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Finance Professional: Overview of Different Financial Careers

Learn about the various career options for financial professionals and the skills required for each of them. Get a quick view of the job requirements as well as details about the employment outlook in the financial industry.

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Financial professionals use knowledge of finance, accounting, and tax laws to provide financial services. Qualified individuals can provide assistance with personal finances, corporate finances, or both. Financial professionals should have strong analytical and customer service skills.

Essential Information

Financial professionals are knowledgeable about investments, corporate finance and accounting. Three types of financial professionals are personal financial advisors, financial analysts and financial managers. Both the job outlook and salaries vary among these professions.

Career Personal Financial Advisors Financial Analyst Financial Manager
Available Specializations Generalists, investments or retirement Buy side or sell side Cash, risk or insurance
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 30%* 12%* 7%*
Annual Median Salary (2015) $89,160* $80,310* $117,990*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Financial Careers

Personal Financial Advisors

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), personal financial advisors, also referred to as financial planners, assist clients in investments, tax laws and other finance issues (www.bls.gov). These professionals interview clients and make recommendations depending on their goals. Financial advisors may educate their clients on financial terminology, investment strategies and other topics. The BLS indicates that, although many financial advisors work as generalists, some specialize in certain areas, like investments and retirement.

Both self-employed financial advisors and those who work with firms often have to recruit their own clients. To do this, advisors need strong sales and customer service skills. In addition to staying current on financial regulations, financial advisors must be aware of economic situations around the world. Those who buy or sell certain commodities may be required to obtain licensure.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS states that employment opportunities for personal financial advisors were expected to increase 30% from 2014-2024. This growth will be an effect of an increase in retirees who need retirement advice in the coming years. Other opportunities may arise in areas like private banking and wealth management. The BLS reports that the median salary for a personal financial advisor was $89,160 in May 2015, while individuals in the top 25% earned over $153,000.

Financial Analysts

The BLS defines financial analysts as professionals who provide guidance with investment decisions. They analyze potential investments by performing research, such as interviewing key personnel or reviewing financial information. There are two categories of financial analysts - buy side and sell side analysts. Buy side analysts work for companies looking to invest their money, while sell side analysts help companies sell investments.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

Employment for financial analysts was expected to increase 12% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS. The expected growth is due to the expanding complexity and risk associated with the financial industry and, in effect, a greater demand for professionals who can conduct research and make recommendations. The BLS reported that the median annual salary for a financial analyst was $80,310 in May 2015. Analysts in the top ten percent earned over $160,000.

Financial Managers

Financial managers oversee the fiscal operations of companies or government agencies. These professional help implement financial plans and oversee other professionals in the department. They often make personnel decisions and find new revenue streams. Financial managers may be classified under several titles, such as cash, risk or insurance managers.

Financial managers must remain up to date with the changes in financial regulations and banking laws. They are often responsible for ensuring that their departments follow these laws. Experienced managers may go on to become chief financial officers.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS states that employment opportunities for financial managers were expected to increase 7% from 2014-2024. While growth may be limited, most companies need financial managers, especially as regulations continue to change and global expansion affects business. In May 2015, the BLS reported that the median salary of a financial manager was $117,990, while individuals in the top 25% earned over $163,000.

Financial professionals can assist individuals and organizations with achieving financial health. They can obtain positions such as personal financial advisor, financial analyst, or financial manager. Each of these positions have a positive job outlook.

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