Financial Analyst

By Eric Hammer

A financial analyst is a rather unusual profession in that the job involves both making a lot of money and helping people who need help. In other words, like a doctor, it's one of the handful of professions where you can do real good for people while doing very well for yourself. Here's why being a financial analyst can be so rewarding in more ways than one:

First of all, a financial analyst works with people to help them plan their financial lives - you spend your days meeting with clients who need help to plan for retirement as well as for major life events. Your duties may include helping your clients to set up a college savings account for their newborn or it may include helping them to prepare for purchasing their first home in a few years time. You may also be involved in helping your clients to pick the right mix of investments to make their money grow.

At the same time, as a financial analyst, you can potentially make some real money, especially if you advise people who happen to be wealthy themselves. That's because many (though not all - some work on an hourly basis) financial analysts actually earn a percentage of the money they help their clients to earn. This means that you can potentially have a windfall if you are able to help your clients to have a windfall.

How Much Can You Make?

As noted above, some financial analysts work independently and are more like stock brokers than pure financial analysts. In this case, your income is largely dependent on the amount of work you do and how successful you are in helping your clients to generate wealth. For other financial analysts who work with middle class people, the income is solidly in the middle class, with the average being just shy of $50,000 per year according to

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A pure financial analyst works on a one time basis to help people to make plans for their financial lives. However, many financial analysts also work as something akin to a stock broker where they help their clients to make additional investments and as such can reap a windfall when they help their clients reap a windfall.

Remember as well that there are all kinds of financial analysts. The most common ones are those who work with middle class people to help them plan for major events in their lives. However, there is another form of financial analyst, known as a wealth manager who does much the same thing, but who does it for the super rich, advising them on investments and taking a percentage of any income that these people earn.

Remember as well that as a financial analyst, you are something like a psychiatrist for your clients, helping them to plan ahead while at the same time helping to allay their fears about the future. You need to be calm and understanding with them, especially when things don't go the way they hope they'll go since you are in essence the one they'll turn to for advice when their finances seem to be spiraling downward.

Qualifications / Requirements

Generally, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in order to become a financial analyst. It is also possible that you may need to a masters degree in finance for some jobs. In addition to this, you'll need to get various licenses depending on the specific nature of your work. For example, a financial analyst may need to be licensed as a stock broker in order to do her job. You can find out which licenses are required by talking to your state licensing board and explaining which areas of work you plan to be involved in as a financial analyst.

First Steps

Start by earning your bachelor's degree and master's degree if required. Then, contact large financial analysis companies and ask about available positions. Eventually, you may want to strike out on your own as you become more successful.


Investopedia: Becoming a Financial Analyst - Another excellent guide to this profession from one of the premier websites for investing online.

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