Is a Wealth Management Career Right for Me?

By: Kaplan Financial Education
March 7, 2019
confident wealth manager standing outside a business

If you've read our article that defines wealth management and the career appeals to you, you're likely interested in learning more about what it takes to be successful as in wealth management. Finance career opportunities are plentiful; the trick is uncovering which area of financial services is the best fit for you. This article explores the wealth management segment of financial services and which skills are required to be successful.

Wealth management is a similar path to financial planning. In fact, the major difference between wealth management and financial planning is the clientele. A wealth manager is commonly defined as someone who manages high-net worth clients (worth $1 million or more). Often these types of clients are broken down into two categories: high-net worth individuals (HNWIs) and ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs). HNWIs and UHNWIs require services like capital gains planning, estate planning, and risk management. Social Security benefits, retirement planning, and succession planning differ for HNWIs and UHNWIs than from the rest of the population because often they do not need all of their retirement savings. Wealth managers help people literally manage their wealth effectively, whereas financial planners tend to focus more on middle class clients who need help with lifestyle planning, budgeting, cash flow planning, and saving for college and retirement.

Important Skills for Wealth Managers

In addition to having a passion for helping HNWIs and UHNWIs manage their wealth, there are a number of important skills for succeeding in a wealth management career.


Being proactive is essential for success in wealth management. The career requires a strong desire to build a rapport with clients and go the extra mile to ensure they are receiving the best possible service. The industry is competitive...there are many other wealth managers out there who want your clients. Drive and stamina to work long hours will be important for success.

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While knowing how to crunch numbers is important for any financial professional, being able to communicate what the numbers mean for clients is vital to your success as a wealth manager. Whether in a face-to-face client meeting or corresponding via email, you must be able to explain complicated financial concepts in ways that make sense to your clients. A failure to communicate effectively could result in higher turnover for you, because your clients will not have a good understanding of the value you bring to them.


Being able to think long-term and envision what your clients will need from you in the immediate or distant future will help you be more successful. Clients will not always know what they need or what they should ask. Being able to anticipate situations and needs, and take care of them ahead of time, will not only build trust, but it will help you build a solid rapport with clients as well.


The scandals that have plagued the financial industry make ethics an increasingly important skill for success. Not only are advanced designations, such as CFA® and CFP® certification, making ethics a bigger priority than ever before, but the DOL Fiduciary Rule is also tightening government oversight on the industry. All clients, particularly high-net worth clients, want wealth managers who show integrity, confidentiality, and professionalism. Adhering to the utmost ethical standards is the best long-term retention strategy.

Now that you have a better idea of wealth management and the skills necessary for a successful wealth management career, we hope that you are able to better answer the question, “Is wealth management the right career for me?” Time to explore wealth management certifications  here!

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