Salaries for Stock Brokers

by Jennifer Eblin

Stock brokers are often perceived has having one of the highest-paying jobs in the United States, but the average salary of these workers is actually smaller than you might expect. What sets the position apart are bonuses and commissions received for bringing in new clients and maintaining existing relationships.

Median Salary

If you plan on working in the United States, you can expect to earn around $50,000 a year working as a stock broker. Based on 2009 data, the median amount earned by all stock brokers was $54,211 a year. However, the range of salaries paid to these workers varies quite a bit, with the bottom percentile of workers earning just more than $47,000 a year and the top percentile earning more than $58,000 a year.

Training and Licensure

Before you can begin working as a stock broker, you need to first attend training sessions with the company, which teaches you exactly how the business operates. You'll also need to take your licensing exam and pass tests given by the company. During this time, brokers typically only earn a stipend, not a regular salary. The stipend is for food, transportation costs and other items, but it is generally nominal and some may not find it enough to live on.

Commission

Some stock brokers work solely on a commission basis. For every sale they make or stock they trade, they're given a percentage of the sale, typically between 5 percent and 15 percent. Companies use this as a way to motivate employees and increase sales. Some are able to earn a good living by working on commissions alone, while others find it difficult to bring in the sales they need to survive.

Bonuses

If you work as a stock broker, you can expect to see certain bonuses based on your performance. These bonuses often relate to the number of new clients you bring to the company. You'll spend part of your day cold calling potential customers or calling those who expressed interest in the past. Most companies pay a set amount based on any new client who signs up with the company, while others base the bonus on a percentage of the sale.

Geography

There are certain parts of the country where stock brokers earn more. Most stock brokers work in larger cities including Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Those making the most money are the ones living in New York City and working on Wall Street. Those brokers make about $88,000 a year on average, but they are expected to work longer hours. On the other hand, stock brokers working in Chicago average about $45,000 every year.

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