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5 Rewarding Careers in Finance

Some careers are good, some are bad and some are great. Getting the right mix of challenge, personal satisfaction and compensation can be difficult (but not impossible). Finance is one industry that can certainly offer all three. While finance has lost some of its appeal since 2008, it is still a vibrant industry and offers quite a bit to those that are interested. Finance is probably one of the more challenging careers (high expectations, but great rewards as well) and is not for everyone. But if you are great with numbers and want a meaningful and  challenging career, then consider some of the jobs in today’s post.

Financial Analysts

  • What They Do – Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They understand and review macroeconomic and microeconomic conditions along with company fundamentals. They review business and industry dynamics and may make recommends based on their analysis.
  • How Much They Make – According to BLS, the median pay for Financial Analysts is $77,000 per year. The lowest 10% earned less than $47,000 while the top 10% earned in excess of $148,000. The job outlook is 16%, faster than the average for careers.
  • Education and Training Requirements – While college is not required, there is an expectation that financial analysts have an undergraduate degree in Finance or Accounting. An MBA or Masters will certainly help your career. All Financial Analysts must have good computer skills and should consider Excel training courses.


Personal Financial Adviser (Financial Planners)

  • What They Do – Personal financial advisers generally give financial advice to small businesses and individuals. Based on the review their review of financial needs, they help individuals make decisions on investments, other personal financial questions and retirement planning.
  • How Much They Make – According to BLS, the median annual salary for Personal Financial Advisers is $67,500 per year with the highest paid earning in excess of $187,000 (sounds great!). The job outlook is 27%, faster than the average.
  • Education and Training Requirements – An Bachelor’s degree is generally required. There is also several types of certification such as a Certified Financial Planner (which also helps). As with Financial Analysts, a masters degree is also helpful.


Insurance Underwriters

  • What They Do – Underwriters analyze risks on behalf of insurance companies. They Brokers analyze the risk factors on an application and submit their findings to insurance companies on behalf of individuals and businesses. Most insurance underwriters typically specialize in one of the main insurance fields –  life, health, and property and casualty.
  • How Much They Make – According to BLS,, the median annual salary for all workers was $34,750. The highest 10% earns in excess of $92,000 per year. Job growth is below the average.
  • Education and Training Requirements –While not required, a bachelor’s degree certainly helps. Strong computer skills is also required. Certification is generally required for advancement to senior underwriter and underwriter manager positions.


Financial Brokers

  • What They Do – Like financial planners, Financial brokers give financial advise to individuals in terms of buying and selling securities (stocks, bonds and other financial instruments) that meet their investment profile. They provide information on companies and financial instruments and make recommendations to their clients as to what they should include in their portfolio.
  • How Much They Make – According to BLS, the average annual stock broker salary in the U.S. is $100,910. The bottom 10% in the profession earn $32,030 or less and the top 10% of stock brokers earn in excess of $161,000 per year.
  • Education and Training Requirements – There is no formal degree requirements, but a bachelor’s degree certainly helps. Degrees should be in Finance, Accounting, Math or Economics.  Finance graduates have a good shot at being hired and those with an MBA in finance have the best chance. Most countries and local municipalities require one or more licenses, depending on the types of securities and where the broker is located.


Financial Examiners

  • What They Do – Financial examiners monitor the financial condition of banks and other financial institutions. They can be “internal” examiners or work for a regulatory agency (like the SEC or Federal Reserve). They review balance sheets, and income statements. The review internal document to confirm assets and liabilities. They will generally issue a detailed report at the end of the examination listing their findings. They must understand regulations and policies to determine their the organizations compliance with minimum requirements.
  • How Much They Make – According to BLS, the median pay for Financial examiners is $77,000 per year. The bottom 10% earn $45,000 while the top 10% earn in excess of $145,000.
  • Education and Training Requirements – You typically need a bachelor’s degree in Finance or Accounting. A degree in Accounting with a focus on Auditing can be very important in helping you land a job.


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