How much does a financial advisor in Kansas City, Missouri, make? The short answer is a pretty good living! The median financial advisor Kansas City salary is $89,331 per year, which is 32 percent more than the national average. So, it’s a well-paid industry.

Like any profession, there are extremes. Junior advisors typically earn less than the average while they learn their trade. Top advisors, on the other hand, can comfortably earn six-figure incomes because the quality of their advice is such that clients are happy to pay high fees in return.

Average figures are only approximations based on third-party submissions. They don’t take into account the years of experience, qualifications or tenure of the advisor, all of which determine actual take-home pay. With that in mind, here are the six factors that affect a financial advisor’s salary in Kansas City.

1. Professional Certifications

CFA, CFP, CIC, ChFC — there’s an alphabet soup of financial certifications. And these three letters can have a huge impact on your pay grade.

For instance, to get the CFP designation, candidates must hold a degree from an accredited college, complete an extensive course of study and pass a series of rigorous exams. While most firms will not insist on CFP certification, holding it is the holy grail. It shows that you meet the highest ethical and professional standards.

Customers often check for CFP certification when selecting a financial advisor. So, it is extremely valuable to firms in terms of attracting new business. Most employers will give extra credit to finance professionals who have the right certifications.

2. Years of Experience

Typically, the more experienced you are, the higher the pay. At the bottom of the scale, a junior financial advisor with up to 24 months’ experience may be lucky to earn $40,000 to $50,000 per year. Top-flight, 20-year qualified advisors might pull in $200,000 to $250,000 annually. That’s a huge range.

Past employment as a stockbroker, wealth manager, investment advisor, business development manager or accounting professional all count toward your experience. Be sure to emphasize these roles if you’re attending an interview or having a performance review. The skills you acquire in these jobs translate well to the role of financial advisor, so you may be worth more money.

3. The Company You Work For

Financial advisors work in all sorts of places, from banks and insurance companies to wealth management firms and retirement planning organizations. You’ll even find them in educational institutions, law firms and tax consultancies. There are lots of options!

As a rule of thumb, Fortune 500 and nationally renowned privately owned companies will offer higher salaries than niche, single-office operations. But that’s not always the case. Some boutique Kansas City firms have a policy of recruiting the best of the best. These firms may be offering extremely competitive salaries.

If you’re shopping for a new position, consult the employer for actual salary details. They may vary greatly between organizations.

4. Supply and Demand

Financial advisors are one of the most in-demand positions, according to a recent CareerCast report on the toughest jobs to fill. And that makes it easy for well-qualified advisors to jump ship when a better opportunity comes along.

Why is this good news?

Well, generally employers are willing to pay a premium for someone who remains loyal to the company. Have you stuck around? Brought in clients? Added value? If so, then these could be your strongest negotiating points in your next request for a promotion or performance review.

5. Location

How do Kansas City salaries compare with neighboring cities in Missouri? For the purpose of generalized comparison, Kansas City financial advisors have the highest wages in the state. St. Louis comes a close second, offering an average salary of $79,899 per year.

The lowest salaries are in Chesterfield and Springfield, where financial advisors earn an average $42,766 and $39,071 per year, respectively.

6. How You Charge

The way you or your firm charges clients impacts your salary. For example, an adviser who works on an hourly rate can only ever earn the sum of the hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours she bills in a year.

Let’s assume an advisor charges $200 an hour and bills 800 hours a year. She will gross $160,000 of revenue before overhead. As a self-employed financial advisor, she will take that amount less taxes and expenses. As a salaried advisor, she will take home a percentage of that revenue based on her firm’s payment structure.

Some financial advisors earn a mix of salary and bonuses. These are largely determined by the amount of client assets you manage and the amount of revenue you bring in. If you charge a percentage of assets that you manage — one of the most common ways of charging — then as your account value grows, you will make more money.

So, the better your record of investing and relationship-building, the more cash you’re going to receive.

The Bottom Line

The job title “financial adviser” encompasses everyone from junior support advisors to top-notch retirement planners with years of technical expertise. Annual salaries are therefore quite varied. Even regional averages don’t offer much of a comparison.

The bottom line is this: always ask the company for specific salary details if you’re job hopping. And know that whatever your experience, Kansas City financial advisors can command a far higher-than-average salary.

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