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I am a finance major, and i would like to know what the starting salary for a financer is.


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John’s Answer

Mauricio an academic background in finance can be applied to a broad range of careers in virtually every industry. Before arriving at a final career direction, consider your unique combination of skills, interests, values, and personality traits.

TOP FIVE CAREERS FOR A FINANCE MAJOR

Finance majors develop analytical skills in order to dissect financial statements and appraise the financial standing of companies, municipalities, and other entities. They can assess the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of business problems and evaluate the financial implications of corporate and individual actions. Graduates with a degree in finance also acquire the ability to deal with spreadsheets and with other software used to process and represent financial data. They learn to present financial information to clients and colleagues with varying levels of financial sophistication.

1.) CREDIT ANALYST – Credit analysts evaluate the financial standing of loan prospects and assess the risks involved with offering them financing. Finance majors learn to appraise the financial viability of entities and interpret their financial records and data. The investigative mindset of a finance major would enable the credit analyst to scrutinize the legitimacy of financial information furnished by clients. They have the communication skills necessary for credit analysts to extract information from prospective clients and convey their analyses to colleagues.
AVERAGE STARTING SALARY: $55,000

2.) FINANCIAL PLANNER – Finance majors learn about a variety of investment vehicles, and this knowledge can help financial planners to advise clients about how to manage their finances. Finance majors can decipher trends in the securities markets and apply this perspective to their planning sessions. Financial planners must crunch numbers and apply principles of accounting in order to devise plans suitable for individual investors. They also need to inspire trust in people and promote their services. Therefore, finance majors with strong interpersonal skills and persuasive abilities will be most likely to succeed in this profession.
AVERAGE STARTING SALARY: $58,000

3.) BUDGET ANALYST – Budget analysts apply principles of finance to projects and proposals in the business, educational, governmental, and not-for-profit sectors. They analyze budgets and evaluate the financial impact of continuing ventures and new ventures. Budget analysts must have refined communication skills because they interview managers in order to gather information for proposals. They also train staff regarding the budget development processes for their organization. Finance majors develop the essential analytical and communication skills needed to become a successful budget analyst.
AVERAGE STARTING SALARY: $60,700

4.) FINANCIAL ANALYST – Financial analysts research stocks, bonds, companies, and industries to assist bankers, investors, and corporate finance officers with mergers, acquisitions, and stock/bond offerings, as well as corporate expansions and restructuring. They can capitalize on their finance major training as they dissect financial statements and other financial data. Financial analysts build financial models and conduct complex quantitative analyses. Financial analysts also produce reports detailing their findings and present their analyses to other members of the banking or finance team.
AVERAGE STARTING SALARY: $65,300

5.) ACTUARY – Actuaries play a leadership role in financially oriented businesses such as insurance, banking, rating agencies, and accounting firms. The finance graduate with strong mathematical skills is ideally positioned to calculate the likelihood of various events and to assess the financial consequences for those outcomes. Just like the finance major, actuaries manipulate software to perform calculations and represent their findings. They present their recommendations to managers at their firm and convince others of the soundness of their decisions.
AVERAGE STARTING SALARY: $76,000

Mauricio, finance majors with a curiosity about the business world and an enthusiasm for business issues are well suited for this role. Individuals who earn advanced degrees in business can also pursue teaching jobs at junior and four-year colleges.

Hope this was Helpful Mauricio

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Marina’s Answer

Lots of good resources (Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, BLS.gov, etc) shared here. Another thing I'll add: many entry-level financial related jobs pay a lower base salary but include commissions and bonuses as part of the entire compensation package. And those commissions and bonuses are often based on how many services you sell or how much money your clients (i.e. customers) invest in whatever financial service you provide. Depending on the employer, there is usually a quota you have to meet and if you don't, that could mean losing your job.

I've interviewed at a few different financial companies (insurance, retirement, banking) and they like to entice you with the possibility of earning $100K "right away" but there is usually a catch, like paying for your own training & licensing. Either that, or there is a sense of a "pyramid scheme" or "used car salesmen" which can make people uncomfortable. Personally, I'm not a fan of that vibe.

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Margaret’s Answer

In overall finance, it varies greatly. It depends on the exact field, position, the company, overtime, etc. Glassdoor is a really great resource for learning more about salaries. Salary.com is also a great resource for this, as well.

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Khrystyna’s Answer

I think the answers above are accurate. In pre-covid days, If you get into a major bank, fund, p.e. shop you are looking at over 100k (but it has to be really big name and its lucrative line (I.e., as stated above not commercial banking or back office ops)). In addition your bonus will be just as high as your base salary during non-covid profitable years (bonuses are too speculative to predict as this year has shown). You will be working 80+ hrs/week at this salary.

If you want to shoot for the stars, get a minor/major combination of accounting and finance or finance and statistics, and try to focus in graduating with at least 1 level of CFA exam passed. It will help to signal you are serious about a career in finance and are familiar with a wide range of issues which you can encounter.

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Richard’s Answer

My son is an investment banker, so I will answer from his experiences.

85K salary is standard across the street for first years, 95K second year, same third year as analysts, with a large step up if you get promoted to associate. Bonuses depend on the tier of the firm and range from low 25K to as much as 100% of salary at top tier firms by second year. But of course that if for competitive investment bankers and traders; if you're in wealth management or corporate work that will be much, much lower.


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Jian’s Answer

It is really hard to give a number to such a wide range of jobs.

generally speaking investment bank/hedge funds offers much higher than corporate finance.

55k to 60K is a good number for entry level corporate finance job for college graduates.


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Philip’s Answer

Hi Mauricio,

I'm not that familiar with the salary ranges for finance majors but I can recommend a website that has all of this information, it's called: glassdoor

If you know of some companies that interest you ,then you can go to the glassdoor website to research salaries for the entry level positions you may be seeking. You could also do a job search for a geographical region and get the same information.

I hope this helps and wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

Philip recommends the following next steps:

Research salaries in your career field using the Glassdoor website: https://www.glassdoor.com/index.htm

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Ryan’s Answer

Hi Mauricio,

As most of the other responders have noted, there's a lot of different directions you can go in with a finance background which will dictate your starting salary. According to glassdoor the average starting salary is about $60K and can range anywhere from $40K to $85K. My advice to you, would be to not pick your career path solely on the highest starting salary. You are going to work for many years, and although a couple extra thousand dollars may seem like a lot now, it's not that much when you look at how much you will earn over your entire career. I would say choose the area of finance that interests you the most and will provide you with the most fulfilling career. Also, I would prioritize positions that have better growth opportunity than ones with higher starting salaries. Although one position may pay more the first year, another position that pays less in the first year may pay significantly more over the first 5-10 years if you are able to progress through the company at a faster rate.

One thing that I try do is set long term goals for myself which allows me to take a more holistic approach when making career decisions and take more into consideration than just the current salary. Even though I have only been working for a year, I already have people reaching out to me offering me jobs that would pay better than my current position. However, I know these positions do not have much growth opportunity and therefore will not allow me achieve my long term goals. As such, I am not interested in taking any of them.

While you are still in college I would recommend taking time to learn what the different areas in finance are and what a career would look like in each one. When I was going through the career decision process I found the best way to learn about different career paths was to talk to people in the industry and ask them what their job is like as well as explain the different jobs they have had in their career and what the different responsibilities were for each one. A great place to start would be your professors. Not only do most professors have experience in the field they teach, but they usually have connections in the field as well which they can put you in contact with. Additionally, I would recommend attending networking events hosted by finance firms or companies looking to hire for finance positions. Even if you're not looking for a job at the moment, it's a great way to meet people in the industry and learn more about it.

Good luck!

Ryan recommends the following next steps:

Research careers in finance
Reach out to your professors and ask them about different careers in finance and to put you in contact with people they know
Attend networking events

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Gaby’s Answer

Another great resource is Wall Street Oasis where people can ask and answer questions regarding professions in business. On there, you can find a lot of information about salary breakdowns for certain companies and roles you might be interested in. All you need is to create an account to have access and its all free.

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Jian’s Answer

It is really hard to give a number to such a wide range of jobs.

generally speaking investment bank/hedge funds offers much higher than corporate finance.

55k to 60K is a good number for entry level corporate finance job for college graduates.


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Anne’s Answer

Hi Mauricio:

There are several great resources out there for you to do this. Not only are they helpful in early-career, but they are great for negotiating raises and salaries in the future.

-Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/): Includes information on median pay, required education, and even projected future employment.

-Robert Half Salary Guide (https://www.roberthalf.com/salary-guide): With Robert Half being a recruiting firm for finance and accounting professionals, the information included herein feels very precise. Scroll down to the salary calculator section to avoid any unsolicited emails. If interested, you can set up an account and hear about available jobs that Robert Half is recruiting for.

Good luck!

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Richard’s Answer

My son works in finance (entry-level, investment banking), and I spoke with him about your question. For a top tier IBD role, you can expect 85K base and between 25 and 80K bonus. There are relatively few HF/PE jobs open compared to IBD for undergrads, but the pay is ballpark the same. Of course, for a smaller/regional office or non-IBD role you can expect substantially less.

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Chance’s Answer

According to Investopedia updated May 9 2019, "The average recipient of a B.S. in finance takes in $60,000 a year, according to the website Payscale. When you consider all bachelor degree recipients, the median (half earn less, half earn more) is slightly higher: $61,000." But I'm sure the rate varies and if you get a higher degree and with more working experience previously you will be paid more.

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Mark’s Answer

Hey Mauricio! Good question - many people wonder what starting salaries are, however it can vary greatly based on your location and job even within the finance field. I would recommend exploring the website Glassdoor to get a good initial understanding! Through your searches you can also get to explore what kind of jobs/careers people have in the finance world. Hopefully this helps spark some specific interests in you during your career search! Good luck with everything!

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Janet’s Answer

Hi Mauricio,

I agree that glassdoor.com has some insight information of the pay. Have you talked to someone from the career center in your university or college? They have the information.

The pay for first job after college might not as good as you expected. However, there are other things to consider for your first job after college, e.g. the company, job nature, career path, etc. Big companies vs. small companies have their pros & cons. E.g. a big company has the brand name, training offered to new hires, more job opportunities within the company. But the daily task could be within very limited area, repetitive. The work in a small company could be expanded to various areas quickly, etc.

Good luck for everything!

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David’s Answer

Hi Mauricio!

There are lots of good and specific answers above, so I would like to comment about other benefits you should consider when you compare the salary of each job.

HEALTH INSURANCE
Every company has different insurance products. Thus, you need to communicate with HR representative to figure out the scope of health insurance.

BENEFIT PLAN
You might hear about 401k plan. Every company has different employer match % of your salary. Thus, you need to compare these percentage between each company when you compare the salary of companies.

EDUCATION SUPPORT
It could be highly different by each company. Some companies support you to pay back student loan. Or, some companies support you to study CPA exams. There are lots of variance in this benefit, so I recommend you to communicate with HR representative to check it.

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