Is an Investment Management Career Right for You?

Choosing the “right” career field can be challenging, as it can seem like you’re picking the thing that you’ll be doing for the rest of your life. While it is common for people to switch careers (or at least companies) several times in their life, nobody wants a job that won’t be a good fit for them.

If you enjoy personal finance, business, and economics, you may have considered a job in investment management. Here’s how to tell if a career in investment management is right for you.

What do investment managers do?

As an investment manager, your primary responsibility is managing the investments and assets of a portfolio of clients. This may include individual investors as well as companies or company pensions. As the investment manager, your role requires you to do more than just grow your clients’ assets; you’ll also need to avoid losing any of their portfolio’s current value.

Using analysis of the market as well as current investments, you’ll be able to steer them towards sound financial decisions. This might involve helping your client make decisions and speaking with them on the phone or in person to learn more about their financial goals.

The job is sometimes referred to as a “portfolio manager”, “wealth manager”, or more simply “financial adviser”, but you’ll typically be working with financial analytics regardless of the name.

What do investment managers make?

A career in investment management can be very lucrative, should you decide to pursue one. On average, investment managers can make close to $100,000 a year, with the average hourly rate hovering around $66. According to PayScale’s report on investment managers, some investment managers can make up to $175,000 a year, with the potential of earning even more thanks to benefits like commissions, bonuses, and profit sharing.

Clearly, if money is an important factor in choosing a job, a career in investment management would be a great choice. While you will be making less starting out as an investment manager, your market worth will grow over time, allowing you to increase your earnings from a starting salary of around $60,000 up to six figures.

What skills does an investment manager need?

If this sounds like an interesting career for you, you’ll likely want to know how to qualify for the role. When it comes to landing a job in investment management, you’ll generally need a bachelor’s degree in an adjacent field such as business or finance. Top-earners will often have a master’s degree in a similar field, although you can get your start as an investment manager with just a bachelor’s.

You’ll also want to have a solid understanding of investments, the market, different financial instruments, and how to mitigate risks in order to thrive in the field. People skills can also be helpful, as you’ll be interfacing with a variety of clients with different temperaments. 

The field of investment management can be an exciting and fruitful way to use your degree in business to make real money and have a positive effect on others. Don’t choose a career in investment management only for money, though. Remember that you will be looked to for your expertise and will be counted on to help grow and safeguard the financial future of your clients, and that isn’t a role to be taken lightly.
If you have the right financial knowledge, communication skills, and business acumen, however, you will likely thrive in the field.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.