Critical Skills Needed to Work in Financial Planning - Northwestern Mutual

Critical Skills Needed to Work in Financial Planning

See how well your skills and traits match up.

There are five key traits nearly all successful financial professionals possess. If you see yourself in these, it’s time to talk with a recruiter.

A Love for Finance

As with many careers today, the people working in them likely didn’t receive a college degree in the field. Financial planning is no different. Many advisors financial professionals majored in something else but have found a career that uses their strengths and their passion for financial planning.

Eagerness to Learn

Whether your degree was in business or not, you must love to learn to be successful in this career.  Starting out, you’ll learn how to create and run financial plans while also learning about the products and solutions you’ll sell to meet the needs of your clients. Product licensing is part of this process.

Learning doesn’t stop after you’ve been in the business for a while, and that’s why so many people love it. Whether it’s new products, changes in legislation (like taxes) or taking on more complex planning needs (like wealth management services), you’ll constantly be learning and growing in your career.

52 percent of advisors made a career switch to the financial advice business from another industry1

At Northwestern Mutual, we believe so strongly in ongoing learning that much of your training and certification is paid for by the company.

Ability to Listen

Building trusted relationships and gaining an understanding of your clients’ hopes, dreams, fears and needs can be achieved only by being a good listener. You’ll spend a good amount of time learning about your clients; this is critical to building a personalized financial plan.

Drive for Success/Competitiveness

Financial planning is educating people on finances and consulting on the options available to them. But it also includes a large sales component. And in any consulting and sales role, you will hear no. Having personal drive and being competitive will help you keep going.

Being competitive isn’t necessarily about competing with others. It’s more about challenging yourself. Think about how you felt when you set a goal (running your first 5K, paying off a credit card bill, losing weight) and achieved it. Having self-confidence, drive and commitment are key to being successful.

Time Management & Organization

This career takes a lot of juggling, but with it comes the flexibility to let you live your life the way you want. To be successful in this career, you need to know how to organize yourself and be able to manage time appropriately – from client meetings to paperwork, scheduling, customer service and personal development.

Do you see yourself in these descriptions? Are you intrigued and want to learn more? Chat with one of our recruiters to see if our career might be a good fit.