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Financial Analyst

What is this job like?

Financial analysts help people decide how to invest their money. They work for banks, insurance companies, mutual funds, and securities firms. They often meet with company officials to learn more about the firms in which they want to invest. After the meetings, the analysts write reports and give talks about what they found out. Then, they suggest buying or selling that firm's stock.

Financial analysts may specialize. Those in investment banking study the companies that want to sell stock to the public for the first time. They also might study the pros and cons of a merger (when two companies join together) or a takeover (when one company buys another). Some financial analysts are ratings analysts who find out if companies can pay their debts.

Financial analysts usually work in offices. They may work long hours. They sometimes work on evenings or weekends. Many analysts face deadlines. Their day is filled with telephone calls and meetings.


How do you get ready?

Most financial analysts have a college degree in business, accounting, statistics, or finance. A master's degree in business administration (MBA) is desirable.

Math, computer, and problem-solving skills are vital. Working with clients requires good people skills. Confidence, maturity, and the ability to work on your own are important, too. Analysts also need good communication skills to explain complex financial ideas using simple words.

Financial analysts must be able to look for obscure facts and details about companies.

To get ready for these jobs, it helps to learn how to make presentations and write reports. It also helps to read about business news.

How many jobs are there?

There were 250,600 financial analysts in 2008. Many work at the head offices of big financial firms. Many of these jobs are in New York City.What about the future?

Employment of financial analysts should grow much faster than average for all occupations through 2018. Banks and mutual fund companies will need more financial analysts to recommend which stocks and bonds they should buy or sell. But competition is expected for jobs, because many people want them.


How much does this job pay?

In May 2008, the average yearly wages of financial analysts were $84,780. Many financial analysts also get a bonus. The bonus can add a lot to their earnings.

Are there other jobs like this?

Accountants

Financial managers

Insurance sales agents

Real estate agents

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales representatives

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