What Are the Top-Paying Jobs in Finance?

by Charlie Higgins

The world of finance offers many jobs. Certain finance jobs tend to be more lucrative than others, and these jobs generally require advanced training and degrees. Top-paying financial jobs also typically come with heavy responsibilities and a demanding work schedule, though many people in these positions feel the monetary benefits outweigh the costs.

Finance Director

Finance directors or chief financial officers (CFOs) have big responsibilities in companies because they manage financial risk. According to CNNMoney.com, financial directors made a median annual salary of $121,000 as of 2010, with the top-ranking financial directors were making $214,000 a year. Companies hire financial directors with plenty of management experience and a certain educational background, which is usually an MBA and a CPA at large companies. Their job entails making accurate financial forecasts and managing a company’s budget.

Sales Director

Sales directors are crucial members of a company who are largely responsible for bringing in cash. For this reason, those who perform the job well rarely get laid off despite company cutbacks. Sales directors recruit, train and motivate members of the sales department, and their salary varies according to their skills and experience. The median salary for a sales director as of 2010 was $140,000 a year, with the high earners raking in $239,000, according to CNN Money.


Actuaries are math-savvy business professionals who analyze and report on the impact of risk and certainty. They play an important role in companies because they closely monitor potential problems and calculate possible damages. They are experts on financial security systems and typically train for nearly a decade beyond their undergraduate degree. Actuaries are also responsible for pricing products and making sure cash is secured to keep the business afloat. According to CNNMoney.com, actuaries in 2010 made an average $129,000 a year, with the highest earners raking in $257,000.

Financial Adviser

Financial advisers are consultants who work with businesses and individuals by helping them manage their accounts, make smart investments, pay their taxes, budget their money and manage their estates. They may work for big financial advising firms, small practices or independently. Financial advisers who work mostly with high-end clients usually make the most money, as their high-profile job entails considerable risk and responsibility. According to US News, the median wages for a financial adviser were $68,200 in 2009, but the highest-earning advisers pulled in as much as $166,400.

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