Finance is an area that many overlook when considering business majors, often scared off by talk of heavy use of math and statistics. Finance degrees, however, are one of the best options you can take when it comes to advancing a career in business, and here are three reasons why.
1. Finance Skills Are In Demand
One thing that’s rarely taken into account by students deciding on a degree program is how in-demand the jobs that their degree could lead to are. There are many degrees which lead to few careers outside academia, and while general business degrees offer flexibility, they sometimes suffer from the old “jack of all trades, master of none” problem. Finance, however, doesn’t have that problem, as the key skills and knowledge taught in finance degree programs are highly desired by companies large and small. Many financial careers are growing in employment at average rates or faster. According to data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the predicted growth in employment over the next decade for financial analysts is 6%, 7% for personal financial advisers, 7% for financial examiners, and a whopping 19% for financial managers. With the national average around 5%, these finance careers are eager to expand and bring in new blood. After all, the number of retirees among the baby boomer generation is only increasing, and they rely on the advice and knowledge of finance experts to remain well cared for as they live off retirement investments.
2. Finance Careers Pay Great
Of course, there’s also the real meat of the issue to address: most people work to earn money, and view jobs as being better if they earn more. If that’s your concern, then finance is still a great choice. Many finance positions have excellent median annual salaries, which can only go up as you acquire more experience, knowledge, and potentially even certifications. To give a few examples using BLS’s 2019 data on the careers mentioned before, financial analysts earn an average of $81,590 per year, with personal financial advisers earning $87,850, financial examiners earning $81,090, and financial managers making six figures at $129,890. Each of these is at least twice the national average salary, which hovers just under $40,000, allowing for a very comfortable lifestyle. Some of these careers, like personal financial adviser, can even let you work independently, running a business and setting your own hours. And again, these are just median salaries, meaning half of all people in these careers (usually those with experience) are making more than the figures listed. For those who are particularly ambitious, solid salaries like these make it easier to go back to school for a graduate degree, which can further open doors to higher positions.
3. Finance Helps Your Personal Life, Too
Personal financial literacy in America is disappointingly low, with few people truly understanding how the loans, credit cards, and mortgages they sign up for really work, and all of that was a contributing factor to the recession in 2008. While high schools across the states have made some shifts towards more personal finance education, that’s far too late for American adults.
For those who are earning a degree in finance, however, it’s not terribly difficult to take that corporate and business finance knowledge and turn it inward for use in your own personal life. Personal finance might sound rather unrelated to advancing your career, but it’s actually a key element. Imagine that a job opportunity comes around, but it would require moving cities, possibly to somewhere with much higher cost of living than where you are now. If you’re buried in personal debt, you may not be able to seize the opportunities that are right in front of you. Having your own finances in order, including things like retirement and savings, will also look much more appealing, enabling you to have a better chance at receiving a home loan, for example, and a larger one to boot. Keeping your personal life together is critical to advancing your career.
Finance degrees may sound a bit daunting at first, but the benefits of this particular business specialization make it well worth a try. It just might be a far better fit for your career and goals than you’d ever have imagined.