What do Financial Planners Do?

The role of a Financial Planner is to offer knowledgeable financial advice which aims to help individuals organise and manage their personal finances effectively. The exact type of assistance a Financial Planner will offer varies from client to client, but can include helping individuals to clarify what type of financial products they might benefit from at each life stage, financial goal-setting, dealing with unexpected financial issues, risk management, accounting, and advising on ways to make money work harder.

Typically, a financial planner will offer advice and information on areas such as pensions, mortgages, savings options, investments and borrowing. Financial planners may work independently, or for a bank, building society or other financial institution. To work as a financial planner, you need to take one or more finance courses, to acquire an appropriate level of specialist knowledge. Courses for financial planners also tend to include people skills, as communicating and working effectively with clients is a key part of the job.

Career Outcomes in Financial Planning

Once you’re qualified and trained as a financial planner, there’s a range of different career opportunities available:

  • Securities and Commodities Broker
  • Financial Planner for Insurance Companies
  • Financial Investment Firms
  • Banks
  • Self-Employment
  • Rental or Real Estate
  • Commercial Finance Services

The Finance Industry in Australia

According to PayScale, the median salary for a Financial Planner is $70,391, with a high chance of employability through a sharp rise in opportunities over the past few years. This is great to know if you’re considering entering the industry for the first time. It’s also a trend that’s expected to continue in coming years.

As a larger occupation, it’s expected that financial planner vacancies will be available across most of the country, particularly in urban areas. It’s also an area that employs a high number of self-employed and full-time workers, with 84.6% working equal to, or more than 45 hours a week.

Financial Planning Courses

There are a number of different routes to becoming a financial planner; many people initially pursue a career in a related field, then decide to undertake relevant training to become a financial planner.

Short Courses

These often only last a few weeks or months and are intended to give participants both an idea of the type of work financial planners undertake and develop a deeper understanding of the role. There are also courses which cover a particular topic in-depth, such as investment or share trading.

Diploma

A Diploma of Financial Planning is the basic qualification required to become a financial planner or financial advisor. The Diploma is offered at a number of different institutions, as well as being available as one of a growing number of financial planning courses online.

There are no formal entry requirements for acceptance into the course, but communication skills, a good level of written and spoken English and a strong grasp of basic maths, written and spoken English are usually important for success. Courses can often be studied part-time and there are a range of flexible study options on offer. This means learners can often combine undertaking a qualification with continued employment.

Advanced Diploma

This qualification provides further experience and in-depth knowledge that puts students in a strong position to advance their career within the financial sector. It’s also a qualification that can be used to satisfy university entry requirements for learners that want to go on to undertake a degree course.

To be accepted into the Advanced Diploma course, students will usually need to already possess a relevant Diploma, or have acquired the relevant knowledge through another route.

An Advanced Diploma will take most people between one and two years to achieve, depending on whether they study full- or part-time. Both the Diploma and the Advanced Diploma are offered as TAFE courses, which don’t need to be studied at university.Bachelor Degree

Bachelor Degree

The Bachelor degree course covers generic business management and related skills, as well as a comprehensive study of the information and skills necessary to deliver high-quality financial advice. Both theory and technical skills are studied, giving students a broad insight into the industry. Topics studied may include estates planning, taxation planning, investment, and pension planning.

Master’s Degree

The terminal qualification in financial planning, a Master’s Degree frequently includes independent study on a relevant topic, as well as further development of professional skills and knowledge. Participants will normally need to hold a relevant Bachelor’s degree. A Master’s degree usually takes between one and two years but will take longer if studied part-time.

What Qualities Does a Financial Planner Need?

When considering how to become a financial advisor or financial planner, it’s important to remember that interpersonal skills are as important as technical knowledge in order to succeed in the role. People’s financial affairs are often a very delicate subject and almost inevitably any discussion of estates planning, life insurance or similar matters will touch on sensitive topics.

Financial planners need to be able to put people at ease and be able to discuss difficult issues in an appropriate manner. People of all ages, lifestyles and aspirations will need financial advice, so an ability to work with a wide range of individuals in an effective manner is also important.

Financial planners also need to be numerate and have a good command of language. Usually, financial planners will make a percentage of their salary by selling appropriate financial products, so it’s important to be comfortable with selling as well as advising and informing. Motivation, persistence and the ability to work independently are also key qualities for a financial planning role.

With plenty of jobs available in the financial services and a wide range of roles on offer, financial planners and advisors are able to enjoy enviable career prospects. The diverse ways of accessing appropriate qualifications mean that people from different backgrounds are now able to access one of the financial planning courses available, so nothing is stopping you from enquiring today.

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