Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Summary

Please enable javascript to play this video.

Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHqgZBsjWJs.
Quick Facts: Personal Financial Advisors
2021 Median Pay $94,170 per year
$45.27 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Long-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2021 330,300
Job Outlook, 2021-31 15% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2021-31 50,900

What Personal Financial Advisors Do

Personal financial advisors provide advice to help individuals manage their money and plan for their financial future.

Work Environment

Most personal financial advisors work in the finance and insurance industry or are self-employed. They typically work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. They also may meet with clients in the evenings or on weekends.

How to Become a Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advisors typically need a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation. A master’s degree and certification may improve chances for advancement.

Pay

The median annual wage for personal financial advisors was $94,170 in May 2021.

Job Outlook

Employment of personal financial advisors is projected to grow 15 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 30,500 openings for personal financial advisors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for personal financial advisors.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of personal financial advisors with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about personal financial advisors by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Personal Financial Advisors Do About this section

Personal financial advisors
Personal financial advisors meet with clients to discuss their financial goals.

Personal financial advisors provide advice on investments, insurance, mortgages, estate planning, taxes, and retirement to help individuals manage their finances.

Duties

Personal financial advisors typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients to discuss their financial goals
  • Explain to potential clients the types of financial services they provide
  • Educate clients and answer questions about investment options and potential risks
  • Recommend investments to clients or select investments on their behalf
  • Help clients plan for specific circumstances, such as education or retirement
  • Monitor clients’ accounts and determine if changes are needed to improve financial performance or to accommodate life changes, such as getting married or having children
  • Research investment opportunities

Personal financial advisors assess the financial needs of individuals and help them with decisions on investments (such as stocks and bonds), tax laws, and insurance. Advisors help clients plan for short- and long-term goals, such as budgeting for education expenses and saving for retirement through investments. They invest clients’ money based on the clients’ decisions. Many advisors also provide tax advice or sell insurance.

Although most planners offer advice on a wide range of topics, some specialize in areas such as retirement or risk management (evaluating the investor's willingness to take chances and adjusting investments accordingly).

Many personal financial advisors spend a lot of time marketing their services, and they meet potential clients by giving seminars or participating in business and social networking.

After financial advisors have invested funds for a client, they and the client receive regular investment reports. Advisors monitor the client’s investments and usually meet with each client at least once a year to update the client on potential investments and to adjust the financial plan based on the client’s circumstances or because investment options may have changed.

Many personal financial advisors are licensed to directly buy and sell financial products, such as stocks, bonds, annuities, and insurance. Depending on the agreement they have with their clients, personal financial advisors may have the client’s permission to make decisions about buying and selling stocks and bonds.

Work Environment About this section

Personal financial advisors
Many personal financial advisors travel to attend conferences or teach finance classes in the evening to bring in more clients.

Personal financial advisors held about 330,300 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of personal financial advisors were as follows:

Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities 59%
Self-employed workers 19
Credit intermediation and related activities 15
Insurance carriers and related activities 3
Management of companies and enterprises 1

Personal financial advisors typically work in offices. Some also travel to attend conferences, teach finance seminars in the evening, and attend networking events to bring in more clients.

Work Schedules

Most personal financial advisors work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week. They also may go to meetings on evenings and weekends to meet with prospective or existing clients.

How to Become a Personal Financial Advisor About this section

Personal financial advisors
Personal financial advisors must establish trust with clients and respond to their questions and concerns.

Personal financial advisors typically need a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation. A master’s degree and certification may improve chances for advancement.

Education

Personal financial advisors typically need a bachelor’s degree, although employers usually do not require a specific course of study. However, common fields of degree include business, social science, or mathematics. Courses in investments, taxes, estate planning, and risk management may be helpful.

Training

After they are hired, personal financial advisors typically need on-the-job training to attain competency. During this time, new advisors work under the supervision of senior advisors and learn how to build a client network, develop investment portfolios, and perform other duties. This training usually lasts for more than a year.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Personal financial advisors who directly buy or sell stocks, bonds, or insurance policies, or who provide specific investment advice, may need a combination of licenses that varies with the products they sell. In addition to being required to have those licenses, advisors in small firms that manage clients’ investments must be registered with state regulators, and those in large firms must be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Personal financial advisors who choose to sell insurance need licenses issued by state boards. Information on state licensing board requirements for registered investment advisors is available from the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).

Certifications may enhance a personal financial advisor’s reputation and help bring in new clients. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards offers the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. For this certification, advisors must have a bachelor’s degree, complete coursework on financial planning through a CFP Board Registered Program, have relevant work experience, pass an exam, and agree to adhere to a code of ethics.

Advancement

A master’s degree in a field such as finance or business administration may improve a personal financial advisor’s chances of becoming a financial manager and of attracting new clients.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. In determining an investment portfolio for a client, personal financial advisors must be able to assess a range of information, including economic trends, regulatory changes, and the client’s comfort with risky decisions.

Interpersonal skills. A major part of a personal financial advisor’s job is making clients feel comfortable. Advisors must establish trust with clients and respond well to their questions and concerns.

Math skills. Personal financial advisors must be adept at working with numbers to determine the amount invested, how that amount has grown or decreased over time, and how a portfolio is distributed among different investments.

Sales skills. To expand their base of clients, personal financial advisors must be convincing and persistent in selling their services.

Speaking skills. Personal financial advisors interact with clients every day. They must explain complex financial concepts in a way that clients understand.

Pay About this section

Personal Financial Advisors

Median annual wages, May 2021

Personal financial advisors

$94,170

Financial specialists

$77,300

Total, all occupations

$45,760

 

The median annual wage for personal financial advisors was $94,170 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $47,570, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for personal financial advisors in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities $99,970
Management of companies and enterprises 79,780
Credit intermediation and related activities 76,620
Insurance carriers and related activities 69,410

Personal financial advisors who work for financial services firms are often paid a salary plus bonuses. Commissions, incentive pay, and production bonuses are included in the wage data here; nonproduction bonuses are not included.

Advisors who work for financial investment firms or financial planning firms or who are self-employed earn money for their services in one of two ways. They either charge a flat fee or earn commissions for the financial products that they sell.

Most personal financial advisors work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. They also may go to meetings on evenings and weekends to meet with existing clients or to try to bring in new ones.

Job Outlook About this section

Personal Financial Advisors

Percent change in employment, projected 2021-31

Personal financial advisors

15%

Financial specialists

6%

Total, all occupations

5%

 

Employment of personal financial advisors is projected to grow 15 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 30,500 openings for personal financial advisors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

The primary driver of employment growth will be the aging population. As large numbers of baby boomers continue to retire, they are likely to seek planning advice from personal financial advisors. Also, longer lifespans will lead to longer retirement periods, further increasing demand for financial planning services.

In addition, the replacement of traditional pension plans with individual retirement accounts is expected to continue. Many people used to receive defined pension payments in retirement, but most companies no longer offer these plans. Therefore, individuals must save and invest for their own retirement, increasing the demand for personal financial advisors.

The availability of “robo-advisors,” computer programs that provide automated investment advice based on user inputs, may partially temper demand for personal financial advisors. However, the impact of this technology should be limited as consumers continue turning to human advisors for more complex and specialized investment advice over the projections decade.

Employment projections data for personal financial advisors, 2021-31
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Personal financial advisors

13-2052 330,300 381,200 15 50,900 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of personal financial advisors.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2021 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Budget analysts Budget Analysts

Budget analysts help public and private organizations plan their finances.

Bachelor's degree $79,940
Financial analysts Financial Analysts

Financial analysts guide businesses and individuals in decisions about expending money to attain profit.

Bachelor's degree $95,570
Financial managers Financial Managers

Financial managers create financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.

Bachelor's degree $131,710
Insurance sales agents Insurance Sales Agents

Insurance sales agents contact potential customers and sell one or more types of insurance.

High school diploma or equivalent $49,840
Insurance underwriters Insurance Underwriters

Insurance underwriters evaluate insurance applications and decide whether to provide insurance, and under what terms.

Bachelor's degree $76,390
Real estate brokers and sales agents Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents

Real estate brokers and sales agents help clients buy, sell, and rent properties.

High school diploma or equivalent $48,770
Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents connect buyers and sellers in financial markets.

Bachelor's degree $62,910
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Personal Financial Advisors,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm (visited September 11, 2022).

Last Modified Date: Thursday, September 8, 2022

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2021 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2021, the median annual wage for all workers was $45,760.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2021

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2021, which is the base year of the 2021-31 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2021-31

The projected percent change in employment from 2021 to 2031. The average growth rate for all occupations is 5 percent.

Employment Change, 2021-31

The projected numeric change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2021-31

The projected numeric change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2021 to 2031.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

2021 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2021, the median annual wage for all workers was $45,760.