How to Become a Successful Financial Writer in 2021?
Every human on Earth has one common connect – money.
Possessing money isn't enough.
It is necessary to make smart decisions and grow money.
A lot of questions on financial investment products arise and lack of adequate knowledge sharing confuses people.
This knowledge-gap is an opportunity for you to become a successful financial writer.
The responsibility of a financial writer is to bridge the knowledge gap by creating informative and engaging content for the masses.
The financial writer associated with the financial institutions, functioning at various levels, and create knowledge enhancing content.
From a beginner to a professional, this guide will help you to become a successful financial writer.
Steps to Become a Successful Financial Writer
The steps to be a successful financial writer are highlighted below:
#1. Educate Yourself
Evidently, you can’t write on finance without adequate knowledge.
On the other hand, you don’t need to be a finance whiz!
Working knowledge of finance and a burning desire to learn is essential.
Learn basic financial concepts and start following the industry.
Some financial concepts remain the same while others are dynamic.
Choose the finance industry.
Speciality could lie in global finance, financial markets, consumer financial planning, investments, share market, equities and so on.
Gaining expertise in all financial segments will take years of learning; therefore, begin with one segment and pursue the field,
To gain knowledge, read popular financial blogs and websites such as Business Insider, Real Time Economics, Deal Book, Street Sweep, Free Exchange, Credit Donkey, Christian Personal Finance, Money Under 30, Saving Advice, Calculated Risk, Ezra Klein, Planet Money, Marginal Revolution, Zero Hedge, FinanceWalk, and The Big Picture.
#2. Communication Style
The written communication of a financial writer should be concise, crisp and free-flowing.
The use of industry jargon is relevant when writing for financial experts but the same writing tone becomes irrelevant when communicating with the common masses.
The trick to being a successful financial writer depends on the nature of communication.
Work on writing style by reading books and magazines. Note how financial writers present information.
You can check out writing resources for equity research analysis writing, Copyblogger.com for copywriting tips and this book by William Zinsser.
There is a huge market for skilled financial writers.
Opportunities are endless.
You need to know where to look for the right clients, and this is where most aspiring financial writers fail miserably!
You can be a successful financial writer working with newspapers, magazines, online finance businesses, financial product sellers, financial planning and advisory companies creating informative materials for customers.
You have the option to work as a freelancer, a full-timer or a part-timer.
#4. Build a Portfolio
Once you've gained good experience, start building a portfolio.
A good portfolio is what distinguishes a successful financial writer from a non-successful one.
Search any successful writer and the first noticeable thing is his/her portfolio.
A portfolio is a collection of meritorious work, actively updated and used for seeking work.
As a financial writer, the goal is to associate with authoritative and reputed financial institutions that contribute to portfolio building.
An impressive portfolio gets more clients!
We have covered the basic aspects to be a successful financial writer, let’s move on to other relevant concerns.
Qualifications and Work Responsibilities of a Financial Writer
There is no fixed qualification requirement.
Each publication has its own benchmark; however, it is common for financial writers to have a graduate degree in journalism, economics, management or finance.
Someone with a Masters’s degree in the same fields can negotiate higher pay with publications.
More than anything, a natural flair with finance bypasses any educational requirement!
The job profile of a financial writer entails two main things:
- create educational content
- writing market commentary
Both of these happen in print and digital publications. Most financial writing positions work on a freelance basis.
To be a successful financial writer, you need to write a coherent and clear copy with an investigative tone.
You’re not just reporting facts; you are investigating the market too.
The writer needs to keep track of finance news and write commentary or editorials.
Certain creativity is an added bonus to make financial writing appealing.
31 Financial Writing Skills
If you’re still undecided about the type of finance skills necessary, peruse this list.
- Accounting principles, standards, and techniques
- Analyzing analytical data
- Budgeting and cash flow management
- Compliance policies
- Cost analysis and reduction
- Data analysis and processing
- Financial advising
- Estate planning and decision making
- Financial analysis, management, planning, and reporting
- Financial engineering
- Financial modeling
- Forecasting commentary
- Investment principles and journal entries
- Leadership positions
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Excel understanding
- Performance management, planning, and reporting
- Practice management and portfolio reports
- Project management
- Quantitative data analysis
- Profit and loss statements
- Risk analysis
- Strategic planning and reporting
- Relationship management and balancing
- Taxation planning and reporting
- Wealth management
- Valuations and value-added analysis
- Technology in finance
- Careers in finance
Your financial writing specialization could be a specific skill-set or a combination of many.
How to Find Finance Clients?
To be a successful financial writer, you need not only have great writing and knowledge about finance but a knack of finding clients.
If you wish to work as a freelance financial writer, a steady stream of permanent freelance clients is mandatory.
There is no guide to teach anyone how to go to client hunting.
There are resources and some of them are shared here.
Sites like International Freelancers Academy, Media Bistro, and Urban-Muse are excellent resources to learn about the freelancing trade and accessing financial writer jobs.
They are resource-cum-job opening sites.
Networking helps to get clients if you have the right connections. Maintain good work ethics and choose quality work over money.
Further, if you want to learn more about financial writing, read these exceptionally well-written posts on Susan Weiner’s blog.
The posts target CFA charter-holders but they are applicable otherwise too. They are:
- Top 5 Types of Writing for CFA Charter-Holders
- Top 10 Tips for CFA Charter-Holders Who Wants to Freelance
- Advice from a Hiring Manager to CFAs who wants to Freelance
Each of these posts is a must-read.
What to Charge as a Financial Writer?
There are no benchmark charges of a financial writer.
Financial writers with good experience, writing skills and portfolio charge as per their input within the contextual requirement.
Surveys conducted in the last decade show that full-time freelance financial writers earn anywhere between $35,000 and $200,000 annually.
As per PayScale, the average financial writer's salary in the United States is $59,000.
There is a list of international writers or freelancing associations mentioned in the list which offers reports and surveys on freelance rates. You should check them out.
The Freelance Charging Formula
Most freelance writers use this simple formula to determine freelancing rates.
- Decide how much you want to earn every year, in your currency.
- Add to this amount the fixed expenses like Internet fees and computer usage. Add miscellaneous expenses too like the cost of repairs, if any.
- Add other personal expenses like insurance premiums and house rent costs.
- Total everything and divide by 12.
The resultant amount is what you need to earn every month.
For those who’re just starting out as a financial writer, the monthly estimate might seem impossible to reach but as you start working and getting clients, the target will cease to seem unachievable.
Of course, your expected yearly earnings should be realistic.
Successful financial writers charge $500+ for an in-depth guide and being a newcomer, you can’t expect the same.
Therefore, study the financial markets and create a realistic earning amount.
The financial writing market is expansive. The shortage of adequate skill sets and experience necessitates the demand for a good financial writer.
If you have the zeal to understand finance and writing abilities, a financial writing career might be just what you were looking for.