More and more people are interested in a finance major these days. Finance is defined, to put it simply, as the management of money and other assets. This is a skill set that is absolutely critical in today's world, regardless if you decide to be a finance major, pursue a different major, or skip college altogether. No matter what you decide to do in life, at some point, you are going to make money and you will have to know how to manage it. This will come into play in both the short term (putting together a household budget, or budgeting for a big-ticket item such as a home, a car, or a vacation) and the long term (financing your child's college education, saving for retirement). Wise financial decisions will put you on a path to prosperity and allow you grander pursuits in life and more opportunities. Poor financial decisions can be unfortunate at best; at worst, they can be disastrous for you and your loved ones.
Because it is such a valued skill set, a degree as a finance major is in high demand in areas such as financial planning, accounting, economics, and statistics. Financial planning can be quite daunting for people who do not have a financial background and may not have the necessary acumen to plan years or decades into the future. Sound investment decisions and planning for retirement have never been more crucial than they are today. The stock market, to put it mildly, is highly unpredictable, and it is where a lot of people have a good portion of their retirement savings, through mutual funds and 401(k) accounts. Many people need help navigating the stock market and other options to reach their retirement goals and the knowledge a finance major acquires is highly beneficial in this regard. Also, with Social Security funding in the precarious state that it is, many people currently in the work force may not be able to rely on monthly Social Security checks in retirement, which makes sound financial planning for retirement more important than ever before.
Another thing virtually all people over 18 have to do is file an income tax return. As the saying goes, “nothing is certain but death and taxes.” This is another area where a finance major can learn highly marketable skills. Many, many people are intimidated by the IRS tax code and the process of filing an income tax return. Accounting courses are very commonly required for a finance major and a degree in finance can easily transfer to the accounting profession. A finance major with an accounting background could help people from all walks of life.
In short, virtually all of us are touched by finance and its principles. A solid knowledge base in this area will serve you well, no matter what path you choose to follow in life. Finance majors will have a sound preparation for the challenges the “real world” will offer upon completion of their finance degrees.
A Variety of Finance Careers
Not surprisingly, many career paths finance majors pursue involve the allocation and management of money. However, this is by no means the only career path a finance major can pursue upon graduation. Some of the options available for your consideration include:
- Corporate and public finance. Many finance majors are employed by businesses of all sizes and types, including state, local, and federal agencies, schools and universities, nonprofit organizations, and hospitals, in the areas of financial and budget analysis, cash and credit management, investor relations, financial reporting, and risk management.
- Banking. A finance degree is a natural fit for the banking industry. Finance majors routinely go on to become employed by all types of banking institutions in the areas of credit analysis, lending, branch and cash management, and operations.
- Insurance. If you are a finance major with solid people skills and a desire to sell, insurance sales may be a good fit for you. It is not uncommon for finance majors to pursue careers in claims, underwriting, or risk management.
- Personal financial planning. Many finance majors find that a career as a financial advisor solidly fits their skills and background. The prospect of having enough money saved for retirement is daunting to many people and a finance major can easily help someone who is uncertain about how to save for retirement or a child's college education navigates these waters.
- Real estate. If you would like to use your financial savvy to sell, but do not find insurance to be your cup of tea, you may want to consider a career as a real estate agent or appraiser.
- Investment banking and money management. Two solid fits for finance majors with an interest in the stock market and what makes it tick.
- Accounting. Accounting is not just for accounting majors. If you have a strong interest in your accounting electives, take heart. Many a person with a finance major goes on to become quite a successful accountant.
Last Updated: 06/08/2014