Are you a fan of the business world? Do you like money? More importantly, do you like helping other people make money? If so, then becoming a financial analyst might be the right plan for you.As a financial analyst, you'll need to always stay on top of economic trends, business news, company strategies, international politics, and anything else that could impact the market.You'll also need to be able to analyze lots of different types of information and write reports for your clients that explain, in simple terms, why a certain investment is a good idea or a bad idea.And you'll need to think and act fast sometimes in order to take advantage of rapidly changing market conditions.There are two types of financial analysts: buy-side and sell-side. Buy-side analysts work for companies that want to invest large sums of money. They can be mutual funds, hedge funds, insurance companies, and universities that have large endowments. Sell-side analysts work with financial services sales agents who sell stocks, bonds, and other investments.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial analyst positions are expected to grow by 15.5%, or 39,300 jobs, between 2012 and 2022. That's much faster than the average for all professions, so that's the upside. The downsides are that competition for these jobs is strong, the pressure to perform can be high,and the hours can be long: About 30% of analysts work 50-70 hours per week.
Salaries and Job Outlook*
Education and Training
Most positions require a bachelor's degree, and many financial analysts also earn a master's degree in finance or business administration for a career edge. It's also common for them to pursue certifications in their field. Luckily, many employers choose to sponsor continued education of their financial analysts.
Valued Traits & Abilities
Financial analystsgenerally focus on a specific industry, geographical area, or product. Therefore,they need to be an expert in the laws, politics, regulations, and even the weather patterns that could impact the investments they're analyzing.
This person supervises a team of analysts and figures out the right combination of products, industries, and other types of investments for their company's investment portfolio. They're the ones that meet with investors to explain their strategy, and why they made the choices they made.
This person works only with larger investment groups, like hedge funds or mutual funds. They are probably dealing with huge sums of money and need to make very quick buy/sell decisions to take advantage of a constantly changing market.
This person's job is to analyze a company or government's overall financial health in order to assess its ability to pay off its debts. If they give a company or government a low rating, thenthat means it's a bigger risk for investors.
Most financial analysts work in offices, but they can travel a lot to visit companies or potential investors. Many work at large financial institutions based in New York City or other major financial centers. Almost half of all financial analysts are employed by the finance and insurance industries in places like security and commodity brokerages, banks and credit institutions, and insurance companies. Others work in private industry and for governments.