Jobs with a finance degree???

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I am very interested in a career in either financial analysis or financial planning. I’ve read plenty of stuff on the internet, but I’m still kind of fuzzy on what each of these jobs really is.

I would appreciate it if someone could tell me the job description/salary/work enviroment, etc. for one or each of these jobs.

Also, I am considering earning an MBA. I know this is a stupid question but just how much would getting it really help me? And what is the deal with all of the certificates? Are there any of them that are required/ recommended to work in either of these fields?

I appreciate any and all answers.

Most financial analysis jobs would almost certainly require a CPA license which means at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting and depending on the rules in your state, possibly a master’s degree and several years’ experience in the field. A financial planner does not necessarily have to be a CPA, but if you want the higher paying positions (as opposed to the lower paying “financial planners” employed by your local Wachovia branch, etc who really do nothing more than help you set up predefined accounts offered by that particular bank) then you will probably need an MBA and CPA license. Rich people don’t tend to hire undereducated people to handle their money. 😉

Depending on what area of financial planning or analysis you go into you could be earning in the mid 20K’s per year (entry level “financial planners” in branch banks) to well over 200K per year. Don’t expect to be anywhere near the top end of this bracket unless you graduate from an Ivy League school and have some good connections in New York’s financial district or something. Keep it realistic but most importantly know that YOU have to decide what it is you want to do with the degree. If you want to bust your hump and work 18 hours a day in a big firm for a juicy paycheck then plan on living in a major city and chasing that dream. If you prefer to live in a smaller town and possibly open a financial planning franchise like an AG Edwards or something, plan on working a litle bit less and not clearing 100K most years. If you want a 9-5 job with little real accountability (and therefore little real investment power), plan on making somewhere south of 50K. It just depends on you.

One generally accepted rule of thumb is that in any given career (financial or otherwise) you should be able to pay back the cost of obtaining an MBA (just the 2 years additional above your BA) with the raise that you garner from obtaining it (even if that means changing positions or companies). Based on that, it is a no brainer that it would it would be helpful. But, like anything, a degree is only as useful as you make it. If you pay for an MBA then work in a Piggly Wiggly for 10 years it is not going to help one bit so make sure you MAKE A MOVE on your career even if that means moving to a new city or company to capitalize on the investment you make in your education the minute you are done with school (or sooner if you can get your foot in the door of a larger company with room to grow).

I am not familiar with the certificates specific to financial planning, but any college professor in your chosen field will be fully capable of guiding you into the right certificates. It doesn’t sound like you are in school for this field now so don’t get bogged down on the details of a 2 hour certificate exam when you can’t even get to that point without tackling the big picture of College first.

Best of luck!


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