Finance is often referred to as a shark's world. While this may be
true for the layman, it is the task of financial advisors to know
how to negotiate these tricky waters on behalf of their clients.
Finance advisors use their knowledge of investment, tax laws, and
insurance to help a pool of clients work out the best financial plan
for their goals. They also offer advice, and some even specialize in
areas like retirement and estate planning. Advisors can be found in
two categories, namely personal advisors, who work with individuals,
and financial analyst, who work in the corporate world.
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The job of the personal advisor starts with a consultation with a
client, where he notes down information about the client's finances
and goals. This then allows him to draw up a comprehensive plan,
where key problems are identified and options are suggested for
improvement. Afterwards, the advisor usually meets with the client
once or twice a year, to give an update on the financial situation,
and to enquire of any action on the client's part, like marriage or
retirement, which may affect the plan. The personal advisor can
also, on behalf of his client, purchase and sell financial products
like mutual funds or insurance, and is often responsible for drawing
up taxes and preparing a client's will. Personal finance advisors
usually work from their own homes, and rely on word-of-mouth
Financial analysts usually work for banks, insurance companies,
mutual and pension funds, securities firms, and other businesses.
Their job is to help those companies make sound financial and
investment decisions. They are responsible for reading the company's
financial statements, and for analyzing the prices, costs, sales,
expenses and tax rates of a whole industry to determine the
company's value and project its future earnings. Such analysts are
also needed in merger and acquisitions departments, to prepare
analyses of the costs and benefits of a proposed merger or takeover.
A bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, business administration,
or statistics, is usually required for finance advisors. Knowledge
of accounting procedures, corporate budgeting, and financial
analysis methods are often required of financial advisors, too. A
master's degree is often desirable in that case. Personal finance
advisors are strongly recommended to posses a degree in accounting,
finance, economics, business mathematics, or law.