13 Best Paying Jobs in Finance (2023 Update)

Summary:

Some of the best-paying finance jobs include chief financial officer, financial manager, financial software developer, and actuary. Most jobs in the financial services industry require a bachelor’s degree, while others require higher education.

The financial industry offers a variety of competitive and high-paying career opportunities in areas such as personal finance, investment banking, accounting, insurance, and even software development. The best-paid professionals in finance usually work at major institutions, private equity firms, asset management firms, corporate and public organizations, and nonprofits, to name a few.

The average salary for many financial jobs is on par with several professions that are among the top 20 highest-paying jobs in America. In addition to the high salaries, finance jobs also often offer desirable benefits and bonuses. However, recent fluctuations in the economy have caused a dip in some areas. That said, these jobs generally continue to be in high demand, and even newly graduated finance majors can find positions that pay well.

If you’re thinking about starting a career in finance or are looking to move up the ladder, here are some of the best-paying jobs in finance.

How well do finance jobs pay?

The median annual salary for financial professionals is around $76,570. This is quite a bit higher than the median annual salary for all occupations, which is about $45,760. Of course, the average salary will vary by job title, experience level, and geographic location, but the industry generally pays well for both entry-level and top-level positions.

Here are a few of the best-paying jobs in finance, based on median annual wages listed on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website. For some of these finance jobs, the average salary can be even higher than the numbers shown here.

Job title2021 average salary
Chief financial officer$179,000
Financial manager$131,000
Financial software developer$109,000
Economist$105,000
Actuary$105,000
Investment banker$100,000
Financial analyst$95,600
Project management specialist$94,500
Personal financial advisor$94,000
Management analyst$93,000
Financial examiner$81,500
Budget analyst$79,900
Accountant and auditor$77,000

Related reading: Are you interested in pursuing a finance degree but wonder if it’s the right career path for you? Read SuperMoney’s article Is Finance a Good Career Path in 2022? to see what working in the finance sector is really like.

Chief financial officers (CFO)

Average salary: $179,000

A chief financial officer (CFO) is responsible for overseeing and managing the finances of a company. The salary for this high-responsibility position is of course commensurate with years of experience. The average salary of a chief financial officer is upwards of $300,000 per year.

Financial managers

Average salary: $131,000

Financial managers are responsible for developing long-term financial plans for companies and organizations, which includes creating financial reports and directing investment activities. Because financial managers are high-ranking professionals who have extensive experience, their average salary is among the highest in the finance industry.

Financial managers most often work in banks or credit unions, investment firms, and insurance companies. Since financial managers primarily assist businesses with their finances, most positions don’t assist individuals. If you’re looking for a more personal approach to developing your own long-term financial plans, you may want to speak with an investment advisor instead.

Financial software developers

Average salary: $109,000
With so much technology used by the financial industry now, financial software developers are in high demand. They design, develop, maintain, and test software and programs that meet the needs of financial companies and their clients.

This is one of the top-paying finance jobs, with an average salary comparable to that of financial managers and investment bankers.

Economists

Average salary: $105,000

Economists collect and analyze data related to resources, goods, and services. They help public and private groups make informed decisions about their operations by evaluating multiple economic issues and trends. This includes job availability and labor shortages, the impact of major events (like the pandemic), and natural resource scarcity.

As well as collecting and analyzing specific data, economists also share their findings with government agencies, corporations, and academic research organizations. Because of this, economists typically need a master’s degree, though some entry-level jobs are available for workers with a bachelor’s degree.

Actuaries

Average salary: $105,000

Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to analyze risk, and they often work with insurance and accounting organizations. They must have strong mathematical skills to calculate the likelihood of certain events and outcomes and help organizations assess the potential economic impact of those events and outcomes.

Due to the specialized skills required, actuaries need a bachelor’s degree in mathematics for most positions. In the beginning of their careers, actuaries will also continue to take exams on mathematical topics and increase their skillset and expertise.

Pro Tip

Those who pursue a career in finance are good with numbers and have strong problem-solving, analytic, management, and communication skills. They usually pursue a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, business, applied mathematics, accounting, or computer sciences. Fortunately, no matter where you are in life, you can always reinvest in your educational goals and work towards one of these degrees.

Investment bankers

Average salary: $100,000

Investment banking is also among the top-paying finance jobs. Due to it being a high-stakes job, the average salary can also be quite high.

Investment bankers have the weighty responsibility of managing the investment portfolios of businesses and government agencies. They use financial modeling to help their clients maintain financial growth and avoid major losses.

IMPORTANT! Make sure to not confuse an investment banker with a hedge fund manager. Though both hedge fund managers and investment bankers are types of portfolio management jobs, the two positions have some key differences. For instance, while hedge fund managers also help manage investment portfolios, these portfolios contain much riskier hedge funds.

Financial analysts

Average salary: $95,600

Financial analysts advise public and private institutions (including financial institutions and insurance companies) as well as individuals on developing investment strategies. You may also have a financial analyst make spending decisions based on current economic trends, financial modeling, and financial data.

Some financial analysts who work with investment banks make an average salary of six figures, making it one of the highest-paying finance jobs.

Project management specialists

Average salary: $94,500

While this job may sound more closely related to business, project management specialists often need a background in finance. This is because much of their jobs involve analyzing and managing financial reports as well as coordinating project budgets and cash flow.

In addition to coordinating the schedule, staffing, and other details of a project (depending on the project’s size), project management specialists conduct weekly or monthly cost estimations or may need to review the budget daily. Due to the varied and complex skills involved in business and finance occupations, they are among the best-paying finance jobs.

Personal financial advisors

Average salary: $94,000

Just as financial analysts offer advice to businesses, personal financial advisors offer financial planning advice to individual clients and help them set short and long-term financial goals. They analyze financial data and market trends, as well as conduct risk assessments, to help people make important decisions about their money. This may include helping clients with retirement planning or teaching others how to manage their investments, savings, insurance, and taxes.

In addition to a finance degree, some financial advisors also pursue the title of certified financial planner (CFP). Most personal financial advisors work in the finance and insurance industry or are self-employed.

That said, you don’t need to hire a financial advisor to start learning how to manage your money. With modern technology, there are plenty of smartphone applications that let you start tracking your spending habits right away. Take a look at some of the money management tools below to get started.

Management analysts

Average salary: $93,000

Management analysts evaluate the procedures of a company and develop ways to increase efficiency. This finance job requires good data-collection and communication skills in order to make recommendations that will improve the ways things are done, resulting in cost savings and increased productivity.

Financial examiners

Average salary: $81,500

Financial examiners help companies comply with the laws and regulations that govern monetary transactions and ensure that money is not mismanaged. Most of these financial professionals work in the finance industry or for government agencies.

Budget analysts

Average salary: $79,900

Similar to accountants, budget analysts help companies and individuals organize their finances, plan for future spending, and create budgets that follow financial laws and regulations.

By analyzing budgets, these finance professionals look for ways to improve their client’s financial situation. Budget analysts usually have bachelor’s degrees in fields such as accounting, mathematics, or business.

Pro Tip

Even though most financial careers will require at least a bachelor’s degree, the return on that investment is usually high, given the competitive salaries and benefits packages offered.

Accountants and auditors

Average salary: $77,000

Accountants and auditors are responsible for analyzing financial data to ensure that their client’s tax information is done properly and accurately. For this reason, accountants are often especially busy during tax season. Internal auditors also review processes and procedures to ensure that they are compliant with established standards and laws.

Accountants can work for financial institutions, private companies, nonprofits, or accounting firms, and their average salary is similar to that of budget analysts. However, there are now multiple online tools available for you to use during tax season. That said, some of these products may be better suited to you than others, so be sure to compare every available tool before deciding on one.

More opportunities in the financial industry

This article has only really scratched the surface of the highest-paying finance jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides information on many more business and financial occupations in their Occupational Outlook Handbook.

How many jobs are available in finance?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the financial sector is expected to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031. That is equivalent to about 715,000 new jobs over the decade. In addition, 980,200 finance jobs become available each year due to employees who leave the industry.

This means if you’re interested in entering the financial sector, you may not have much difficulty finding an entry-level job to get started.

Key Takeaways

  • The best-paying jobs in finance include chief financial officer, financial manager, and economist.
  • The finance industry continues to offer a variety of competitive and high-paying career opportunities in various areas. Careers in finance are in high demand and offer good job security.
  • The average salary for careers in finance will vary by job title, experience level, and geographic location, but the industry generally pays well at all levels. Top-level positions can easily earn six-figure salaries.
  • Most finance jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Some of them may also require continuing education to achieve additional licensing and certification in specific areas, and a few require a master’s degree.
  • Employment in financial occupations is expected to grow by 7% in the next 10 years.
View Article Sources
  1. Financial Examiners — Bureau of Labor Statistics
  2. Accountants and Auditors — Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Business and Financial Occupations — Bureau of Labor Statistics
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