Become a Financial Adviser in 2021?

Financial advisers advise clients on their financial plans using their knowledge of tax and investment strategies, securities, insurance, pensions, and more. 

Financial advisers have several responsibilities, including:

  • Recruiting new clients to their firm
  • Meeting with clients other advisers, which could include family lawyers and accountants.
  • Interviewing clients to determine their risk tolerance and financial goals
  • Recommending different investment strategies based on the client's goals
  • Being available to clients when they have questions or concerns
  • Manage client portfolios, which include the purchase and sale of stocks, bonds, treasuries, and other assets
  • Monitoring financial markets and reacting quickly

What is the average salary of a financial adviser?

This data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The salaries do not include overtime, bonuses, benefits, signing bonuses, tips, or commissions.

In 1999, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded $64,680 as the average base salary. 

By 2019, the average base salary rose to $119,290.

Wages grew by $54,610 (or $2,730 yearly) from 1999-2019.

The estimated 2021 average base salary would be $119,290, using $2,730 as the average yearly income.

If trends were to continue, by 2029, the average base salary would rise to $146,595.

Here is how the 2019 base salaries break down by Percentile.

There is a $115,530 difference between the 10th Percentile and the 75th Percentile.

  • 10th Percentile: $42,950 (starting salary estimate)
  • 25th Percentile: $57,780
  • 50th Percentile (Median Salary): $87,850
  • 75th Percentile: $154,480

In 2019, the base salaries of financial advisers were vastly different, depending on the state.

This map, showing average base salaries across the United States in 2019. The darker blue the state is on the map, the higher the income.

The lowest paying state, Hawaii, on average, pays financial advisers $82,890.

The highest paying state, New York, on average, pays financial advisers $166,790.

There is an $83,900 difference in average wages between the highest paying and the lowest paying state.

High paying states using 2019 salaries include:

  • New York: $166,790
  • DC: $150,310
  • Illinois: $142,440
  • Connecticut: $137,440
  • Massachusetts: $137,050
  • Maine: $135,660
  • North Carolina: $131,340

Lowest paying states using 2019 salaries include:

  • Hawaii: $82,890
  • Tennessee: $84,420
  • North Dakota: $85,670
  • Iowa: $86,480
  • Oklahoma: $87,130
  • South Carolina: $87,170
  • Mississippi: $87.860

There is a $24,260 difference between the highest paying financial advisers' work environment and the lowest. 

Here is how the 2019 pay breaks down by work environment:

  • Securities, commodities contracts, and other: $95,540
  • Credit Intermediation: $76.590
  • Insurance: $71,280

Based on the average base salary, financial advisers outearn:

  • Budget Analysts: $80,300
  • Financial Analysts: $94,160
  • Insurance Sales Agent (commissions can add a lot of money): $67,780
  • Insurance Underwriters: $77,640

Financial advisers are outearned by:

  • Financial Managers: $147,530

What is the job market like for financial advisers? Would it be hard for you to get a job?

The job market for financial advisers has risen since 1999.

In 1999, there were 79,970 employed financial advisers.

By 2019, the number of employed financial advisers increased to 210,190.

From 1999 - 2019, there was a gain of 105,100 employed financial advisers.

In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 4% increase in financial advisers.

By 2029, they are predicting 218,598 employed financial advisers. 

For this occupation, job opportunities will be in particular states.

The states with the greatest number of employed financial advisers include:

  • New York: 26,150
  • California: 25,910
  • Florida: 15,830
  • Texas: 12,800
  • Pennsylvania: 9,260
  • Massachusetts: 7,960
  • Illinois: 7,800

The states with the lowest number of financial advisers include:

  • Alaska: 110
  • South Dakota: 310
  • New Mexico: 310
  • Wyoming: 320
  • Vermont: 320
  • North Dakota: 370
  • West Virginia: 410

I used indeed.com to find the number of job postings for this occupation. 

Indeed.com has been rated the most popular search engine for job seekers by several sites. 

On Indeed.com, searching for the following terms in the United States:

  • "Financial Adviser"
  • "Financial Planner"
  • "Financial Consultant"
  • "Financial Counselor"

gave us 41,269 job postings.

In 2019, there were 210,190 employed financial advisers.

This gives us one job opening on indeed.com per 5 employed financial advisers.

Financial Advisers work in a variety of work environments, including:

  • Finance and Insurance: 28%
  • Professional Services: 23%
  • Manufacturing: 6%
  • Federal Government: 6%
  • Self-employed: 5%

In 2019, there were 99,680 employed financial advisers.

This is more than:

  • Budget Analysts: 51,460
  • Insurance Underwriters: 100,050

This is less than:

  • Financial Analysts: 458,510
  • Financial Managers: 654,790
  • Insurance Sales Agents: 410,050

Would this occupation be compatible with your interests?

If you haven't figured out your Holland Codes yet, please do! The Holland Codes or the Holland Occupational Themes (RIASEC) refers to a career and vocational choice theory. After taking a RIASEC assessment, your results show your scores across six different occupational themes: Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), Enterprising (E), and Conventional (C).

The Strong Interest Inventory is the gold standard for figuring out your interests, but it is a controlled assessment. It isn't free. You need a certified professional to administer it to you. A free alternative evaluation is available here.

According to the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), financial advisers score high in the Enterprising (95) and Conventional (78) themes.

People that score high in the enterprising theme describe themselves as ambitious, competitive, persuasive, assertive, and energetic. Often, they are motivated by persuading, selling, and leading. 

People that score high in the conventional theme describe themselves as practical, organized, conscientious, orderly, and careful. They are often motivated by organizing and managing information.

What kind of education do you need to become a financial adviser?

According to the Occupational Information Network (O*NET):

  • 52% have a bachelor's degree
  • 35% have a bachelor's degree with a certificate

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