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Financial Analyst

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(6.2 out of 10)

Number of Jobs


Median Salary


Unemployment Rate

2.3 percent

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Financial analysts recommend to clients when to buy and sell investments by staying current on economic trends, business news and company strategy. They also write reports that explain their analysis, share their expertise with colleagues who aren’t financial experts and sometimes communicate their perspectives to the public and financial media. Many work for financial companies, including those in the financial services and insurance industries. For their influence and sizeable paychecks, financial analysts pay the price by working long hours: One in three put in between 50 and 70 hours a week.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial analyst positions are expected to grow by 15.5 percent, or 39,300 jobs, between 2012 and 2022, much faster than the average for all professions. But competition for these jobs is fierce, especially among analysts new to the field.


The paycheck is good. Financial analysts earned a median of $76,950 in 2012, with the lowest-paid making $47,130 and the highest-paid making $148,430. The best-paid in the profession work in the metropolitan areas of Bridgeport, Conn., New York City and San Francisco.

Salary Range

75th Percentile $103,410
Median $76,950
25th Percentile $58,970


While a bachelor’s degree is required (usually in a finance-related field), many financial analysts also earn master’s degrees in finance or business administration and take additional financial analyst courses. Many in the field also become certified financial analysts, and employers often sponsor certification and licensing programs. You’ll get an advantage in the field by obtaining a certification, such as chartered financial analyst, or by taking advanced courses in subjects related to your specialty. The ambitious may take on larger responsibilities and advance to supervisory positions, and the best of the best may go on to become fund managers.

Reviews & Advice

Manisha Thakor, founder and CEO of MoneyZen Wealth Management, says the financial services industry is changing quickly, which means the days of linear career paths are largely over. Her biggest piece of advice for aspiring analysts is to gain work experience while studying. “Something as basic as offering to work with an established financial professional for five to 10 hours a month can make all the difference,” she says. Thakor adds that networking and building relationships in the field is also essential. “So remember to keep one hand in the books and one hand out shaking new ones.”

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility good High
Stress Level poor High
Flexibility poor Below Average
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Last updated by Casey Quinlan.

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