The scoop on the highest paying finance jobs

Posted February 05, 2021

If you’ve ever considered a job in finance, you’ve likely pondered the very important question: what do finance jobs pay? You’d think a job managing other people’s money and increasing their net worth would perhaps pay you more, since after all you’re increasing the size of the pie for them, so wouldn’t you get a little bigger slice too? Your suspicion would be correct!

Positions that are charged to manage and increase people’s net worth have a greater responsibility and thus do make more money. This is because people want to pay more to ensure the safety of their assets and to increase their net worth. 

But while salary or pay is certainly not the sole key to happiness in a job, it is an important consideration. A 2010 study from Princeton University found that “happiness rises as income rises up until you hit $75,000 a year--at which point happiness doesn’t improve as you earn more.” A 2018 study from Purdue University found $75,000 still provides a sense of stability and emotional well-being, but that individuals who earned $95,000 had the greatest life satisfaction. The numbers may differ for families of various sizes.

So in the big picture, since money isn’t everything, does it actually matter what finance jobs pay? Yes and no. While a CNN Survey revealed that 51% of respondents would be happy to live on less than $100k per year, and surveys show that once you’ve earned the amount that promotes the greatest life satisfaction happiness levels begin to decline as income increases. So finding the happy medium and financial sweet spot is important as you set out on your job search. 

Is a finance job right for you?

Maybe you’re good with numbers. Maybe you love to analyze charts and graphs. Maybe you like the idea of helping people take control of their financial futures by managing their money. Or maybe you religiously follow the stock-market and the news and understand the correlation between wall street and politics. Whatever your reasons for looking at finance jobs, you’ve come to the right place to learn more, and discover what finance jobs pay.

As you pursue your desire to obtain a finance job, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn more about what finance jobs pay, some of the  highest paying entry-level and other finance jobs that can help you achieve or move toward that sweet spot.

We’re about to give you an overview of the field of finances, and delve into some of the highest-paying Finance jobs that will be within your reach whether you have your bachelors degree and are looking for an entry-level finance job or are further ahead in your finance career.

Accounting vs Finance

Gwynedd Mercy University indicates the major difference between accounting and financing, which, contrary to popular belief, are not interchangeable. 

Accounting and finance differ in the specific aspect of the financial scope of their work. The accounting field deals with the more granular financial transactions that occur on a daily basis, while finance focuses on broader investment management over time. Someone in the accounting field typically works with audits, taxes, and budgets on a constant basis and continues to provide exact numbers to report on the evolving success of their business. A person in the finance field focuses on stocks and bonds and determines good investment strategies to ensure that their finances grow with the ever-changing market.”

What do finance jobs pay?

Robert Kiyosaki said, “It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.” That said, finance jobs provide a lucrative salary that can help you make a comfortable and great living.

For new grads looking for an entry-level job in the finance field, there’s some really great news and an exciting response to your question of what do finance jobs pay. Even entry-level finance jobs (and paid internships) typically offer a solid compensation package. Finance is big business, and there are many avenues you can take in your job goals.

You can typically get an exciting, entry-level job in the finance field with a bachelor’s degree. Masters or doctorate degrees can put you in the running for management positions. The median salary for finance jobs is $87,850 annually. 

Preparing your resume for an job in Finances

As you look for a finance job, it’s important to make sure your resume is up to par and set to catch the attention of recruiters in the finance field. Make sure to list out relevant experience, courses or certifications, as these may be the very things that capture the attention of a recruiter. Hard skills and soft skills play a very important role in finance jobs, as such jobs require not only analytical and problem solving skills, but often require accounting knowledge and experience, or experience with various IT softwares.  It’s important to review the qualifications of any finance job before you apply, and tailor your resume accordingly. If you have them, some of the top skills that are important to include on your resume/application for a finance job are the following: 

  • Financial experience, qualifications or certifications
  • Good communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Knowledge and experience in financial reporting
  • Ability to think analytically and solve problems
  • Experience and or knowledge of IT software/finance software
  • Bonus: if you have experience managing a team, you should definitely include this

Finance job categories

When it comes to finding a high-paying finance job you love, there are several categories which these jobs fall under. If you know what you’re looking for, it will ensure that you end up working in a job you truly enjoy and one that makes you feel valued and appreciated.

So as you look for a job in finances, you might consider the following categories: Fintech, Corporate finance, Lending, Investment, Accounting. 

But let’s take a look now at what are some of the top-paying finance jobs, and what are their responsibilities.

4 High-paying entry level finance jobs

Financial analysts earned a median salary of $81,590 in 2019. Average growth rate for financial analyst jobs is 5% faster than average. 

The job is a tough cookie though -- competition is fierce: throughout the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, every new graduate of finance, and even banking, expected that they would be a financial analyst. Job responsibilities include compiling data into spreadsheets. Meticulous, data-hungry people that can detect trends from large amounts of data and make sense of it all and how your clients can strategically maneuver their positions, these are the candidates that were born with financial analyst blood. 

These spreadsheets are then given to a seasoned boss and/or expert who will do the analysis by pulling in macroeconomic background knowledge to try and understand what is happening in a particular sector of the economy. The foundational work done by an analyst sets the stage for advising clients how their asset portfolio, stock position, real estate holdings, or company’s projection will weather in that macroeconomic climate.

Investment banking analysts earn a median salary of $67,817. While a bachelor’s degree may get you the job, a masters degree will definitely help as you vye for this prestigious job. 

Unlike a Financial Analyst who is mostly responsible for finding trends and what might be good deals, an Investment Banker is responsible for actually putting the deal together. So, you have to be charismatic with people, but also instill confidence in your partners in your financial, economic and investment prowess.

Investment banking analysts have a thirst for adventure, are savvy with numbers and keen on creating the right networks to put together the best deals, they were the ones that thrived. Now an additional skill set and personality type are needed as wel to thrive as an Investment Banker Analyst. A person who can navigate the regulatory market and anticipate new regulations and moves by the Federal Reserve, Congress and the Whitehouse and understand their implications in the various sectors of the market. 

Investment banking analysts are constantly on the lookout for great deals to put together. But you have to be savvy enough to know the criteria that make for profitable deals, not just not in this economy and environment, but in the 10 years to come. You have to be able to foresee and hedge your profit/loss calculations to be able to withstand the major downturns in your sectors of the economy.

Personal Financial Advisors earn a median salary of $88,850. Job growth is expected to be as fast as average at 4% according to the BLS. This job requires great interpersonal skills, as advisors’ main responsibilities are focused on dealing with people, handling their emotions and helping them plan their financial future, helping them save and know when to buy a house, helping them build an investment portfolio that balances cash flow needs, as well as determining long-term equity gains. 

You have to possess wisdom about living, because the key to helping your client win in the game of growing their assets and managing the use of their money, is to help them manage their desires. Many people tend to make emotional decisions when it comes to their money. When they want to buy a house, they may become blind to reality. Financial advisors help guide them through the whole process and help them realize all the expenses that owning a home requires. They can help them understand when renting can still be more profitable and when buying a home can be. 

Financial Auditors earn around $71,550, and job outlook is at 4%--as fast as average. This position overlaps finance and accounting, so while a corporate finance or economic degree will get you in the door, an accounting certificate or experience can help seal the deal and set you apart.

The common and base requirements to be a Financial Auditor are to have a strong inclination to follow rules. But people that become the best Financial Auditors are the ones who understand the whole system of business, finance and government, and what practices are truly dangerous and foolish and the reason for which regulations were designed. If you can foresee whether certain business practices, structures and relationships will lead to breaking regulations and be harmful to the company and market, then you will be an excellent Financial Analyst. If you can do this, you will help your company and clients be profitable in the long-run, and you will help them avoid their own disaster. 

Where Financial Analysts need to know the market, and Investment Bankers need to know the market, Financial Auditors need to be experts in government regulation. 

4 high-paying finance jobs

Financial Managers earn on the high end of all jobs mentioned (Median Yearly Salary-$127,990). Their earnings are high because they are responsible for the financial welfare of the entire company. Job responsibilities include understanding the financial functions of a company, and communicating with each department. You need to understand business functions first as well as finance.

Economists earn (Median Yearly Salary-$104,340). They have to understand the science and art economics. You have to interpret data from the Statistician, understand the effects of the Federal Reserve and Government actions, as well as the market. You detect underlying forces that move and shape the economy, whatever may be happening in current events. But your most important job is to help businesses thrive.

Financial Risk Manager earn (Median Yearly Salary-$99,949). They assess the risk of each endeavor and venture that a company does or takes. Financial Risk Managers work in financial services, banking, loan origination, trading, or marketing. They analyze the risks of internal operations, but primarily analyze the risk of the financial markets and global governance environment. This is why they earn such a high base salary, because their jog is to save the company from taking massively costly bad risks. 

A Statistician earns a high salary (Median Yearly Salary- $84,060). It is not dependent on putting deals together. They earn money because of the brilliance and meticulousness of their work. They often give their macro and micro economic data to their financial analysts in order for them to analyze. 

A Statistician has to have an amazing knowledge of mathematics, economic calculations, and most importantly statistics. Good Statisticians are good at stats. The best are good and seeing how stats makes sense of the economy and business. If you have a background in economic and business systems, then you are primed to be part best Statisticians.

What is the future and outlook for finance jobs?

Finance jobs have an excellent outlook. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics “estimates that employment in business and financial operations occupations is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029—faster than the overall average for occupations…

And what do typical finance jobs pay? “The National Association of Colleges and Employers' (NACE) Winter 2020 Salary Survey projects [entry-level] paychecks in the finance, insurance, and real estate fields for the class of 2020 to range from $56,750 to $62,500 annually.” The median annual wage for business and financial occupations was $69,820 in May 2019, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $39,810.”

There’s no time like the present to make your mark in the exciting world of finance jobs. Finance is a growing field that is becoming more popular as new systems and technologies enter the picture. Fintech jobs (including cryptocurrency and blockchain jobs) are particularly on the cutting-edge, providing the promise of stability in a field that is ever-growing.

Our Careerbliss team loves to see exciting stats like this. The world of finance is opening more opportunities than ever for more people to join the burgeoning field.  More people than ever are doing truly exciting things in the world of finance, and we think that is absolutely amazing. With the job growth taking place in finance over the next decade, there’s never been a better time to move in that direction, whether or not you’re just starting your career, or looking to transition to a career on the cutting-edge.

Ready to hit the ground running as you start applying and interviewing for great finance jobs? What are you waiting for? Check out thousands of jobs and salaries at

The CareerBliss Team

CareerBliss cares about your career happiness. That's why we offer a variety of great tools and resources to help you make better-informed career decisions. We believe that if you're happier at work, you'll be happier in life! Check out company reviews, salary information, career advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!

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