Why Become A Financial Analyst?

"I’ve been looking into different occupations in finance. Finance seems like a very sensible field, considering that what I want from a job is something that will help me make money, and finance is all about making money! I was wondering why I would consider becoming a financial analyst (rather than another finance job)? Seems like a popular choice nowadays."

asked by Ned from Portland, OR

Becoming a financial analyst allows you to enjoy a profession in the finance field which pays well and offers ample opportunity. Perhaps you have checked into the similar job of financial manager. Financial analysts are lower on the chain of command than financial managers, and make less than financial managers. There is one very good reason to think about becoming a financial analyst instead of a financial manager, though, and that is demand.

Financial management is growing. The rate of growth according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is 9%. The financial analyst position however is growing quite quickly at a rate of 23%. So there are far more opportunities to become financial analysts than financial managers.

What do financial analysts do? All companies need to make decisions about how to manage their money in order to grow. Financial analysts and financial managers work together to research into current market conditions and investing vehicles. They then make recommendations to the company about investments and other financial decisions. They may also carry out those investments. Companies trust these employees to make critical decisions on their behalf.

Another great thing about financial analysis is that it pays well. The median annual salary in 2010 recorded by the BLS was $74,350 per year. For a standard full-time position with 40 hours a week, this works out to $35.75, which is quite a nice wage. The only drawback is that you may be putting in a lot of extra hours, so if your position is salaried, the hourly rate may not be as high as it initially appears. It is very common for financial analysts to work substantial overtime.

The role they play is so critical that there really are no other options. Without their expertise, the health of the companies suffers. In fact, the decisions they make are so vital that good financial analysts can pave the way for an organization’s future, and bad financial analysts can doom the company they work for.

Becoming a financial analyst not only puts you in a powerful position with an organization, but also teaches you skills you need to know about investing for your own financial life. It is a high-paying job with a lot of demand. Despite the fast job growth, though, there is plenty of competition.

You can get a financial analysis job with a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree will help you stand out among your competitors. It is also a wise investment if you have your eyes on a financial management position at some point in the future.

Career Spotlight: Financial Analyst

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