Financial Advisor Salary and Job Requirements
Most of Andrew Harbour’s relatives work in construction. Harbour builds, too: financial portfolios, client relationships and retirement plans.
Harbour is first vice president of investments and a senior portfolio manager with Salomon Smith Barney. As an undergraduate student at Taylor, Harbour studied business systems, a combination of business administration and information systems.
“It’s all your core business classes, but you tilt towards business analysis and problem solving,” he says. Through a special program at Taylor, Harbour was Series-7 certified while he was still a student. A Series-7 certificate is a license that allows you to buy and sell stocks. At his graduation ceremony, Harbour clutched a diploma in one hand and a Series-7 certificate in the other.
Earning his Series 7 as a student allowed Harbour to start work immediately instead of having to complete his licensing before getting a job. “It gave me credibility,” he says. It was also a good self-marketing tool. While companies would have to spend time and money to certify a new hire, Harbour could offer his services directly out of school. A financial advisor salary also reflects extra training, education, and certifications.
Now, Harbour works for Salomon Smith Barney, a company that specializes in managing the wealth of individuals and corporate compensation issues such as stock options and 401(k) plans. Harbour’s clients span from New York to Hong Kong. He has a team of people who travel for him, attending conferences and meeting clients around the world.
“It’s a tremendous amount of responsibility,” he says. “When it comes down to money, people are very particular about what they want done. The responsibility is on us to take good care of them.”
It’s a responsibility that Harbour takes seriously. He works directly with his clients to make the best use of their money. If the stock market is up, Harbour spends his day rebalancing portfolios. If the market is down, he could move money from stocks into more stable funds to protect his clients’ wealth. “It provides me the opportunity to make a difference in somebody’s life,” Harbour says of his job. “Whether that be planning for retirement or so they can put their child through college, I can help people in an area that’s very critical to their well being. Not a lot of people can say that.”
Working in the financial industry helped Harbour understand the need to plan for the financial future at an early age. He suggests putting away money as soon as you start making some. Growing your portfolio, like increasing your client list, is a process. “As soon as you start making money, you need to start saving money. In a business like this, everybody starts at zero,” Harbour says. “It’s a building process.”
Financial Advisor Salary Range
According to a recent US News and World Report, there are currently approximately 66,400 jobs in financial advising. The median financial advisor salary is $66,580. Salaries vary greatly between regions of the country. with the lowest paid 10 percent earning around $32,810 and the highest-paid 10 percent earning more than $187,199. The highest paid in the profession work in the metro areas of Bridgeport, Connecticut.
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