Many people are drawn to money. Not just to have more of it (who doesn't?), but to actually participate in the finance industry and make a career out of it.
Did you know that some of the most successful people in finance and investments never pursued finance in college? Did you know many never even went to college? There are people who have built successful careers in investments or the financial industry grew and learned on the job.
Like I said, there are many branches to this tree. Accountants, CPA's, and analysts must go through significant educational requirements before finding finance jobs. While these careers are built on heavy education and commitment, there are other areas of finance that do not require stringent or specialized education before entering the job market.
Stockbroker and Financial Advisor jobs
Stockbrokers, Registered Representatives and financial advisors are basically salesmen in the finance industry. That is not to demean what they do, it's actually true. Once you are a licensed stockbroker and working for a firm, you are a phone broker. Many of the top firms will require 2 or 4 year degrees before hiring you for a job, but a finance or investment related degree is usually not required. Many smaller firms do not require college at all. They are looking for brokers with talent, drive and the ability to communicate and persuade. If you can convince the firm that you can earn money, you can get in. There are successful stockbrokers and advisors who make $200,000 or more and many of them were car salesmen, insurance agents, collections salesmen, real estate agents etc. Training is ongoing and most should decide after 6 months or one year whether this is the finance career or job they want.
The downside to this career, is the compensation you earn. It is largely, if not exclusively - commission or fee based. It's a sink or swim finance career. It is not for everyone, but the requirements are easier, so if you are good at it - you're all set!
Mortgage Broker Career
When Wall Street began losing jobs in late 2000 and for several years after, many brokers and advisors began careers as mortgage processors or mortgage brokers. The mortgage finance industry was booming. With interest rates low and the economy slower, homeowners were looking to take advantage of the equity in their homes or looking to refinance. People who were in these jobs at mortgage companies made a lot of money. People had needs and the environment was ripe for big business.
The problem with mortgage finance jobs is that it is a very cyclical business and it relies on constant new business and referrals for the brokers to earn money. If I had my choice overall, getting a job in the mortgage broker business would be one of my last choices. Good times are real good. Bad times are real bad.
Insurance Jobs and Retirement Finance Careers
With the population of the country living longer and the trend of big companies providing attractive retirement plans on the decline, insurance agents, retirement and estate planners are doing well. Building a finance career and getting jobs in these areas can be very rewarding and the trends are on your side.
There are many areas of finance and investments. You may end up being a bond broker, a trader, a mutual fund broker or something else. The quickest way into a good investment or finance job or career is to get a job as a financial advisor or broker. You have to put in the time and effort, but the openings are there and the experience you gain working with client investments will serve you very well going forward. Either you make a great career doing just that, or you platform that job into another area that better suits you.
The finance industry can be tough, it is competitive and you must stand out, but it's better than digging ditches - usually!
Nick Hunter is the President of American Investment Training (AIT) http://www.aitraining.com and the owner of http://www.brokerjobs.com - a finance career information site with job links and educational resources.