Personal Financial Advisors
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Overview
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Advise clients on financial plans using knowledge of tax and investment strategies, securities, insurance, pension plans, and real estate. Duties include assessing clients' assets, liabilities, cash flow, insurance coverage, tax status, and financial objectives. May also buy and sell financial assets for clients.
Titles for this career often contain these words
FinancialAdvisorCounselorConsultantManagerAdviserInvestmentPlannerPensionPersonalAnalystEstateAccountAssetSpecialistIndividualInsuranceRepresentativeSecuritiesWealthExecutiveBudgetCertifiedCFPCharteredCFACreditDebtPlanningFinanceAgentCoordinatorProfessionalRetirementPlanSolutionsFiscalInvestmentsMoneyBankerPortfolioRegisteredRelationshipSociallyResponsibleStrategistTrusteeManagement
Education
About 81% of personal financial advisors have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by personal financial advisors
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More personal financial advisors have bachelor's degrees than 87% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Personal financial advisors, with 271,700 workers, form a larger workforce than 82% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for personal financial advisors are expected to grow by 7%, and should have about 23,200 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
The likelihood of automation for personal financial advisors is near the middle of all careers' likelihoods.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for personal financial advisors compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most personal financial advisors earn.
$88K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Note: The salaries for personal financial advisors have been top-coded by the BLS; in 2019, all annual salaries larger than $208,000 are recorded as $208,000.
Gender
Women account for 31% of personal financial advisors -- that's a smaller percentage than 56% of other jobs.
Gender of personal financial advisors
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For personal financial advisors, the median men's salary was 27% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 16% of personal financial advisors are minority, and 11% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of personal financial advisors
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (11%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Personal Financial Advisors per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Benefits
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Context: workers are union members
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of personal financial advisors who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (66%)
  • Consequence of Error (43%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do personal financial advisors earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries. This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for personal financial advisors (BLS Salary Data)
$88K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$88K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Note: The salaries for personal financial advisors have been top-coded by the BLS; in 2019, all annual salaries larger than $208,000 are recorded as $208,000.
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for personal financial advisors (ACS Salary Data)
$74K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$74K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Personal Financial Advisors: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $77KAll jobs' median $45K$76K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire personal financial advisors.
Employers of Personal Financial Advisors (ACS)
Private for-profit (76.8%)
Private not-for-profit (3.6%)
Local government (0.5%)
State government (0.8%)
Federal government (0.6%)
Self-employed incorporated (8.5%)
Self-employed not incorporated (9.0%)
Working without pay (0.1%)
Distribution: Salaries of personal financial advisors by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$74K$87K$74K$70K$50K$55K$74K$56K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Note: The salaries for personal financial advisors have been top-coded by the BLS; in 2019, all annual salaries larger than $208,000 are recorded as $208,000.
Distribution: Salaries of personal financial advisors by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$88K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000$250,000All
Note: The salaries for personal financial advisors have been top-coded by the BLS; in 2019, all annual salaries larger than $208,000 are recorded as $208,000.

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for personal financial advisors

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$82K$82K$85K$73K$37K$85K$81K$84K$58K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
010K20K30K40K50K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Personal financial advisors and gender

With 31% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 56% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
31%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Personal financial advisors
Men (69%)
Women (31%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for personal financial advisors tops that, with the median salary for men 27% higher than the median salary for women.

$63K$80K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Personal financial advisors have one of the more significant inequity issues, with the increase in men's median salary over women's median salary even higher than that for 76% of other jobs.

27%0%20%40%60%80%100%

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of personal financial advisors

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a smaller percentage of minority personal financial advisors than for 70% of other careers. As with minority workers, there is also a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of personal financial advisors
White (83% )
Asian (7% )
Black (6% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (1% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
16%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
11%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for personal financial advisors by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$53K$55K$64K$65K$76K$80K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KBlackOtherMultiracialHispanicWhiteAsian
Distribution: Salaries for personal financial advisors by nativity
$73K$74K$0$50K$100K$150KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Personal financial advisors and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 7% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 67% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
7%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time personal financial advisors is shown following.

$28K$74K$0$50K$100K$150KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by personal financial advisors

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), personal financial advisors typically hold a bachelor's degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as personal financial advisors as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for personal financial advisors

Personal financial advisors typically need a bachelor’s degree. Although employers usually do not require personal financial advisors to have completed a specific course of study, a degree in finance, economics, accounting, business, mathematics, or law is good preparation for this occupation. Courses in investments, taxes, estate planning, and risk management are also helpful. Programs in financial planning are becoming more available in colleges and universities.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for personal financial advisors

Personal financial advisors who directly buy or sell stocks, bonds, or insurance policies, or who provide specific investment advice, need a combination of licenses that varies with the products they sell. In addition to being required to have those licenses, advisors in smaller firms that manage clients’ investments must be registered with state regulators and those in larger firms must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 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.

Certifications can enhance a personal financial advisor’s reputation and can help bring in new clients. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards offers the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification. For this certification, advisors must have a bachelor’s degree, complete at least 3 years of relevant work experience, pass an exam, and agree to adhere to a code of ethics. The CFP exam covers the general principles of financial planning, insurance planning, risk management, employee benefits planning, income taxes and retirement planning, investment and real estate planning, debt management, planning liability, emergency fund reserves, and statistical modeling.

Education attained by personal financial advisors
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for personal financial advisors? Below we see the distribution of personal financial advisors salaries based on the education attained. You may have noticed in the dashboard and elsewhere that BLS top-codes salaries. ACS also engages in a form of top-coding, but by looking at the broader field of personal financial advisors and using the ACS, we are able to see some of the higher salaries and can give a better idea of the range of salaries for this field.

$50K$54K$52K$75K$94K$95K$88K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KHigh School (4%)Some College (10%)Associate's/Cert. (5%)Bachelor's Degree (55%)Master's Degree (21%)Professional Degree (4%)Doctorate (1%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

College majors held by personal financial advisors

This table shows the college majors held by people working as personal financial advisors.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Percentage of Personal financial advisors with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
The link between degrees and careers

With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as personal financial advisors, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.

Financial ManagersAccountants and AuditorsSpecialized ManagersPersonal Financial Adviso...Financial and Investment ...Chief executives and legi...Securities, Commodities, ...Lawyers, and judges, magi...Loan OfficersFirst-Line Supervisors of...First-Line Supervisors of...Wholesale and Manufacturi...Labor Relations Specialis...Customer Service Represen...Elementary and Middle Sch...Retail SalespersonsManagement AnalystsPostsecondary TeachersFirst-Line Supervisors of...Bookkeeping, Accounting, ...Marketing ManagersSales ManagersMarket Research Analysts ...Sales Representatives of ...Education and childcare a...Paralegals and Legal Assi...Specialized Social Worker...Educational, Guidance, an...Specialized PsychologistsRegistered NursesSecretaries and Administr...Secondary School TeachersFinanceBusiness Management andAdministrationGeneral BusinessEconomicsAccountingMarketingPolitical Science andGovernmentPsychologyCommunicationsHistoryAll other degreesThis jobTop 10 majorsEach major's top ten jobs
What college major is your best entry?

About 81% of people working as personal financial advisors have at least a bachelor's degree. Each dot represents a college major leading to these jobs, with the dots to the right representing the majors sending the most of their grads into this career. The dots at the top are the majors who earn the most working in this career.

Darker colors have a larger percentage with graduate degreesOverall median salary0.0%2.0%4.0%6.0%8.0%10.0%12.0%14.0%16.0%18.0%Percentage with this major$50,000$60,000$70,000$80,000$90,000$100,000$110,000$120,000$130,000$140,000$150,000$160,000Median salary with this major
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for personal financial advisors

What jobs will most personal financial advisors hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of personal financial advisors reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Personal Financial AdvisorsFinancial ManagersFirst-Line Supervisors of Non-Retail Sales WorkersAccountants and AuditorsChief executives and legislatorsFinancial and Investment Analysts and SpecialistsSecurities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales AgentsInsurance Sales AgentsManagement AnalystsCustomer Service RepresentativesOffice and administrative support workers, all otherLoan OfficersFirst-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers
Lateral job transitions for personal financial advisors

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 11 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as personal financial advisors as well as 1% of respondents after working as personal financial advisors. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Prior and next careers for personal financial advisors: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as personal financial advisors? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of personal financial advisors surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most personal financial advisors? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as personal financial advisors. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Personal Financial Advisors per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.01.02.03.0
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where personal financial advisors earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for personal financial advisors compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for personal financial advisors.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Location-adjusted median salary for Personal Financial Advisors (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which personal financial advisors earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
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$0$50K$100K$150K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?