Everything About A Financial Analyst Career
You think about becoming a financial analyst but are still not sure whether this job is right for you or not?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about a financial analyst career in the following chapters.
Not only will you get to know how much you can make as a financial analyst, but we will also talk about job satisfaction, prospects, future outlook, working hours, work-life balance, educational requirements, social impact and much more.
After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to become a financial analyst or if you rather want to strive for a different career instead.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
What does a Financial Analyst do?
Financial analysts analyze markets and create reports so that companies can make profound investment decisions.
Financial analysts also analyze the balance sheet of big corporations to spot weaknesses in the financial situation of companies before they give appropriate investment advice.
Apart from working on the investment side of things, financial analysts also work internally for a company and try to improve financing structures to make the company they work for more profitable in the long run.
Responsibilities & Duties of a Financial Analyst
- Analyzing financial markets
- Creation of investment proposals
- Spotting weaknesses in the balance sheets of corporations
- Giving short-term and long-term investment advice
- Improving the financing structure of companies
- Making sure that companies comply with rules and regulations
- Reporting to the senior management
- Analyzing the financial performance of companies
- Forecasting potential financial problems for companies
- Investigating investment opportunities
- Lower capital expenditure in general
- Preparation of presentations
- Working on complex financial models
What a Typical Day of a Financial Analyst looks like?
Most financial analysts get to work between 8 and 9 a.m.
Most of the time, financial analysts will analyze financial markets or the financing structure of companies to make sure that companies are financed as efficiently as possible.
Moreover, financial analysts will frequently report to the risk department to make sure that the current financing structure is alright from a risk management perspective.
Throughout your workday, you will read many market reports and sometimes also create your own ones.
You will also get in touch with various different departments to assure the overall efficiency of the company you work for.
While you will not have to work long hours if you work for an industrial company, you will often have to work until the late evening or even nighttime if you work as an analyst for an investment bank.
Hence, whether your workday will end between 5 and 6 p.m. or between 9 and 11 p.m. greatly depends on the industry your work in as a financial analyst.
Financial Analyst Salary 2021
Financial Analyst salary brackets 2021
|Salary Brackets||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Top 10 %||> $168,000||> $83.41|
|Top 25 %||$98,000 – $112,000||$48.93 – $55.88|
|Bottom 25 %||$67,000 – $73,000||$33.38 – $36.36|
|Bottom 10 %||$55,000 – $62,000||$27.44 – $30.92|
|Range||$55,000 – $188,000||$27.44 – $93.87|
Financial Analyst salary 2021 by expert level
|Level of Experience||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Entry level||$55,000 – $63,000||$27.44 – $31.42|
|Junior||$61,000 – $69,000||$30.38 – $34.46|
|Professional||$67,000 – $84,000||$33.37 – $41.93|
|Senior Professional||$82,000 – $95,000||$40.95 – $47.39|
|Expert||$93,000 – $115,000||$46.41 – $57.45|
|Top Expert||$112,000 – $188,000||$55.96 – $93.89|
Financial Analyst salary by state 2021 (average)
|State||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|District of Columbia||$81,900||$40.91|
Job Security for Financial Analysts
Financial analysts have pretty decent job security.
Since they are highly skilled workers and can provide significant value to the company they work for, financial analysts are in high demand right now and even if you lose your job due to some strange reason, chances are that you will find another job pretty soon and don’t have to worry about getting unemployed that much.
Future Job Prospects of Financial Analysts
While the future outlook for financial analysts is still pretty decent, some jobs will also be lost since some financial analysts will be replaced by machines in the near future that will be even better able to optimize financing structures and cost far less money.
Hence, you may no longer have freedom of choice regarding whom you want to work for as it is the case right now just a few years from now.
Working Hours of Financial Analysts
While you will work in a classical 9 to 5 environment if you work as a financial analyst in the industrial sector, you may have to work much longer if you work for an investment bank, for a private equity company or for other investment vehicles in the financial sector.
Job Satisfaction of Financial Analysts
While many financial analysts are really interested in the topic and generally like what they are doing, many of them also complain about high stress levels at work and also about the long hours they have to work on a regular basis.
Promotion Opportunities of Financial Analysts
Promotion opportunities for financial analysts are pretty decent.
Since financial analysts usually work a lot, they also get better at what they are doing rather soon and will therefore get the chance to have lots of responsibility at a rather young age.
For instance, if you start working as a financial analyst in your early 20s, you may get into a leading position in your company before you even turn 30.
Career Levels of Financial Analysts
- Financial analyst intern
- Junior financial analyst
- Senior financial analyst
- Senior financial analyst with budget and/or personnel responsibility
- Manager of an analyst team
- Head of the analyst department
- Head of the financial department of a company
- Chief financial officer
Fields and Types of Financial Analysts
- Analysts focused on analyzing financial markets
- Analyst specialized in complex financial products
- Analyst focused on hedging
- Analyst specialized in improving financing structures
- Analyst focused on trading
- Treasury analyst
- Analyst focused on equity research
- Corporate development analyst
- Financial planning analyst
- Analyst in the industrial sector
- Analyst in the financial sector
Educational Requirements for Financial Analysts
Financial analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree in business, economics, statistics or a related field to work in such a position.
Even better would be a master’s or doctor’s degree, especially if you want to climb the corporate ladder soon and have the ambition to work in a leading role in your company.
How to become a Financial Analyst
- Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a financial analyst
- Get good grades in high school
- Apply for suitable college degrees
- Choose a renowned college
- Start your college education and get excellent grades
- Apply for an internship in the financial department of local companies and banks
- Make a good impression during your internship and work hard
- Stay in touch with your colleagues
- Finish your college degree with good grades
- Use your contacts to get a foot in the door and apply for jobs
- Sign your employment contract and climb the corporate ladder
Character Traits you need as a Financial Analyst
- Stress resistance really helps to get things done in time and to avoid burnout
- You should be committed to work
- Willingness to work long hours
- Willingness to work in a competitive environment
- Critical comments about your job should not bother you
- Persistence helps you push through difficult times
- Patience is key to overcome downswings
- You should be willing to work on yourself
- Ability to deal with harsh feedback in a productive manner
Hard Skills for Financial Analysts
- Strong analytical skills
- Excellent math skills are key
- Good financial modeling skills
- Ability to work on complex financial models and to draw conclusions from them
- Good presentation skills
- Programming skills help as well
- Knowledge of big data
- Knowledge of how to use AI
- Good understanding of financial markets
- Understanding of the financing structure of companies and how to improve it
Soft Skills for Financial Analysts
- Patience is key to stay successful as an analyst in the long run
- Ability to deal with drawbacks in an emotionally healthy manner
- Good people skills help you lead a team
- Good communication skills help you report well to the senior management
- Good time management skills help to get things done
- Ability to always improve your skills further
- Empathy for new colleagues who are not able to perform well at the beginning of their career
- You should stay calm under pressure
- You should accept that you don’t have a life apart from work if you work for an investment bank
Exit Options for Financial Analysts
Since financial analysts learn many valuable skills in a rather short period of time, they also have great exit options.
If you don’t want to work as a financial analyst anymore, you can still work as a risk manager, controller or internal auditor.
Financial Analyst – Similar Careers
- Financial controller
- Investment banker
- Risk manager
- Financial advisor
- Budget analyst
Financial Analyst Career FAQs
Is working as a financial analyst physically demanding?
Working as a financial analyst is not physically demanding since you will not have to work with your hands in a heavy physical manner as in most craftsmen jobs.
However, your body may still get stressed since you will have to sit in an office chair for many hours per day and will also have to work long hours.
Consequently, you may suffer from sleep deprivation and may feel physically exhausted even though you don’t do heavy physical work at all.
Is working as a financial analyst mentally demanding?
Working as an analyst can be pretty mentally demanding. You will often work on complex models and help to validate and improve them.
Moreover, you will do complex financial analyses on a regular basis and all those things consume lots of brainpower.
Is it dangerous to work as a financial analyst?
Being a financial analyst is not dangerous since you will work in a classical office environment and will not have to deal with serious accidents at work as many other people who work with heavy machines have to do on a regular basis.
How long do financial analysts stay in their jobs?
Financial analysts often stay in their jobs between 3 and 5 years.
After this period of time, financial analysts have gathered lots of valuable work experience and will be able to work for many different companies that pay decent money but don’t require you to work as much as in the financial industry.
Is it easy for financial analysts to find a new job?
Since financial analysts are often pretty smart and also learn many skills that are valuable in the job market right now, they have a pretty easy time finding a new job in case they get fired.
In fact, there are not many financial analysts out there that have to deal with unemployment and you can be relatively sure to find a decent job due to your high level of qualification.
Is it hard to switch from being a financial analyst to another field of work?
While you will be excellent in analyzing market trends and the balance sheets and financing structures of companies, you may not learn many skills that are valuable outside the financial sector.
Hence, you may have a hard time if you really want to completely switch fields to the non-financial sector to find a new job.
However, as long as you stay in the financial world, you will still have many different job options.
Do financial analysts have a high social status?
Financial analysts have a pretty decent social status.
While they don’t have the same high social status as doctors, they will still have a much higher social status than most other people out there and you will often be admired by your friends when you tell them about your demanding and exciting career.
Can you help out your family and friends as a financial analyst?
You can also do good for your loved ones as a financial analyst since you will be pretty good at spotting current market trends and you can therefore financially consult your family and friends and make sure that they invest their money wisely to avoid any unpleasant mistakes in the long run.
Can financial analysts work remotely?
Financial analysts are also able to work remotely, at least for some days of the week.
Since they do all the work on a computer, it doesn’t matter whether they are present at work in person or if they rather work from home.
Hence, you will be quite flexible as a financial analyst regarding how to structure your day and you may also be able to combine private and professional work.
For instance, between two calls when you have a few minutes off, you could use this time doing your laundry.
Is it easy to find a partner as a financial analyst?
Financial analysts have a pretty easy time in the dating market since they often make really good money and also have a decent social status.
Consequently, analysts often have freedom of choice regarding whom they want to date and you will likely not have any issues finding a partner if you work in this field.
Do financial analysts have to work on weekends?
Financial analysts usually don’t have to work on weekends.
However, it may happen that you have to finish a presentation for Monday on Saturday if you are not able to finish it on Friday and this may indirectly force you to get back to work during the weekend.
Do financial analysts have to work on holidays?
Financial analysts officially also don’t have to work on holidays.
However, if you are really ambitious, there is always something to do and if you really want to climb the ladder soon, you may also want to work during those times to get an edge over your colleagues when it comes to promotions.
Do financial analysts have to work at nighttime?
If you work as an analyst in the financial sector, it will be pretty common that you work long hours every day.
You may have to work during nighttime to get things done and especially for young analysts, it is pretty common that they work until midnight or even longer.
Do you have to travel as a financial analyst?
There is no need to travel as a financial analyst, at least not in the first years of your career.
Things may change if you get into a leading role in your company since business trips might become more common at this stage.
Are financial analyst pensions good?
Pensions of financial analysts are pretty decent since they make good money from what they are doing and also since they are often able to save and invest enough money for retirement.
Consequently, many financial analysts have a pretty comfortable life once they retire from a financial point of view.
Are financial analyst salaries going up?
Salaries of financial analysts have been going up significantly over the past decades.
In the financial sector, it is not uncommon that a financial analyst can make a six-figure income right from the start and if you are willing to work hard, you can make more money in this field than in almost any other job out there.
Can you have a positive effect on society as a financial analyst?
Your positive effect on society will be rather limited as a financial analyst since you will mainly strive to improve the financing structure of the company you work for and will not care about the well-being of society as a whole at all.
How long does it take to become a financial analyst?
Since you will at least need a bachelor’s degree to work as a financial analyst, you have to spend many years on college education and you may even need to get additional certificates to maximize your chances of getting a job in this field.
You will also have to spend lots of money on your education and you should really make sure that you are ambitious enough to get things done and that you also want to work in this field for many years to make it worth the initial investment.
Is it difficult to become a financial analyst?
Becoming an analyst in the financial sector is not easy since you have to get pretty good grades from renowned colleges and you will also need to have a certain mentality and also the ambition to work hard for many years to finally get a foot in the door.
Do you need to be smart to work as a financial analyst?
While you don’t need to be a genius for working as a financial analyst, you should still be smart since you will have to work on complex financial models and if you don’t understand those things, you may make serious mistakes at work that may translate into vast financial losses for the company you work for.
Do financial analysts have a good work-life balance?
While you will have decent work-life balance as a financial analyst in the industrial sector, you will have pretty poor work-life balance as an analyst in the financial sector.
Hence, you should be willing to work long hours and may not have time for anything else apart from work.
Do financial analysts have to work many extra hours?
Analysts often have to work many extra hours.
While they often just have a working contract for 40 hours per week, analysts in the financial industry often work 60+ per week and there are rumors that some of them even pass the 100-hour mark from time to time.
How to maximize your chances of becoming a financial analyst?
The best thing you can do to maximize your chances of becoming a financial analyst is to get excellent grades from a renowned college and you should also apply for an internship at a renowned investment company and stay in touch with your colleagues so that you already get one foot in the door.
Can financial analysts work part-time?
There is no way financial analysts work part-time.
Most of them work at least 40 hours per week while many of them work 60+ per week.
Working as a financial analyst often means living for your job and you may just not have much time for anything else apart from working.
Do financial analysts work indoors or outdoors?
Financial analysts work indoors all day long.
Hence, you don’t have to care about adverse weather conditions outdoors and can rather spend your time in a comfortable office environment where you can enjoy a nice coffee or tea whenever you want.
What does the workplace of a financial analyst look like?
Analysts work in a classical office environment and will often use multiple computer screens to make their time at work as efficiently as possible to get things done in time.
Consequently, if you rather look for a job where you can actually create physical things and work with your hands in a productive manner, you should not become a financial analyst but rather work in a different field instead.
Do you have to look good for working as a financial analyst?
Even though your looks will not be of main priority, good-looking people will still have an edge in the financial sector when it comes to raises and promotions and the better you look, the higher your chances to climb the corporate ladder soon.
Is a financial analyst career beneficial for your private life?
While you can make really good money, you will also have to work a lot as a financial analyst.
Consequently, you will often be stressed quite a lot and may not be able to unplug from your job even when you come home from work.
In turn, your relationships may not work out in the long run and it may therefore be pretty hard to combine a financial analyst career with having a family.
Do you need a college degree for becoming a financial analyst?
You need at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics or a related field for working as a financial analyst.
Even better would be a master’s or doctor’s degree and this means that you have to spend lots of time and money on your education if you want to have a realistic chance of working in this field.
Do you need to be certified to work as a financial analyst?
While you don’t necessarily have to be certified for working as a financial analyst, there are still many prestigious certifications out there you can get in addition to your college degree and if you really want to maximize your chances of a fancy career in this field, you may want to get as many certifications as possible.
How much does it cost to become a financial analyst?
Since you will have to spend many years on education, many financial analysts have to pay back six-figure student loans.
Hence, you should really make sure that you want to work in this field for quite a long time to make it worth the investment.
Is being a financial analyst a good career?
Many people would consider being an analyst a good career from a financial perspective.
However, what most outsiders don’t see is how much work is involved in working in this industry and if you look at it from a work-life balance point of view, working as a financial analyst will no longer be that attractive.
Is it easy to start your own business as a financial analyst?
If you want to have your own business anytime soon, you should not strive for a career as a financial analyst but rather go for something more practical that you can really do yourself without having to make a huge upfront investment.
Can financial analysts teach themselves?
While you can teach yourself quite a lot about financing structures and other things a financial analyst needs to know, you will still need excellent formal qualifications before you are able to work in this industry.
Do financial analysts make good money?
Financial analysts can make really good money.
If you work as an analyst in the financial sector, it is not uncommon to make a six-figure income in your early 20s and if you are really ambitious and willing to work hard, you can climb the ladder soon and may even get to a seven-figure income within 10 years.
Is it ever too late to become a financial analyst?
Since you will have to spend many years on education and also have to work long hours, you will have a much easier time becoming a financial analyst while you are still young and don’t have that much baggage that often comes along once you get older.
Do financial analysts have to quit their careers early?
Since analysts don’t have to work in a heavy physical manner, they also don’t have to quit their careers early most of the time.
Instead, they often still switch to a different field where they can still make decent money but no longer have to deal with the extreme workload they had before.
What is the most challenging thing about working as a financial analyst?
The most challenging thing about being a financial analyst is that you will have to work in a pretty competitive environment and also have to work long hours on a regular basis which means that you will not have much time for your friends or other things you like apart from work.
Can you provide for your family by working as a financial analyst?
Since you can make really good money, you will also have a pretty easy time providing for your family as a financial analyst.
In fact, money will not become a problem for you, at least if you save and invest enough money in a wise manner and don’t get unreasonable.
Will financial analysts suffer from old-age poverty?
Most financial analysts don’t have to worry about old-age poverty since they get a pretty decent pension and are also able to save enough money during their active careers which they can use later once they get to retirement age.
Can financial analysts retire early?
Many financial analysts are also able to retire early since they can save and invest enough money to become financially free in their 50s or even 40s.
However, if you have this goal, you have to work a lot and don’t spend that much money on consumption but rather save it to become financially free as soon as possible.
Do financial analysts get a fixed or variable salary?
Financial analysts get a mix of fixed and variable salary.
While the variable fraction of your salary will be rather small when you start out your career, it will increase with your career level until it will constitute a significant portion of your overall salary.
Can you get rich as a financial analyst?
It is possible to get wealthy or even rich as a financial analyst.
However, if you really want to make great money, you will have to climb the corporate ladder soon and you should start your career at an investment bank where you can make the best possible manner in the short and also in the long run.
Do financial analysts need a second job?
Financial analysts don’t need a second job to pay their bills since they can make really good money from what they are doing and there is just no need to work a second job as many people in different industries need to do.
Do you get continuous training as a financial analyst?
You will also get continuous training as a financial analyst. In fact, the financial landscape changes pretty rapidly and if you want to stay ahead of the game, you really need this training and you also have to teach yourself many new things over time.
Do you get paid when you are sick as a financial analyst?
Many companies out there offer sick pay to financial analysts. However, if you want to be really sure in this regard, you should study your employment contract or ask your colleagues whether you will have those perks or not.
Do financial analysts have a high level of responsibility?
Financial analysts have a high level of responsibility since mistakes on their side could lead to serious adverse outcomes for the company they work for and your mistakes may therefore put many jobs at risk.
Can financial analysts work abroad?
Financial analysts are needed all over the world.
Hence, if you want to work abroad one day, becoming a financial analyst is a great career choice since financial experts have good job prospects independent of where they want to work in the future.
Is it stressful to work as a financial analyst?
Working as a financial analyst can be pretty stressful since you will have strict timelines that you have to meet and you will also have to work long hours on a regular basis without having enough time to relax from work.
Is it boring to work as a financial analyst?
Working as a financial analyst is not boring at all.
You will just have many different things to do every day and if you are interested in the financial industry, chances are that you will never get bored with what you are doing for a living as an analyst.
Is being a financial analyst hard?
While working as an analyst is not hard from a physical standpoint, it can be pretty demanding from a mental point of view since you will have to process quite a lot of information in a rather short period of time and you will also have t deal with lots of stress.
Are financial analysts at risk of burnout?
Due to the high stress level you have to deal with in your job as an analyst, financial analysts are also at great risk of burnout.
In fact, there are many people in this industry who have to quit since they simply cannot deal with the pressure that comes along with it anymore.
Is there a dress code for financial analysts?
Financial analysts often wear suits or conservative dresses.
However, if you work from home, you will often be more flexible regarding what you want to wear.
What kind of financial analysts are paid the most?
If you want to make the most money from a financial analyst career, you should work at an investment bank or in private equity and stay in this field for as long as possible since your salary will increase exponentially over the years.
What percentage of financial analysts are women?
Around 40% of all finance analysts are female while 60% are men.
Hence, while there is a slight imbalance between men and women in this field, you will have equal chances with both genders.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as a financial analyst?
Having a mentor can really help you as a financial analyst while you are still young and don’t know how to deal with drawbacks in an emotionally healthy manner since your mentor can show you efficient ways how to push through difficult times.
Will you be personally liable for mistakes as a financial analyst?
If you make big mistakes, you may even be personally liable for those mistakes as a financial analyst.
Hence, make sure to get proper insurance so that you are covered in case of emergency.
Do financial analysts have a high life expectancy?
Financial analysts don’t have a high life expectancy since they often have a pretty unhealthy lifestyle and also have to deal with lots of stress at work which makes it more likely to suffer from serious health problems.
Do financial analysts suffer from sleeping problems?
Since financial analysts often have to work in the evening or even at nighttime, they will often not get enough sleep and also their natural sleeping rhythm may get destroyed.
What states are best for working as a financial analyst?
You should work as a financial analyst in a state where many big financial corporations are present.
For instance, New York and California are a great choice in this regard.
Who do financial analysts work with?
While financial analysts often don’t have direct contact with customers, they work internally with many different departments and have contact with many different colleagues.
Thus, you should be a team player to succeed as a financial analyst in the long run.
Is working as a financial analyst cool?
Many people out there consider being a financial analyst cool.
However, you should still not care about the opinion of others but rather make your own judgement and decision in this regard.
Can you start a side hustle as a financial analyst?
It is pretty easy to start a side hustle as a financial analyst since you will get a deep understanding of how financial markets and corporations work and can use this knowledge to give investment advice to make money on the side.
Do you have to be creative as a financial analyst?
There is no need to be overly creative as a financial analyst.
What’s much more important is that you have strong analytical skills to understand complex models and to draw the right conclusions.
How employable are financial analysts?
Financial analysts are pretty employable and are in high demand right now since they are able to add tremendous value to companies in improving their financing structures.
Are financial analysts happy with their jobs?
While financial analysts can make good money from what they are doing, many of them are still not happy with their jobs since the pressure and the workload are enormous and many analysts therefore think about quitting their jobs sooner or later.
Is working as a financial analyst exciting?
Working as a financial analyst can be pretty exciting since you will work on many important projects and will also get in touch with quite smart people.
Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a financial analyst?
Your positive impact on the environment will be rather limited as an analyst since you mainly care about the profits of the company you work for and don’t care about the environment that much.
What are the pros and cons of working as a financial analyst?
If you are still interested in becoming a financial analyst, you may also want to have a look at additional pros and cons of a financial analyst career.
Interviews and own research.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
Wanna support my blog? Share it!