Financial Advisors (Personal)
Main Topic: Human Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society
Overview: Personal financial advisors provide advice on investments, insurance, mortgages, college savings, estate planning, taxes, and retirement to help individuals manage their finances. Personal financial advisors assess the financial needs of individuals and help them with decisions on investments (such as stocks and bonds), tax laws, and insurance. Advisors help clients plan for short- and long-term goals, such as meeting education expenses and saving for retirement through investments. They invest clients’ money based on the clients’ decisions. Many advisors also provide tax advice or sell insurance. Although most planners offer advice on a wide range of topics, some specialize in areas such as retirement or risk management (evaluating how willing the investor is to take chances and adjusting investments accordingly). After financial advisors have invested funds for a client, they and the client receive regular investment reports. Advisors monitor the client’s investments and usually meet with each client at least once a year to update the client on potential investments and to adjust the financial plan based on the client’s circumstances or because investment options may have changed. Many personal financial advisors are licensed to directly buy and sell financial products, such as stocks, bonds, annuities, and insurance. Depending on the agreement they have with their clients, personal financial advisors may have the client’s permission to make decisions about buying and selling stocks and bonds.
Financial advising is increasingly global in scope in terms of the financial products that are offered and sold to clients. Stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments and investments could be from anywhere in the world, and financial advisors must understand the geographical context and how new regulations, policies, political situations, and economic trends may affect investments.
Geography skills and awareness, therefore, are important for financial advisors. If they are not geographically literate, they could be providing disastrous advice to their clients. But by understanding geography, and the complexities and contexts of regional differences in culture, economics, law, politics, and physical geography, they will provide much better information and analysis and be much more successful in their roles.
Geographers at work: Business geographer, industrial geographer, cultural geographer, economic geographer, human geographers
Recommended College Courses: Business geography, urban geography, economic geography, cultural geography, industrial geography, human geography, physical geography
Skills: Understanding of economics, finance, markets, human behavior, and especially how investment is influenced by geography (people and places); computer and database systems; critical thinking; teamwork
Occupation Group: Business and Financial
Learn more about Personal Financial Advisors from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm
Written by Christopher Anderson