Personal financial planners and advisors help their clients prepare for the future. Through a combination of careful planning, strategic investments, and timely advice, financial planners develop plans for each client's needs and goals. This growing field already includes more than 270,000 professionals working across the finance industry. Individuals combine their financial analysis skills with interpersonal communication abilities and sales knowledge to grow their business.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 40,400 financial planners to enter the workforce from 2018 through 2028, representing a 7% occupation increase. According to PayScale, the average financial planner earns $62,556 annually. This guide shows how earnings and job growth vary depending on your education level, geographic location, and industry.

Learn More About a Career as a Financial Planner

How Much Do Financial Planners Make?

Median Salary

A PayScale survey found the average financial planner's salary to be $62,700, though the BLS reports a median salary of $88,890. Income varies depending on your education and experience. Moreover, some industries pay more than others, and the cost of living differs between cities, affecting salary ranges.

Salary by Experience

Individuals typically see their salary grow throughout their career. As you gain work experience in your field, you also build your knowledge and skills. Employers offer higher salaries to attract individuals who understand their job's day-to-day demands and who demonstrate an ability to perform those job functions. Some professional certifications also require three to four years of work experience. These voluntary credentials may increase salary potential.

Experience Salary
< 1 year $47,000
1-4 years $57,000
5-9 years $70,000
10-19 years $83,000

Salary by Degree

A career in financial planning may begin with a bachelor's degree in business, accounting, finance, or a related field. A master's degree with a focus on financial analysis can enhance a resume, especially in a competitive job market. Some companies may also require a graduate degree for promotions or leadership positions.

Bachelor's Degree

Median Salary: $73,000

Liquid error: internal

Master's Degree

Median Salary: $101,000

Career Path Salaries

As financial planners gain work experience, build their portfolios, and prove their financial planning abilities, they may seek career advancement opportunities. Prospective certified financial planners must first pass a test, document their work experience, and agree to follow a strict code of ethics. Financial advisors serve similar roles as financial planners, but they work with institutions and organizations instead of individuals.

Potential Next Step Salary
Certified Financial Planner $66,568
Financial Advisor $58,078
Financial Planning and Analysis Manager $99,416

What Are the Top States for Financial Planner Pay?

New York, the home of Wall Street, ranks first among the top states for financial planners in terms of salary. It also employs the most financial planners, with 26,710 people working across the state. When selecting a state to live in, consider job opportunities, cost of living, and annual median wages.

  • New York

    Annual Median Wage: $164,260

  • District of Columbia

    Annual Median Wage: $158,460

  • Wyoming

    Annual Median Wage: $135,340

  • Maine

    Annual Median Wage: $135,170

  • North Carolina

    Annual Median Wage: $134,860

What Are the Top Industries for Financial Planner Pay?

The real estate industry offers the highest salary for financial planners, but with limited employment opportunities. The BLS reports only 550 financial planners working in this industry, earning an annual median wage of $161,860. The securities industry follows real estate in pay. It also employs the most financial planners, with 144,130 working in the field and earning an annual median salary of $129,950.

Industry Annual Median Wage
Real Estate $161,860
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities $129,950
Other Investment Pools and Funds $128,580
Grantmaking and Giving Services $123,140
Management of Companies and Enterprises $117,210

Are Financial Planners in Demand?

Historical Career Growth

Financial planners and personal financial advisors need about 25,500 new workers each year to fill annual job openings. As the baby boomer generation nears retirement, companies should hire new financial planners to replace retiring workers and meet client demands for more financial planning services. New York, Los Angeles, and Boston represent the top cities for employment of financial advisors.

Employment of Financial Planners

  • New York: 27,570
  • Los Angeles: 10,520
  • Boston: 8,740

Future Career Growth

Overall, the BLS anticipates a 15% employment growth for financial planners and personal financial advisors from 2018 through 2028. This growth exceeds that projected for all financial specialists (10%). Securities and financial service sales agents expect only a 6% growth in employment during that time. Financial managers perform similar services, but they work with companies and organizations to ensure long-term financial stability. This career anticipates a 19% employment growth.

Similar Career Job Growth

Top States for Job Growth

Colorado leads the nation in employment growth for financial planners, boasting a 35.8% projected increase from 2016 through 2026. The state anticipates 630 annual openings in the profession. Other states with slower growth also offer substantial employment opportunities. California, with a projected 10.9% growth, anticipates 2,920 yearly openings. Florida, with a 24.7% anticipated growth, expects to fill 1,610 annual job openings.


35.8% Change from 2016-2026


31.8% Change from 2016-2026


29.4% Change from 2016-2026

North Dakota

26.7% Change from 2016-2026


25.8% Change from 2016-2026

How Do Financial Planners Compare to Other Accounting Careers?

The financial services industry offers a variety of career opportunities with overall job growth of 10% projected from 2018 through 2028. The BLS reports the total median salary for financial occupations at $68,350. Financial analysis serves as a foundation for many of these positions. Financial planners can use their expertise in this area to move into new professions as well, such as budget analysts, financial analysts, financial examiners, management analysts, and market research analysts.

Most of these jobs require at least a bachelor's degree in business, accounting, finance, or a related subject.

Job Title Projected Growth (2018-2028) Median Salary
Personal Financial Advisors 15% $88,890
Budget Analysts 7% $76,220
Financial Analysts 11% $85,660
Financial Examiners 10% $80,180
Management Analysts 14% $83,610
Market Research Analysts 23% $63,120

Take the first step in your career today

Learn More About Financial Planner Salaries and Job Growth

  • U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics This bureau within the U.S. Department of Labor tracks employment data, such as unemployment and labor force participation. It also collects salary information for thousands of professions and uses its data to project job growth in various industries.
  • PayScale uses crowd-sourced data regarding salary, job descriptions, and career pathways. It offers detailed salary reports based on location and experience level. The site reports more than 150,000 new surveys added each month. While PayScale makes much of its data publicly available, business subscriptions offer additional salary information related to market pay ranges.
  • Center on Education and the Workforce Georgetown University hosts the nonprofit research institute within its school of public policy. The center evaluates how education impacts career qualifications and workforce demand. It offers data analysis in the areas of job projections, the economic value of education and certifications, and other benefits of higher education.
  • O*Net Online Developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, this resource collects information related to job tasks, skills, and qualifications. Detailed reports include various job titles used in the profession, specific technology skills commonly included in job descriptions, and wage and employment trends.
  • Projections Central The Projections Managing Partnership provides state-level data on industry and occupational growth. It offers both short-term and long-term projections, which states and individuals can use to select appropriate training programs or choose a career path. The partnership works closely with the U.S. Department of Labor's employment and training administration and the BLS.