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4 Myths About Working in Financial Services

When people think of finance, they often think of Jordan Belfort, stacking penny stocks, Gordon Gecko, and… well, you get the point. To clear things up, a career in the financial services industry does not include rigging the stock market and raking in dirty money.

There are a lot of myths about working in finance and this article will debunk any fallacies made by the public (and Wolf of Wall Street director Martin Scorsese). Continue reading to discover the truths about working in financial services and give yourself the confirmation you need to get started with your endeavors in an increasingly diverse industry full of opportunities.

1.  You have to work for a bank.

It’s a common belief among young and new professionals that if you want to work in finance, you have to work in a bank. However, that’s not true. While there are loads of different jobs both in and out of banks, there are also some jobs that you might not have thought of where you can put your knowledge and skills to work.

2.  You need a finance degree.

Although it might help, you don’t need a finance degree to work in financial services. Oftentimes, an internship or entry-level position are the perfect ways to kickstart a long and prosperous career in the field. There are courses you can take and other educational tools at your disposal that can make a significant impact. Outside of a formal education, there are finance boot camps like Wall Street Prep and other online resources like blogs where you can find answers to almost any finance question you might have. For those entering the financial planning profession, there are post-undergraduate and master’s degree programs, as well as non-degree study programs, where you can study for the Certified Financial PlannerTM designation. You can search for programs through the CFP Board of Standards.

For those that aren’t fond of numbers, there are plenty of other opportunities, like communications, marketing, social media, technology, and event planning. If you need more convincing to start your career in finance, check out our blog post for five great reasons to work in the industry.

3.  You only make money through commission.

Some jobs like stockbrokers are indeed paid a commission. It’s not the case with all finance jobs, though; the large majority of finance jobs pay a base salary as opposed to bonuses throughout the year on sales made by individual employees.

Career paths like financial advisors or asset managers are paid a base salary–this lowers stress levels and guarantees an amount paid for your work. While commission is not a bad thing, some people prefer to know they’re getting a regular paycheck without having to stress about meeting quotas.

4.  It’s only for older, white men.

While this may have been the case 15 years ago, times are changing. Now is the best time to work in financial services as a young minority. Organizations like Diversitas are taking initiative and making groundbreaking strides to diversify the wealth management industry. As these efforts are more present in the industry, there’s an opportunity to serve underrepresented communities in financial services and to bridge the gap between these communities and wealth management.

These common myths become roadblocks for the next generation of professionals. However, more and more companies are breaking the mold and future professionals are eager to make a change. Striking down these untrue beliefs and stereotypes is a giant leap toward diversifying the industry. For more information on this topic, check out our blog to see more articles about the wealth management industry, including our latest blog on how to be an ally.