Many students and young professionals are interested in pursuing a career in the finance industry, and their interest is well-placed. While it can be a competitive industry, it’s also one rife with opportunity, advancement potential, and monetary gain. Consider the facets of a career in finance and decide if this career path is right for you.
High Earnings Potential
Finance careers offer plenty of opportunity for commanding high earnings. Many financial professionals find themselves making six figures within the first decade of their career, especially as they garner more experience. Starting salaries for Merrill Lynch financial advisors come in around $63,000, according to GlassDoor. Because many finance careers are based on commission, this salary is often supplemented by tens of thousands of dollars. As you acquire certifications, you can also demand higher salaries.
Plenty of Job Opportunity
Finance professionals are always in demand, regardless of the market or economy. Individuals will always need guidance on investments, businesses and corporations will always require strategic financial analysts to guide their decisions. Thanks to this facet of the industry, you can always expect a wide array of job opportunities within the field of finance.
The field of finance is constantly evolving, and professionals in this industry are tasked with keeping up. For most, this comes in the form of continued education. There’s always more to learn, and as new trends and technology rear their heads within the industry, finance professionals must take initiative to remain abreast of advancements. Many choose to acquire master’s degrees, both online and in traditional university settings. Others pursue one of the many certifications available. From CMAs to CPAs, CFPs to CFAs, there’s a seemingly endless list of certifications that can make you a standout amongst industry peers. Keep in mind that these certifications aren’t easy to come by. Consider the CFA designation. The title of Chartered Financial Analyst is prestigious, and for good reason. This designation is only received after passing three parts of an intensive exam facilitated by the CFA Institute. With pass rates of 40 percent and below common amongst the various portions of the test, many finance professionals find themselves repeatedly attempting the test before passing. If you do decide to go this route, you’ll need to invest both time and money into the process. Keep in mind that while the best CFA prep courses can cost hundreds of dollars, it’s more than worth the investment as it may help prevent expensive retakes.
Working in the finance industry means being able to handle high levels of stress. In many positions, you’ll be working under tight deadlines, find yourself immersed in high pressure environments, and have the weight of a ton of responsibility on your shoulders. Depending on the career path chosen, you may find yourself dealing with high power clients and large investments that can have extreme impact on the success of a business or corporation should they fail. If the market takes a downward dive, you will deal with higher levels of stress. If you find that you excel in high pressure situations, a career in finance could be the right choice for you; if you don’t, it may be wise to look elsewhere for a fulfilling position.
The field of finance offers plenty of opportunity for flexibility, and finance professionals can find themselves working in a variety of roles in a wide array of industries. Whether you want to become a financial adviser or stock broker, you’ll find numerous employment opportunities. You might choose to become an actuary, work as a certified public accountant, or serve as an investment banker. There’s no limit to the available roles, and it’s important to consider which positions best fit your personality, skillset, and career aspirations.
If you’re interested in a career in finance, consider the benefits and disadvantages of this particular path.