Money managers serve the financial needs of individuals, financial institutions and groups such as pension funds. A money manager's job can be as varied as buying and selling stocks and commodities and managing clients' taxes and bills. It can be a lucrative career, providing a median salary of $109,740 in 2012, according to US News & World Report. But don't expect to start at the top.
Skills for Money Managers
Money managers need excellent finance skills, such as a deep understanding of how capital markets work and the ability to read balance sheets. They must be good communicators and need strong interpersonal skills to explain complex financial matters to diverse clients and make them comfortable when discussing sensitive issues such as debt or estate planning. Money managers need analytical skills to scrutinize financial decisions and make wise choices about other peoples' money. Sales skills are required to attract new clients and to sell additional services to existing clients. And, money managers need to be good with technology and financial tools such as spreadsheets and accounting software.
Education for Money Managers
Get a bachelor's degree. Most employers don't specify a course of study, so you can choose from finance-related degrees such as accounting, economics and mathematics or major in business administration or law. Make sure the school and program you select gives you access to a variety of relevant courses such as investing, risk management, retirement planning and estate planning. Also consider obtaining a master's degree. It may not be required, but it can help you be more competitive when looking for a job or pursuing promotions to management positions.
Beyond the Classroom
Participate in internship or training programs while you're studying. Programs are offered by major financial institutions, such as Goldman Sachs, and smaller specialized firms. These experiences will acquaint you with the daily demands of the job and the performance expectations employers have. You'll learn the types of skills and knowledge people need to excel in the field, and it may lead to employment opportunities. Money managers commonly seek on-going training throughout their careers.
Experience and Certification
Be willing to start out working entry-level positions and realize you may have to work more than 40 hours per week to climb the ladder. It may take a couple years to get a position in which you're given the responsibility of managing a firm or clients' finances. Get certified once you have enough experience. If you plan to be a daily money manager — someone who manages clients' daily financial affairs, such as paying bills and budgeting — seek certification from the American Association of Daily Money Managers. If you're aiming to become a certified public accountant, get certified by the American Institute of CPAs. Each association requires a certain number of work hours and an exam. You may also need to get licenses to perform tasks such as trading stocks or selling insurance. Check the North American Securities Administrators Association for background on regulations and state requirements.
2016 Salary Information for Personal Financial Advisors
Personal financial advisors earned a median annual salary of $90,530 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, personal financial advisors earned a 25th percentile salary of $57,460, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $160,490, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 271,900 people were employed in the U.S. as personal financial advisors.