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Is Finance A Good Career Path? A Quick Guide

    financial charts representing work in finance

    Choosing a career seems to be a question quite in vogue of late. Everyone is on the lookout for a successful and fulfilling career. This, in turn, helps them become independent and chart their path in life. And we at Totempool decided to shed light on the varied choices available. So, we started our 'Good career path' series. This piece is another excellent research content and aims to answer – Is finance a good career path?

    Let’s give you our opinion might away.

    Yes, finance is an excellent career path. A career in finance offers diverse opportunities for growth and development and is often seen as the gateway to success.

    With solid corporations in finance and top-paying jobs, the field is a must-go for those looking for challenges and returns.

    Let us find out more in detail.

    Table of Contents:

    1. What Are The Streams of Finance Available?
    2. Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Pursue a Career in Finance
    3. Certifications and Licenses
    4. What Finance Career Is Right For Me?
    5. What Finance Career Involves The Stock Market?
    6. Is Finance a Good Career Path For Students?
    7. Is Finance A Good Career Path?
    Business Finance, accounting, contract, advisor investment consulting marketing plan
    Career in Finance

    What Are The Streams of Finance Available?

    The first step towards understanding the answer to – Is finance a good career path? – is to understand the different streams available and what would be the right career for you. There are four significant streams of Finance. We shall explore them in some detail below:

    Streams of Finance
    Streams of Finance


    Committing money or capital to buy financial instruments is known as an investment. Additionally, one can use capital to purchase assets such as real estate.

    One invests to earn returns through earning, interest, or value appreciation. Investment is a method to delay spending.

    Financial Institutions

    These are institutions that collect funds from the public. The financial institution, in turn, puts this money in deposits, loans, or bonds rather than tangible property.

    International Finance

    This branch of financial economics is focused on the macroeconomic and monetary relations between countries. It examines the dynamics of balance of payments, floating exchange rates, foreign direct investment, and their effects on international trade.

    Corporate Finance

    Corporate finance deals with the capital structure of a corporation. These include decisions such as funding sources, accounting, and investments. The end goal here is to enhance the value of the firm. Allocation and prioritization of resources also fall under corFinancefinance.

    Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Pursue a Career in Finance

    career in finance
    Questions to ask before pursuing a career in Finance

    Often enough, the fancy salary figures thrown around in the media sway the minds of young people looking to pursue a career in Finance.

    However, one must always perform due diligence before making such important decisions. Here are five questions one must ask before choosing a career in Finance, and these will help answer the question – Is Finance a good career path?

    What Does A Career In Finance Entail?

    Number crunching on excel sheets is integral to finance. But, pursuing a career in this field involves plenty of other aspects, such as:

    • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
    • The ability to persuade others
    • People management
    • Negotiation
    • Legal knowledge

    An individual can't alienate himself from these. Hence, one must bear in minFinancefinance is an all-encompassing sector. So, it is essential to have a holistic approach.

    What Draws You To Finance?

    There is a lot of information that is readily available these days. So this leads to several assumptions about the kind of career one might hFinancefinance. Yes, this is an ideal career if one loves numbers and money or enjoys the volatility of the markets.

    But given the width of careers that finance offers, one must remember that working in investment banking is entirely different from working in commodities trading.

    What Are Your Strengths?

    Before deciding on a career in finance, one must clearly understand their strengths. Are your strengths suited to a career in Finance, and will they be used well?

    To summarize, a person must ensure that a career in Finance aligns with their strengths. For instance, if one is creative, Finance might not be the area for them. Also, if a person is more inclined towards looking at the larger picture rather than, the finer details, he is better suited to a career in strategy.

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    What Do You Wish For?

    The decision to pursue a career in Finance must be yours and yours alone, and it must not be a result of societal pressure or herd mentality. Therefore, one must ensure this decision is in sync with the end goals.

    Is a person looking for excellent career growth opportunities and willing to sacrifice work-life balance in the short term? The answer to this question depends purely on what you expect from the job.

    What Are Sunk Costs?

    This is a question that will make sense if you are switching to finance from another career stream. It would be best to analyze whether the efforts and energies invested while hitting finance are worth it.

    Once you have satisfactorily answered these questions, you can enroll in some courses online to get a flavor of the subjects to understand if Finance is the right career path for you.

    Certifications and Licenses

    certification and licenses in finance career path
    Certifications and Licenses

    A bachelor's degree in Finance is considered the bare minimum for any finance job. However, additional certifications and licenses are a way of proving to your potential employer that you are willing to go the extra mile. In this section, we shall look at some reputed certifications in Finance.

    Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

    This is one of the most recognized qualifications that financial professionals have. However, it is restricted to banking and Finance. This is an ideal degree for those interested in a career in asset management, investment banking, private equity, or hedge funds.

    To complete the CFA qualification, one must pass three generally considered complicated and tricky examinations.

    Additionally, one needs 48 months of investment or banking-related experience in a full-time role. People who complete the CFA have a firm grounding in equity investments, corporate finance, derivatives, financial reporting, and portfolio management.

    Financial Risk Manager (FRM)

    The FRM designation is an international risk certification offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). The topics covered in this exam are tools for assessing financial risks, such as financial markets, risk modeling, quantitative analysis, and valuation. Career options for FRM professionals include Chief Risk Officer, Senior Risk Analyst, and Head of Operational Risk. To complete this certification, one must:

    • Clear both levels of the exam
    • Have two years of relevant work experience
    • Be a member of the GARP
    • Complete 40 hours of CPD training every two years

    Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

    This is a certification that requires one to have a bachelor's degree with finance-specific coursework. Additionally, one must possess 6000 hours of financial planning experience or 4000 hours of apprenticeship experience. And one must pass a grueling 6-hour exam to be certified.

    Chartered Market Technician (CMT)

    The CMT is a globally recognized specialized certification focused on the technical analysis of investments. So, it helps one create a unique profile with technical and financial analysis expertise. Moreover, a person must hold a CMT membership and agree to its code of ethics. This is a three-level exam.

    Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

    This exam prepares you for careers in public accounting, managerial accounting, and tax planning and preparation. Also, it enhances avenues for higher-paying careers in accounting and management. This exam requires a degree or 150 credit hours in accounting or Finance.

    In some states, one must also have a Social Security Number or US citizenship. It has four parts – auditing and attention, business environment and concepts, financial accounting, and auditing. The last part of the exam is regulation.

    Certified Management Accounting (CMA)

    Management accountants are essential to determine financial metrics that help their daily operations. Pursuing CMA requires a person to have a bachelor's degree.

    Additionally, one needs to have at least two years of work experience and be a member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). The exam consists of two parts. Part 1 consists of financial planning and analysis, and part 2 deals with strategic financial management.

    Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)

    This designation is meant for individuals working in the alternative investment space, such as hedge funds and private equity. It is also helpful for people in less traditional roles, such as derivatives or trading desks. One has to clear a two-level multiple-choice examination to earn this certification.

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    Chartered Investment Management Analyst (CIMA)

    The CIMA certification covers asset allocation, risk measurement, due diligence, risk measurement, and investment policy.

    Since this is a specialized certification, only persons with at least three years of professional consulting experience can take this up. CIMA requires continuous re-certification and training of at least 40 hours every two years.

    Roles in Finance: What Finance Career Is Right For Me?

    Finance professional
    Finance professional

    We have now arrived at the most critical parameter to answer the question, Is finance a good career path? Let us look at some of the parts that the finance sector has to offer. The breadth of the career roles provided.


    Actuaries are best suited for a corporate finance career, and an actuary's national average salary is around $125,000. These professionals utilize their knowledge to measure the livelihood and severity of the risk. They also can predict and minimize the impact of upcoming risks, and this is an ability that is extremely useful for businesses.

    Financial Analyst

    Financial analysts use their research skills and knowledge of securities to advise firms on their investment decisions. They measure the risks and approve or reject investments in stocks, bonds, and other securities. Also, they forecast the company's ability to repay its debts by including bonds. Financial analysts typically make $74,000 a year.

    Financial Accountant

    Financial accountants keep track of the company's reports. They primarily deal with a company's financial statements. These include the profit and loss statement, balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statements.

    A financial accountant earns more than $63,000 a year. Additionally, they record every transaction and maintain the accounts of a firm. They are also responsible for keeping track of overall investments in various projects.

    Investment Banker

    The role of an investment banker is highly versatile. They help the public and private sectors issue debt and securities. Furthermore, investment bankers often advise on transactions about mergers and acquisitions.

    They work in a manner that helps businesses raise capital to achieve their growth goals. An investment banker makes more than $80,000 a year on average. Furthermore, when it comes to investment banking analysts, this number goes up to $90,000.

    Security Trader

    Security traders are a medium between the buyer and the seller. They help sell securities like shares or bonds to various potential buyers in the financial market. They do this either on their account or their employer's account based on their level of expertise.

    Security traders also assess the securities' performance based on their stability or speculative tendencies. Their average salary per year is over $88,000.

    Hedge Fund Analyst

    The job of a hedge fund analyst is similar to that of an investment banker. The primary difference lies in hedge fund analysts managing high-risk and rewarding portfolios for investors who pool their capital to invest in hedge funds.

    They have to monitor the markets to protect investors constantly. This makes the role of a hedge fund analyst extremely demanding. Top hedge fund analysts earn around $200,000 a year.

    Private Equity Associate

    Private equity associates are professionals that help investment firms create deals. They assist in finding potential investors, assist with acquired investments, and perform due diligence for existing customers of an investment bank.

    Additionally, their duties include restructuring existing deals. Private equity firms come in all sizes, which leads to slight variations in the type of work these associates are involved in. They make $100,000 a year on average.

    What Finance Career Involves The Stock Market?

    A finance career can involve many aspects of the financial world, but one of the most common and well-known is the stock market. A job in the stock market can be fascinating and rewarding, but it also comes with many risks. If you're thinking about a career in the stock market, here's what you need to know.

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    The first thing to understand about a career in the stock market is that it is highly volatile. The stock market can go up or down at any time, and you could lose a lot of money unprepared. It's essential to understand the risks before you get started.

    Another thing to remember is that a stock market career requires a lot of research. You need to understand how the markets work and what factors can affect them.

    Several careers involve the stock market; examples include the most prevalent being a stockbroker, who is responsible for handling customer transactions. A stockbroker must understand how stock markets function and be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Another option is becoming a stockbroker.

    An alternative is to become a securities sales agent; they handle sales for customers who wish to invest by considering their financial assets, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, portfolios, collections, etc.

    Next, some private financial advisers help clients invest in the stock market with sound investment decisions. To earn this role, you need a postsecondary degree.

    Finally, personal financial advisors aim to help clients make sound investments in the stock market. A bachelor's degree is required in an appropriate field, like accounting, economics, or business, to pursue any of these careers. Also, getting certified by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is typically required.

    Is Finance a Good Career Path For Students?

    There are numerous internships and externships in the finance area. A single search on LinkedIn shows that there are more than 3.6K internships available in the USA that include the following jobs:

    • Accounting Intern
    • Tax Intern
    • Audit Intern
    • Summer Intern
    • Finance Intern
    • Claims Representative
    • Actuarial Intern
    • Tax Specialist
    • Underwriter
    • Property Specialist

    Among the tops companies offering internships, there are:

    • PwC
    • Travelers
    • Grant Thornton LLP (US)
    • Carr, Riggs & Ingram
    • Baker Tilly US
    • Wipfli LLP
    • CohnReznick LLP
    • BerganKDV
    • Baird

    The salary distribution on LinkedIn shows that around 19% earn between $40,000 and $60,000. Glassdoor shows that the average finance intern job pays 56,633 /yr, starting from $30,000 and going up to $107,000!

    Finance Internship Salary Distribution on LinkedIn

    After showing the number of jobs available, the high salaries, and the career as a future finance professional, we consider Finance a great career path.

    Is Finance A Good Career Path?

    So, after all the reading, are you still considering a career in finance? It’s an exciting and ever-changing field full of potential. Finance professionals constantly work to be ahead of the curve, developing creative solutions for complex problems. But is finance a good career path? Let’s explore critical points about this lucrative field to help answer that question.

    Professionals in this field work with money and investments daily, gaining invaluable experience. From banks to corporations, financial institutions offer enticing salaries, benefits packages, and more—all while allowing talented individuals to hone their skillset daily. Plus, there are also specialized areas within finance, such as accounting or investment banking, where you can focus your efforts.

    The answer to the query is yes if you are looking for tremendous growth opportunities. Also, one should not forget this is a highly lucrative path with many perks and that Finance professionals are always in demand.

    However, this is a highly stressful field with extremely long working hours, and this is because one is constantly exposed to demanding clients and tight deadlines. This is also an area heavily influenced by external macroeconomic factors and the state of the economy.

    Additionally, to maintain an edge in this field, employees must keep learning, which is highly taxing and continuously expensive.

    If you want to know more about other career paths, check out this list on Totempool. You can make your choices with solid information before moving to a particular industry. If you want to learn how to choose your career path, check out this article.

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