Making a career change, or choosing your career path if you’re still in school, is a major life decision. Whether you’ve tried out one path and weren’t happy with it, or you’re still studying and trying to decide what career path is right for you, finding out which skills you need for success is an essential step in making your decision.
Having a passion for finances isn’t the only determining factor of success if you’re considering being a financial advisor. There are a number of other essential skills that relate to finances—and some that don’t—that you should develop if you haven’t already. Progressing up the career track of a financial advisor means being well-rounded and being proficient in a number of different skill domains.
Here are the five skills you need if you want to be a successful financial planner.
1. Mathematical skills
Of course, if you’re going to be crunching numbers all day, you need to be good at math. Your mathematical and analytical skills should be top-notch, as it is the very basis of financial adviser jobs.
2. Communication skills
If the mathematical and analytical skills required for financial planning are considered the floor, communication skills are considered the ceiling. In order to complete various basic functions of the job, you need to be able to communicate your knowledge effectively. Your speaking, writing, and presentation skills should be strong as you will need to present to investors or board members at some point in your career, and all the information needs to be conveyed in a way that people can easily understand.
3. Marketing and sales skills
This rings true for most professions in today’s digitally connected world, but financial advisors also need to be able to market their professional skills to prospects in their markets, as well as new clients. You should focus on more than just how much knowledge you have on the subject and include some focus on how much you care about the work you do. Often, clients will seek out help from a financial advisor because they want to better provide for their family’s long-term needs, rather than being overly concerned about their monetary wealth. If you’re trying to attract new clients, you need to market yourself in a way that lets potential clients know you care about their goals and will help them achieve them.
4. Relationship management skills
Managing relationships is an essential life skill just as much as it is an essential skill for financial advisors to have. To succeed as a financial advisor, you need to be able to understand different personality types and be able to truly listen to what they’re asking from you. You can do this by asking the right questions, educating them and offering pertinent advice, and resolving conflicts. Clients will turn to you for an unbiased opinion and help with understanding their issues and needs so they can make better financial choices.
5. Technical proficiency
No matter what office you work for, you will need to be proficient with technology. This means being able to use computer software and hardware, and being able to quickly adapt to new programs that are related to your job. Being skilled in Excel will help immensely, so study up on your shortcuts and keys since it’s an integral piece of software to anyone working in finance.