What is a Career in Personal Finance?
A lot of people often don’t know what they want to be. Those who enter college will often get the course they thought they are interested but later on will change courses as they come to realize their actual calling. For me personal finance was one of the courses in college that really called out at me.
You might say it yelled at me. “Take me as your college course!” That would be how personal finance would be yelling inside my head. It may be weird to some of you but to most of you who had that epiphany of what you want to be, I know you can relate to what I mean.
To the uninitiated, personal finance is simple taking care of your own or someone else’s money. Although, there’s truth to that, but the process and the responsibilities are not as simple as what you might think. Personal finance is using financial principles to help individuals, families, or a singular unit get money, use that money wisely, save some, learn existing and possible life risks that would affect how they will gain and spend their money.
Okay, it may sound simple but combining all these principles to elements like checking and saving accounts, insurance policies, tax management, credit card loans, investments, retirement plans, and social security benefits, efficiently managing the finances is definitely a challenge.
Part of your job as a personal finance professional would be informing people how their financial decisions will come into play with their lives today or in their future. It is your responsibility to educate them on the consequences of their financial actions. With this in mind it is important to provide regular assessments of the client’s finances. Reevaluating the steps that were previously undertaken for financial gain and security should be conducted also on a regular basis to keep the financial situation updated and always in perspective.
Assessing where you are so far financially would mean getting all those balance sheets and income statements in order and trying to balance the values. Simple balancing of assets and liabilities is always the first step in assessment.
Once you know where you stand, you can set goals and objectives. It’s planning aside where you will be financially in say ten or fifteen years. Living off your pension after ten years, enjoying the good life is a goal that most people set for themselves. This is a good goal, since after working for years you earn the right to live the rest of your life relaxed and comfortable. Personal finance professional is supposed to help clients reach their personal goals.
To reach their goals, it is imperative that one has a concrete plan of action. In this plan, financial details will be laid out. Short term and long term goals with corresponding financial computations will help make overall financial planning a lot easier both for the client and the personal finance professional.
Now, assessment, setting objectives, and planning can all be tiring and time consuming stuff but the reason for all these meticulous planning is to ensure that implementation of the personal financial plan will go smooth. Admittedly, the most difficult phase of personal finance management is setting the plan in motion and sticking to it. Discipline is the word here. You need to constantly remind yourself of your final goal to keep you motivated and stick to your financial plan.
With this in mind, it would be important to conduct regular assessments and evaluations along the way. This will keep you focus and see if you have deviated from the main financial plan. You can put yourself back on track through regular reevaluation of your financial status.
This is basically what a career in personal finance will take you. Focusing on individuals or families and helping them with their financial management while incorporating philosophies, ideas, and elements of business and financial management techniques. Is this for you? For me it is.
Additional Outside Resources
Try as I might, I can't cover everything here. So here's a few helpful links if you're interested in exploring a career in personal finance further.