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Beyond the Bank Teller:

Careers in Finance

APEF: Solving the Financial Illiteracy Crisis

Soft skills refer to a set of personal attributes, behaviors, and social attitudes that enable individuals to interact effectively with others in a workplace or social environment. These skills are essential for building healthy relationships, communicating effectively, solving problems, and collaborating with others.

an expense that a you can subtract from adjusted gross income, reducing the amount of taxes owed

tax that is withheld from an employee's paycheck and paid by the employer to the government

an amount of money set aside as a financial safety net for unexpected expenses, usually recommended to be approximately 3-6 months worth of expenses

I’m willing to bet that for years you’ve been asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Your answers have likely changed over the years; I know mine did. I went from being a 7-year-old aiming to be a country music singing veterinarian (cut me a break, I grew up on a farm) to working in the nonprofit world writing articles about financial literacy- quite the jump, right? In all honesty, your mind may continue to change even after you’re a fully-fledged adult, but right now is the perfect time to start honing in on what you like and what you have an aptitude for. If concepts in these articles have sparked your interest, have you considered the varied world of finance? It's more than just counting stacks of cash and balancing spreadsheets – it can be an exciting career field with opportunities to build wealth, solve problems, and shape the future of the global economy. It’s time to shed the image of stuffy suits and boring data entry and explore some amazing jobs you could land with the skills you’re learning right now!

  • Quantitative Analyst: These masterminds utilize math and computer models to assess risk, forecast market trends, and make investment decisions - serving as financial detectives who use complex data sets to make smart money moves.

  • Actuary: Enjoy solving puzzles? Actuaries use risk analysis and data-gathering techniques to develop insurance premiums and products, acting like financial fortune tellers by anticipating risk and uncertainty.

  • Financial Advisor: Do you want to help others realize their financial dreams? Financial advisors provide tailored financial planning and investment advice, tailored specifically to an individual's needs and aspirations.  It's kind of like being a money coach, empowering people to make smart financial choices and build a secure future.

  • Investment Banker:  Investment bankers play an essential role in raising capital for businesses and providing advice regarding mergers and acquisitions. Think of them as financial matchmakers bringing businesses together while making deals that boost the economy.

  • Fintech Developer: Are you a computer wiz with a mind buzzing with brilliant ideas? Time to consider fintech development! These technology experts create game-changing financial apps, platforms, and solutions - revolutionizing how we manage money and make payments.

  • Cybersecurity Specialist: In the digital age, protecting financial data is crucial. Cybersecurity specialists build defenses against hackers and safeguard sensitive financial information, making sure digital transactions are safe and secure.

I’m sure you’ve heard of people who work in jobs creating and growing wealth stereotyped as being greedy or overly ambitious. Don’t believe everything you hear- if you have a heart for giving back and supporting worthy causes, there are plenty of opportunities to work in the financial sector while supporting communities and initiatives that mean a lot to you.

  • Venture Capital: Invest in the next big startup and support innovative ideas with your financial expertise.

  • Microfinance: Empower communities and promote financial inclusion by providing small loans and financial services to underserved populations.

  • Sustainable Finance: Invest in environmentally friendly projects and companies, making a positive impact on the planet while still making a profit.

If a career in finance is something you might want to pursue, here are a couple of things to remember:

  • A strong foundation in financial literacy will put you ahead in the race. You’re here reading this article, so you’ve already got a head start! Take a closer look at the roles that interest you and find out which relevant degrees or certifications are required. This can help you plan for your next educational steps!

  • Hone your communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills to shine in any financial role…or any role for that matter. 

  • Connect with professionals in the field, learn from their experiences, and build your career path. It’s never too early to start networking! Internships can often lead to full-time employment, so keep an eye out for opportunities to learn on the job!

So, ditch the outdated stereotypes and find the career that’s right for you! No matter what path you choose, you’ll find opportunities to build a rewarding career, make a difference, and leave your mark on the world – one smart money move at a time.

Bonus Tip: Explore online resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and professional organizations in the financial sector to learn more about specific careers, salary ranges, and required skills.

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