Financial Advisor Classes and Courses Overview

Most financial advisor classes lead to a bachelor's degree in financial planning, accounting, economics or finance. Career options for graduates of a financial advising or planning program include investment advisor, financial advisor, financial planner, stock broker or accountant. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, a bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement to become a personal financial advisor.

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Overview of Financial Advisor Courses

Introductory Financial Advising

In an introductory financial advising course, students learn about the duties of a financial advisor, which include helping clients make saving and investment decisions, as well as valuation and asset management. Course topics include trading, pricing of securities in financial markets, sources of capital and risk management. Some courses may include insurance basics. Students use these skills to help individuals and businesses plan their financial strategies.

Accounting

Accounting is an important class for prospective financial advisors because it teaches students to record business transactions, understand accounting cycles and evaluate inventory, payroll, shareholder equity and liabilities. Accounting courses provide a foundation in financial statement analysis, cost behavior and profit analysis. This course provides students with accounting basics but does not prepare them for careers as accountants.

Risk Management

Financial advisors use risk management principles in order to give sound financial advice to clients. Risk management courses generally cover disability, life and medical insurance and introduce students to the importance of risk management in the global financial market. Topics like investment risk, market risk and probability theory are examined. Students learn how to read insurance policies and advise clients on insurance issues.

Investment Planning

Students learn basic investment concepts, types of investment vehicles, investment risks and returns, bond and stock valuation and asset allocation. Other special topics of instruction include efficient market theory, portfolio management, investment taxation, securities market, security analysis and growth stocks.

Retirement and Employee Benefit Planning

Students learn about social security plans and other types of retirement plans. Additional subjects of instruction include qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, IRAs, disability insurance, employee benefit plans, stock options and group life insurance. Students may need to complete accounting or math prerequisites before enrolling in this course.

Estate Planning

Estate planning issues, methods of property transfers, estate planning documents, gift taxations and gifting strategies are covered in this class. Students learn about liquidity needs, estate tax calculations, valuation, powers of appointment and marital deductions. Coursework may include analysis of case studies.

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