What You Should Know About Careers in Finance

Those attracted to careers in finance are a particular breed; they thrive off of high-pressure situations, love deadlines, and work better when the stakes are higher. There’s plenty of reason to follow a career path in the financial services industry—exciting job opportunities, plenty of room for advancement, and high earnings potential. However, the finance sector isn’t all positive; there are certain disadvantages to this path. Take both the good and bad into consideration before embarking on your path to financial positions.

Long Hours

If you’re looking for a 9 to 5 job, finance isn’t the route for you. Because finance relies heavily upon global markets, you’ll find that your schedule is inconsistent. You can expect early mornings, late nights, and weekend work depending on your position, firm, or employer. It’s also important to consider the fact that this industry is never stagnant; you’ll be constantly expected to remain abreast of the latest trends, meaning your job is simply never finished. This can see you working even longer hours than anticipated, and prove to be more stressful than you might imagine at first.


Speaking of stress, those in the finance industry need to be able to manage their stress levels. There are high-pressure deadlines and fast paced work environments, and your efforts can often affect the outcome of a project, indicating a high level of responsibility. You’ll be dealing with high power clients and large amounts of cash. Should the market turn, you may find yourself in hot water, which can prove to be extremely stressful. Those who do go into this industry must be aware of the dangers and risks inherent to the consistent pressures, and look for ways to alleviate stress from the very start. Whether that be through guided meditation or by way of yoga, it’s important to come up with an action plan.

Plenty of Diversity

Which path will you take? Finance is a field rife with opportunity, and this diversity draws in individuals from all manners of discipline. However, the job you choose can mean the difference between salary rates, stability, and advancement. Just a few of the jobs one might pursue in the finance industry include:

  • Financial adviser
  • Financial trader
  • Investment analyst
  • Actuary
  • Chartered accountant
  • Banker
  • Investment banker
  • Corporate treasurer
  • Tax adviser/inspector
  • Stock broker

Each of these facilitates the need for varied educational requirements, and each offers its own set of challenges and rewards, so it’s important to consider which is best suited to your job aspirations.

Advancement Opportunities

Despite the stresses and time commitment inherent to finance careers, there are serious benefits in the form of advancement opportunities. There are a variety of credentials and certifications that can help you stand out amongst your peers, which in turn will open up the doors for better employment and higher salary rates. From CFA charters to CPA certifications, there’s a bevy of roles that offer clear cut paths for advancement. Even better news? Employers are often willing to foot the bill for these advancements, as expanding your skill set and company prestige can help the business in the long run. Depending upon your employer or firm, you may find that your company is willing to pay for you to pursue an online master’s degree. Others may help you foot the bill for study materials and resources. Considering that CFA Level 1 study material alone can cost hundreds of dollars, this can be extremely beneficial for your future—and your wallet.

The Money Flows

Finance jobs do offer some pretty impressive compensation rates, especially when compared to other top industries. Even those just starting in the finance sector can reap big rewards. According to Allbusinessschools.com, the median annual salary for personal financial advisors comes in at $81,060, while financial managers can expect to make a median annual salary of $115,320. While you won’t necessarily make these numbers your first year in, it’s easy to see that the potential for amazing compensation is there.

If you’re considering a foray into the field of finance, consider both the positive and negative aspects of this type of career. While there are great advantages, including high compensation rates, advancement opportunity, there are setbacks in the form of stress and time commitments.

photo credit: homethods Entrepreneur, Employer, Leader – Credit to https://homethods.com/ via photopin (license)

2 Responses to “What You Should Know About Careers in Finance”

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  1. Don’t forget the bonuses!! Usually a 115k salary comes with at least 30% in bonus/profit sharing/ etc.

    I’m currently working for a bank doing statistical analysis and some of those reasons you listed are some hesitations for me to move to asset management (doing similar work).


  2. The high pressure and great pay is exactly what drew me to a financial career. I currently work as an analyst at a mid west bank. I’m not in the high pressure role yet but the officers I work with make no less than $100,000 a year as lenders. They essentially lend to companies with revenue in excess of $10,000,000+. Not a bad profession to step into if you want to make bank…pun intended.

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