Three Finance Jobs That Could Make You a Millionaire

Working on Wall Street has always been the road to riches.

Goldman Sachs employees, on average, were paid $439,700 last year. Those at Morgan Stanley got $256,596. Bank of America paid an average of $122,491, but that included lower level commercial banking jobs as well as high-flying positions at the Merrill Lynch investment banking arm.

Chiefs of these institutions are also expected to be well-rewarded for their work last year. Citigroup's chief executive, Vikram Pandit, got a $1.75 million raise in 2010 after earning a symbolic $1 in 2009.

While firms small and large went under during the financial crisis, with 344,000 people leaving the industry, it's still lucrative.

Not everyone can work at Goldman, or reach the rarified level of CEO. But finance still offers a wealth of interesting, satisfying and -- perhaps most important -- well-paid opportunities. During the worst of the great recession, while Main Street Americans were losing jobs and closing businesses, many folks in finance were still getting bonuses and living well. Tiffany, the ultra-expensive jewelry retailer that caters to the finance industry's elite, recently raised its sales and earnings estimates for the year ending Jan. 31., which can only mean one thing: Wall Street is spending again.

With the economy recovering this year, so is the banking and finance industry. Certain areas will offer more job prospects this year than others. We've put together a list of the top three:

1. Compliance officer

What it is: The passage of the Financial Regulatory Reform bill by Congress last year has created demand for compliance officers, the folks who help interpret detailed new rules that companies must follow when filing taxes, issuing bonds and doing a host of financial acrobatics.

Industry recruiters expect hundreds of companies to be looking for compliance officers over the next 18 months.

What it takes: Most companies require an undergraduate degree in economics, mathematics or statistics for an entry-level job, according to Doug Rickart, a division director at finance recruiting firm Robert Half.

What it pays: According to, compliance managers get paid about $150,000 a year at the high end to $73,000 at the low end.

Who's hiring: Hedge funds, private equity firms, investment banks and local and regional banks.

"Whether it's an investment bank or a broker-dealer, firms will need to deal with this overarching regulatory wave that's coming. Firms really need to shore up their infrastructure," said Jack Kelly, managing director at Compliance Search Group, a New York-based compliance recruitment firm.

2. Credit analyst

What it is: How do you know if something is a safe investment? For many people, what Jim Cramer says on 'Mad Money' passes for sound investment advice. But large institutions like banks, pension funds and governments get their information from credit analysts.

These analysts study and research bonds and other financial instruments to determine whether they are going to gain, lose or maintain their value. If they like what they find, they give a bond a high rating, like AAA. If they don't like what they see, they give it a lower rating, like AA or BB or even lower. That way, investors know how risky an investment is and can make an informed decision.

What it takes: Credit analysts come from all walks of life. When Mark Howard was the co-head of global research and credit analysis at Barclays Capital, a large British investment bank, he hired people with knowledge of specific industries and inquisitive minds. He also liked to hire hockey players and chess buffs, because they could think many moves ahead.

"Great analysts have to be able to think laterally," he said. "My experience is, people who are very strong in silos don't necessarily think effectively outside of those silos."

What it pays: There are about 68,000 credit analysts in the United States right now, earning an average of $67,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Who's hiring: Investment banks like Deutsche Bank and credit ratings agencies like Moody's, among others.

3. Financial advisor

What it is: Financial advisors help investors manage their money. From stocks to bonds to various kinds of funds, financial advisors are a conduit to the market for many retail investors.

While the job does entail a fair amount of watching the market and acuity with numbers, it also involves marketing, customer relations and sales. Financial advisors help families plan for owning a home, college expenses and retirement.

Essentially, financial advisors need to have good social skills. Think of it as a service job that happens to be about money.

What it takes: Financial advisors come from diverse backgrounds. Some study economics and go to work for a big firm like UBS Wealth Management.

Others start later in life, after having a career that puts them in contact with a lot of people who could make good clients. Lawyers, accountants and other professionals can make an easy transition into the profession if they're good with people and numbers.

Financial advisors need to get their Series 7 and Series 66 licenses. Most registered investment advisor companies, like Edward Jones and Charles Schwab, will help new financial advisors through this process.

What it pays: Advisors made $173,000 in 2009, on average, according to Registered Rep magazine. Those new to the field should expect to make less in their first year.

Who's hiring: The large registered investment advisors, such as Edward Jones, Raymond James and Charles Schwab, are always looking for good advisors.

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Matthew Lewis

Responding to Finance online job posting is a WAIST OF TIME. The best way to land a job is to pick the the industry and location you want to work in and start contacting professionals directly. At the end of the day getting a job is a lot like sales. You need a bunch of quality leads to email and call. Resources like have a system that provides industry contacts and a system to contact them. Best of luck on your job search.

March 26 2013 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve Hartman

Or not. You could also become a government employee (bus driver maybe?) and retire at age 50 for $100 grand a year retirement. Ten years - You're a millionaire at taxpayer expense. for Congress! Get elected and after two years you get a full pension for life. Not bad... Oh yah, also at taxpayer expense.

January 28 2011 at 10:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Phil Bittle


January 28 2011 at 9:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mary Rose

More jobs could be easily created within our nation if normal Americans would start taking a good hard look at their daily tasks and figuring out what could make them easier. Then have an idea clearing house company with premium business relationship connections who could determine if the request is a viable solution or has a feasible solution that is worth a financial investment to create manufacturing jobs. The company could only refer the solutions to American companies and those companies would have to produce the solution within the United States for at least 20 years before it could consider outsourcing to overseas.

January 28 2011 at 7:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rich Duryea

Amazing. Rob a bank, get arrested, go to prison and everyone hates you. Work for Goldman Sachs, steal millions form peoples life savings, get a huge bonus and everyone admires you as a great business person.

January 28 2011 at 10:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The BS propaganda on the net by writers is insane. Who's watching over the zoo of trash wannabee writers, liars and lazy a-holes these days?

None of the firms pay anywhere near what this bs states unless you lie, cheat and force your staff to work for peanuts.

January 28 2011 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ol Bob

Being a sleazy politician has been very lucrative. You might get a slap on the wrist sometimes, but it's not as painful as working your ass off at low-paying honest labor.

January 27 2011 at 5:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Some pimps and drug dealers make a lot too, (until they're busted or killed anyway).

January 27 2011 at 3:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why does everybody only focus on jobs that dont make the money like welders, wood workers factory workers auto mechanics farmers these people should be considered valued professions without them you cannot trade your stock or have your banks stop rubbing your white coller jobs in our faces White coller did not build the country just remember that

January 27 2011 at 10:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No job can make you a millionaire. However, there are many jobs, like those listed above, where you can make yourself a millionaire if you work hard to succeed.

January 27 2011 at 8:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Angiebaby's comment

Sadly, a friend of mine explained the "new" way to wealth in this country, some 10 years ago. He told me, at that time, that the real money was made by moving money. You no longer manufacture a product, offer an exceptional service, nor successfully sell widgets. The money is made not by the adding increasing value of your offering, but by manipulating the flow of paper from your desk to someone elses desk, then finding a buyer, (a mark), and selling that manipulated paper to someone a profit. This was EXACTLY what happened with The Real Estate Market. The product...(normally a home), was owned by a CONSUMER who was totally unaware of the shenanigans taking place behind the scenes with his mortgage.

The meltdown of Wall-Street was the result of greed on a massive, criminal, scale. Funny how no one went to jail, isn't it? Sorry, FINS. We know the game. Where were the compliance officers before AIG ran into trouble? Where were the financial analysts at Bear Sterns, or even the aforementioned Barclays? I am certain that there are many dedicated accountants, (lets call 'em as we see 'em) out there. Many of these job types you admiringly mention, were glorified bean counters who overlooked what their boss told them to overlook. If you are in one of these have a JOB, not a career. As with any other job, it can be gone tomorrow. Want money? Work for yourself.

January 27 2011 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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