Financial Planner Responsibilities

by Tom Gresham

Financial planners work with clients to help them manage their money. They tend to work with individuals and families. Nearly 25 percent of financial planners were self-employed in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual wage for a financial adviser that year was $64,750. Employment in the profession is expected to grow 32 percent between 2010 and 2020, considerably stronger than the 14 percent growth projected for all professions.

Acquiring Clients

An important component of a financial planner's routine responsibilities is securing relationships with clients. Financial planners often are responsible for acquiring their own clients. They engage in a range of efforts to attract potential clients to develop a relationship with them. Among the ways financial planners pursue clients are through social and business networking, holding financial education events and seeking publicity through advertising and other marketing efforts. In addition, they sometimes cold call potential clients, reaching out to them unprompted with a pitch to work with them.

Client Goals

Financial planners work with clients to identify their short-term and long-term financial goals. The process starts with gaining an accurate view of the clients' current finances, including building a clear picture of the clients' assets and their obligations. They discuss the financial needs the clients will face in the future, such as retirement and education, and they weigh how well the clients' current financial arrangements will work toward meeting those needs. Through the process, financial planners help clients think through their financial situation and understand it better.

Developing Plans

Financial planners help clients develop a strategy to meet the goals they identified. They advise them on the most appropriate financial services available and give them options to consider. Financial planners are responsible for offering thorough knowledge of a variety of financial instruments, because they must detail the potential benefits and drawbacks of various choices and answer their clients' questions, addressing their concerns and serving as an educational resource. Planners also make recommendations, though the choice ultimately lies with the clients.

Executing Plans

Once a planner and a client have agreed on a plan for the client's money management, the planner helps execute the plan. Some financial planners have the authority to buy and sell certain financial products, such as stocks and bonds, while others work with authorized agents to make the trades, according to the BLS. Financial planners monitor their clients' accounts, making sure their clients' investments are working as well as planned. They offer advice to their clients about making adjustments to their investments as conditions change.

About the Author

Tom Gresham is a freelance writer and public relations specialist who has been writing professionally since 1999. His articles have appeared in "The Washington Post," "Virginia Magazine," "Vermont Magazine," "Adirondack Life" and the "Southern Arts Journal," among other publications. He graduated from the University of Virginia.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images