A degree or a diploma in commerce, statistics or economics or finance forms a solid base for a financial planning professional. Chartered accountants may also choose to be in the financial planning profession since they come with strong financial knowledge. A Certified Financial Planner certification conferred by the Financial Planning Standards Board (FBSB) or Association of International Wealth Management (AIWM), are industry-recognized certifications for professional financial planners and gives them the necessary knowledge and license to practice.
Job Prospects of a Financial Planner:
One can work with banks, wealth management firms or financial advisory firms which advice people on different aspects of financial planning. These could include jobs as investment advisor’s, portfolio managers or wealth managers. Retirement funds, insurance
One can work with banks, wealth management firms or financial advisory firms which advice people on different aspects of financial planning. These could include jobs as investment advisor’s, portfolio managers or wealth managers. Retirement funds, insurance companies and investment banks also hire experienced financial advisor’s. After gathering experience, a lot of financial planners start off independent financial planning firms. These financial planners charge a fee for providing financial planning to their clients.
Financial planners can also play a role in financial literacy initiatives which include taking the knowledge of financial planning to the masses through mass media like books, newspapers and television. While this can be done on the side, a job in the media is also an option.
If you want to be in a profession that makes others wealthy and happy, financial planning is a lucrative career option for you.