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Career and Education Opportunities for Personal Financial Planners in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Personal financial planner career and educational opportunities abound in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. There are currently 1,280 working personal financial planners in Iowa; this should grow 31% to 1,670 working personal financial planners in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for personal financial planners, which sees this job pool growing by about 30.1% over the next eight years. Personal financial planners generally advise clients on financial plans utilizing knowledge of tax and investment strategies, securities, and real estate.

Personal financial planners earn approximately $25 hourly or $53,390 annually on average in Iowa. Nationally they average about $33 hourly or $69,050 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Accounting and Auditing, people working as personal financial planners in Iowa earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Accounting and Auditing nationally. People working as personal financial planners can fill a number of jobs, such as: account executive, investment advisor, and personal banker.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Cedar Rapids area, including two within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can get a degree to start your career as a personal financial planner. Given that the most common education level for personal financial planners is a Bachelor's degree, it will take about four years to learn to be a personal financial planner if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Personal Financial Planner

Personal Financial Planner video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, personal financial planners advise clients on financial plans utilizing knowledge of tax and investment strategies, securities, and real estate. They also duties include assessing clients' assets, liabilities, and financial objectives to establish investment strategies.

Personal financial planners analyze financial data obtained from clients to establish strategies for meeting clients' financial objectives. They also inspect clients' accounts and plans regularly to establish whether life changes or financial performance indicate a need for plan reassessment. Equally important, personal financial planners have to monitor financial market trends to insure that plans are effective, and to pinpoint any needed updates. They are often called upon to explain and document for clients the types of services that are to be provided, and the responsibilities to be taken by the personal financial advisor. They are expected to answer clients' questions about the purposes and specifics of financial plans and strategies. Finally, personal financial planners meet with clients' other advisers and investment bankers, to fully understand clients' financial goals and circumstances.

Every day, personal financial planners are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to deal with basic arithmetic problems. It is also important that they think through problems and come up with general rules.

It is important for personal financial planners to build and maintain client bases, keeping current client plans up-to-date and recruiting new clients on an ongoing basis. They are often called upon to sell financial products such as stocks and insurance if licensed to do so. They also devise debt liquidation plans that include payoff priorities and timelines. They are sometimes expected to conduct seminars and workshops on financial planning topics such as retirement planning and the evaluation of severance packages. Somewhat less frequently, personal financial planners are also expected to open accounts for clients, and disburse funds from account to creditors as agents for clients.

Personal financial planners sometimes are asked to meet with clients' other advisers and investment bankers, to fully understand clients' financial goals and circumstances. And finally, they sometimes have to explain to individuals and groups the specifics of financial assistance available to college and university students, such as loans and scholarships.

Like many other jobs, personal financial planners must have exceptional integrity and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Cedar Rapids include:

  • Accountant. Analyze financial information and prepare financial reports to determine or maintain records of assets, liabilities, profit and loss, tax liability, or other financial activities within an organization.
  • Auditor. Examine and analyze accounting records to determine financial status of establishment and prepare financial reports concerning operating procedures.
  • Budget Analyst. Examine budget estimates for completeness, accuracy, and conformance with procedures and regulations. Analyze budgeting and accounting reports for the purpose of maintaining expenditure controls.
  • Cost Analyst. Prepare cost estimates for product manufacturing, construction projects, or services to aid management in bidding on or determining price of product or service. May specialize according to particular service performed or type of product manufactured.
  • Credit Analyst. Analyze current credit data and financial statements of individuals or firms to determine the degree of risk involved in extending credit or lending money. Prepare reports with this credit information for use in decision-making.
  • Financial Analyst. Conduct quantitative analyses of information affecting investment programs of public or private institutions.
  • Financial Examiner. Enforce or ensure compliance with laws and regulations governing financial and securities institutions and financial and real estate transactions. May examine, verify correctness of, or establish authenticity of records.
  • Insurance Adjuster. Investigate, analyze, and determine the extent of insurance company's liability concerning personal, casualty, or property loss or damages, and attempt to effect settlement with claimants. Correspond with or interview medical specialists, agents, or claimants to compile information. Calculate benefit payments and approve payment of claims within a certain monetary limit.
  • Insurance Appraiser. Appraise automobile or other vehicle damage to determine cost of repair for insurance claim settlement and seek agreement with automotive repair shop on cost of repair. Prepare insurance forms to indicate repair cost or cost estimates and recommendations.
  • Insurance Underwriter. Review individual applications for insurance to evaluate degree of risk involved and determine acceptance of applications.
  • Loan Officer. Evaluate, authorize, or recommend approval of commercial, real estate, or credit loans. Advise borrowers on financial status and methods of payments. Includes mortgage loan officers and agents, collection analysts, loan servicing officers, and loan underwriters.
  • Tax Examiner. Determine tax liability or collect taxes from individuals or business firms according to prescribed laws and regulations.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Personal Financial Planner Training

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, IA

Kirkwood Community College, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-2068. Kirkwood Community College is a large college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,241 students. Kirkwood Community College has an associate's degree program in Finance which graduated nine students in 2008.

University of Iowa - Iowa City, IA

University of Iowa, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242-1316. University of Iowa is a large university located in Iowa City, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 29,475 students and an admission rate of 82%. University of Iowa has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Finance which graduated forty-four, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.


Accredited Tax Advisor: This credential is for practitioners who handle sophisticated tax planning issues, including ownership of closely held businesses, qualified retirement plans and complex estates.

For more information, see the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation website.

Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter: More than 65,000 people have earned the CPCU professional designation.

For more information, see the American Institute for CPCU and Insurance Institute of America website.

Personal Financial Specialist: CPAs who specialize in personal financial planning can earn a specialist's designation, the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS).

For more information, see the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants website.

Certified Pension Consultant: The Certified Pension Consultant (CPC) credential is designed for benefits professionals working in plan administration, pension actuarial administration, insurance, and financial planning.

For more information, see the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries website.

Qualified 401(k) Administrator: The Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) credential is conferred by ASPPA to retirement plan professionals who work primarily with 401(k) plans.

For more information, see the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries website.

Certified Financial Planner: The CFP certification process, administered by CFP Board, identifies to the public that those individuals in the U.

For more information, see the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. website.

Certified IRA Services Professional: Applicable to financial services professionals who have dedicated IRA operational and technical experience.

For more information, see the Institute of Certified Bankers website.

Certified Personal Banker: Applicable to financial services professionals who have completed the AIB Personal Banking Diploma and who function as personal bankers.

For more information, see the Institute of Certified Bankers website.

Certified Funds Specialist: The CFS 60-hour program provides the practitioner with everything needed to select the right fund for any given situation.

For more information, see the Institute of Certified Fund Specialists website.

Certified Annuity Specialist: The CAS program is a 60-hour self-study program.

For more information, see the Institute of Certified Fund Specialists website.

Board Certified Estate Planner: Board Certified in Estate Planning (BCE) is the only designation designed and offered to brokers, advisors, and planners who have clients interested in estate accumulation, preservation, and distribution.

For more information, see the Institute of Certified Fund Specialists website.

Registered Financial Associate: The Registered Financial Associate (RFA) is a designation granted only to recent graduates of an approved academic curriculum in financial services.

For more information, see the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants website.

Certified Investment Management Analyst: The CIMA offers an intense educational experience focusing on asset allocation, manager search and selection, investment policy and performance measurement.

For more information, see the Investment Management Consultants Association website.

Chartered Market Technician: The Chartered Market Technician (CMT) designation is the culmination of a certification process in which candidates are required to demonstrate proficiency in a broad range of technical analysis of the financial markets.

For more information, see the Market Technicians Association website.

Certified Retirement Specialist: If you are a professional with an interest in issues and opportunities in the 403(b) marketplace, advance your career by obtaining the Certified Retirement Specialist (CRS) designation.

For more information, see the NTSAA (National Tax Sheltered Accounts Association) Educational Institute website.

Economic Development Finance Professional: In NDC's EDFP Certification Program you will build the capacity to translate development opportunities into results for their communities.

For more information, see the The National Development Council website.


Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa photo by Davumaya

Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa. It has a population of over 128,056, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cedar Rapids, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cedar Rapids are valued at $103,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-nine new homes were built in Cedar Rapids, up from two hundred ninety-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cedar Rapids are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 28.4% of Cedar Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is 6.0%, which is less than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Cedar Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Seventh Day Church of God, Sevanth-Day Adventist Church and Hope Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Cedar Rapids. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cedar Rapids is home to the Brucemore and the Admissions Office as well as Tomahawk Park and Noelridge Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mays Shopping Center, Lindale Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Cedar Rapids can choose from Howard Johnson, Marriott Cedar Rapids and Clarion Hotel & Convention Center for temporary stays in the area.