Choosing a Career in Financial Services

Financial services encompass a wide range of activities that facilitate the flow of money between businesses, individuals, and government entities. This sector helps people by lending them funds for mortgages, cars, education, and other needs; by providing investment opportunities; by offering insurance against life or property loss, and by managing assets. It also includes all types of banking (deposit-taking, credit card companies, and lending); brokerage; underwriting; and other auxiliary financial services (such as asset management and trust services, debt resolution, and global payment systems like Visa and Mastercard).

The sector thrives when there is enough regulation to keep consumers’ funds and rights safe and to encourage innovation from for-profit firms that can meet their growing financial needs. It can falter, however, when interest rates rise too rapidly or when too much regulation stifles the industry’s ability to offer new products.

When choosing a career in this field, consider what type of role you’d like to play. For example, whether you’d prefer to work with individuals or companies. Do you want to focus on a particular type of financial need, like advising on investments or helping people manage their retirement accounts? Figure out the complexity of your own financial situation, too: Do you need someone to help you invest a small inheritance, or are you balancing multiple goals and would benefit from ongoing advice?