Thinking about a career as a Financial Analyst? This article will provide an in-depth look into what Financial Analysts do, the factors that make a city favorable for them, and the top cities for Financial Analysts in terms of job opportunities, salary, and community.

Key Insights

  • Financial Analysts have the responsibility to study financial data and perform research tasks to spot investment opportunities and inform the business' decisions. They often find employment with large corporations and government agencies.
  • Choosing the best city for Financial Analysts is determined by various factors such as the number of job opportunities, salary rates, cost of living, and the presence of a strong Financial Analyst community.
  • Top cities for Financial Analysts based on the aforementioned factors are San Francisco, San Jose, New York City, Houston, and Charlotte.
  • The role of a Financial Analyst is crucial in guiding organizational investment decisions and they generally receive competitive salaries. The median pay for Financial Analysts in 2021 was $96,000.
  • To land a job as a Financial Analyst, most individuals start by earning a bachelor's degree, gaining on-the-job experience, and considering further education or industry-relevant certifications.
  • Noble Desktop offers classes and programs focused on financial modeling and analysis, including the Financial Modeling Bootcamp and the Financial Analyst Training Program.

If you’re looking to begin a career as a Financial Analyst, you may wonder which city is the best location. Regardless of whether you’re just beginning your career or are looking to switch jobs and locations, it’s important to know which locations offer the most opportunities to help you achieve your long-term career goals. Geographical location can play a significant role in your career options and salary and affect your quality of life and overall work-life balance. This article will explore what makes a city a good option for Financial Analysts, which cities offer the highest pay rates for professionals in this field, and what constitutes a “good” location to work in this field.

What is a Financial Analyst?

Financial Analysts study financial data and perform various research tasks to spot investment opportunities and analyze possible outcomes for business decisions. These professionals play an integral role in helping to create more informed investment strategies for their organization or its clients. To do so, Financial Analysts routinely perform tasks for their employer like studying current events and developments in the market, examining financial statements, and creating financial models that can anticipate future performance. They also may study macroeconomic trends or hone in on particular industries or sectors. Financial Analysts rely on their background in math, accounting, research, reporting, communication, critical thinking, and data analytics to perform these tasks.

Because of how valued they are by organizations, Financial Analysts often find employment with large corporations like insurance companies, security firms, investment banks, venture capital firms, or government agencies. They play an integral role in supporting an organization’s budgeting initiatives, as well as writing financial status reports and recommendations. Their process often involves steps such as collecting data, organizing information, performing data analysis on these numbers, providing projections or forecasts, offering recommendations, creating Excel models, presenting their findings to organizational stakeholders, and writing reports or dashboards to convey suggestions. Depending on their professional focus, Financial Analysts do extensive research on their organization’s buy-side and sell-side financial data. They often focus on either credit markets or equity markets.

Read more about what a Financial Analyst does.

What Makes a City Good for Financial Analysts?

Choosing which city is best for Financial Analysts involves more than looking at weather reports or salary ranges. Deciding which location is best for you involves looking at other factors as well, such as the cost of living, the number of available jobs, and the larger community you’ll be entering. The following sections explore the different variables that make a city a good location for a career as a Financial Analyst:

Job Opportunities

If you’re deciding which city to relocate to for a career as a Financial Analyst, an important consideration is the number of job openings currently available. Large cities with thousands of open positions may improve your chances of finding work, whereas locations with only a few openings may yield a more competitive job market. Aspiring Financial Analysts should consider not only the current positions available in a given city but also which industries there are expanding to create a greater need for financial professionals. For example, if you know a large investment bank like Morgan Stanley or JP Morgan Chase has just opened an office in a city you’re interested in moving to, you may be more likely to find employment than if there are only small nonprofit organizations nearby.

High Salaries

Compensation is another important factor that can influence where you relocate for work. While cities like New York, Houston, and San Francisco are known to offer Financial Analysts competitive salaries, these areas also have a higher cost of living than other locations, such as Detroit or Charlotte. This is why it’s important to consider more than a salary range when deciding where to relocate. Instead, you may also factor in how much rent, food, transportation, and entertainment will cost in this location and if the salary ranges are high enough to offset any additional cost-of-living factors. For some, living in a smaller city with a lower cost of living may make more sense, even if the pay rates are slightly lower than in major metropolitan areas.

Strong Financial Analyst Community

Regardless of your profession, the community plays an important role in providing support, professional development, and networking options. While more rural areas may have a lower cost of living than New York City or San Jose, they may not provide the same opportunities to connect with other financial professionals, attend social events, or network. This can make it harder to advance your career or explore additional job opportunities. In addition, it may be easier to continue your education in locations with good educational providers, such as Boston or New York City. Locations near major colleges and universities typically provide opportunities for continued education and the chance to connect with other financial professionals. 

Most Entry-Level Job Opportunities

Securing an entry-level job as a Financial Analyst is an important first step in your career. If you’ve just graduated from college with your bachelor’s degree, you may be on the job hunt, searching for your first job in finance. This may involve deciding which city has the most entry-level jobs available in this field, as well as which locations provide the most competitive pay rates. 

Houston, for example, boasts the fifth-highest national pay rate for Financial Analysts, with an average salary of $102,000. However, Entry-Level Financial Analysts make only half this much, which is well under the pay rate in other cities like San Francisco or Oakland. For those who seek higher pay for Junior Financial Analysts positions, you may need to look beyond the average pay rate and specifically explore how a city ranks for entry-level job pay in this field. Because most Financial Analysts can expect to work for several years in a junior-level position, cities that offer more opportunities to work in entry-level finance positions, as well as higher salaries, likely will factor into your consideration.

Top Cities for Financial Analysts

If you want to pursue a career as a Financial Analyst, the following five cities provide competitive salaries, numerous job openings, and other features such as access to cultural events or world-class cuisine:

San Francisco

The number-one location in the U.S. for Financial Analysts is San Francisco. There are currently more than 7,000 jobs available for qualified professionals. Salary rates for Financial Analysts are the highest in the country; the average annual pay is $138,000. In addition, this city has a thriving economy, excellent dining options, and a good climate.

San Jose

Another city in California, San Jose, is at the top of the list for the best locations to pursue a job as a Financial Analyst. More than 4,000 jobs are currently offered in this field. Financial Analysts enjoy high pay in San Jose; the average salary in 2021 was $117,000. In addition to a high average salary, entry-level Financial Analysts, such as Junior Analysts, also have high pay options. Those pursuing junior finance roles earn $69,000 on average a year. Besides a strong local job market, San Jose offers residents cultural diversity with a mix of urban and suburban living options. The public school system in San Jose is also highly rated, which makes it a great location for Financial Analysts who have families or are looking to start families. The city is located in a beautiful natural landscape, another appealing factor.

New York City

New York City is one of America’s most versatile and diverse cities. It’s also a great location to consider if you want to work in finance. This city is home to the headquarters of many large banks, such as The Bank of New York Mellon, The Goldman Sachs Group, JP Morgan Chase, and Citigroup, among others. Over 40,000 jobs are currently available in New York City for Financial Analysts. Not only are there ample job prospects, but the salary rates are competitive; the average annual salary for a Financial Analyst is $125,000, and entry-level Analysts earn $62,000. New York City also offers a range of cultural opportunities for those who live there, such as Broadway plays, jazz clubs, museums, and world-class art galleries. It’s also home to top schools such as New York University and Barnard. Those who live in New York City can choose from some of the world’s best restaurants and take advantage of reliable and affordable public transportation.


Another top location to pursue a career in financial analytics is Houston. Over 6,600 jobs are currently available in this city. The average salary for a Financial Analyst in Houston is $102,000 a year. Not only are pay rates competitive, but the relative cost of living is lower than in other major cities. Houston is home to one of the country’s most diverse cultures, which means great dining options are available throughout the city. In addition, there is no state income tax, which makes Houston a largely affordable place to live. The warm weather, combined with world-class dining options and a strong job market, make Houston a top location for finance jobs.


Aspiring Financial Analysts may also consider moving to Charlotte, NC, to find employment. Over 4,000 financial analytics jobs are currently available in Charlotte. In addition, this city offers a high average salary, $92,000, for qualified Financial Analysts. Charlotte was recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best places in the U.S. to live due to its unique culture and sophisticated culinary scene. For a city with nearly a million inhabitants, Charlotte is known to be a clean location with many trails and green spaces. In addition to mild weather. In 2021, Charlotte’s job growth was 2.7%. The banking sector, particularly, is strong in Charlotte since it’s home to the corporate headquarters of both Bank of America and Wachovia. Not only is the current market strong there, but Charlotte is experiencing an impressive 45% job growth this decade. 

Why Become a Financial Analyst?

Financial Analysts play an integral role in guiding their company’s investment decisions. Sound investments are essential for ensuring economic stability and facilitating continued organizational growth. These professionals provide services and insights that impact a range of stakeholders, from large corporations interested in becoming more profitable to couples planning for retirement. There are many benefits to pursuing a career as a Financial Analyst. High pay rates are the first benefit. Financial Analysts typically receive competitive salaries for their efforts. In 2021, the median pay for Financial Analysts was $96,000. This field also has a nine percent growth rate expected over the next decade, which is above the national average for other professions.

Not only do Financial Analysts enjoy high pay for their contributions to their organizations, but they often have travel opportunities. Some organizations’ Financial Analysts travel the world, studying the culture, political condition, regulations, and languages in different countries to better understand the factors that impact investment decisions. Career opportunities are available in many industries, as well as locations for Financial Analysts. These professionals can explore positions in securities firms, insurance companies, banks, pension offices, financial risk management consulting firms, or in-house accounting teams, among others. Career advancement is also another benefit of working as a Financial Analyst. The more experience you gain within an organization, you likely will have options to progress from Junior Analyst to Associate Analyst or even Senior Analyst. 

Another reason a career as a Financial Analyst is a good option is that it offers stable industry growth. Those who enter college must be prepared to eventually search for careers in different market conditions than when they began their study. Although most fields are affected to some extent by market fluctuations, the finance sector typically experiences stable growth, even during periods of rapid economic change. In addition, new financial products are created every day, as well as new investment opportunities. This means new opportunities for Financial Analysts are always available.

Read more about whether Financial Analyst is a good career.

How to Find a Financial Analyst Job

If you’re interested in a job as a Financial Analyst, you may be wondering how to break into this field. Although there is no one “right” job path toward a career in finance, most individuals begin their journey by earning a bachelor’s degree. This typically involves completing courses in statistics, economics, and other fields relevant to financial analysis. Some individuals select more targeted degrees, such as a bachelor of science in finance. 

After completing undergraduate study, some individuals apply for entry-level positions at banking firms or work with accounting or investments. Some may consider earning Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credentials, which are available from the CFA Institute, which can lead to job opportunities with higher pay or career advancement options. Others opt to seek industry-relevant certifications or licensing before applying for jobs.

On-the-job experience plays a crucial role in becoming a successful Financial Analyst. Most who pursue this career path begin as interns or Junior-Level Financial Analysts, then work their way up to more senior roles. Those with hands-on training in accounting, finance, or economics have an advantage over other job candidates who lack real-world experience. Another option many consider to pursue their ideal finance job is earning a master’s degree in accounting or an MBA. This provides additional training in advanced financial reporting, auditing, strategic analysis, and managerial methods. Resources such as and have helped many people find competitive Financial Analyst positions.

Creating a strong portfolio is another important factor in helping you land a job as a Financial Analyst. Professional portfolios provide a way to showcase a selection of your best work to share with potential employers. Although the type of portfolio you will create will vary depending on the specific job to which you’re applying, most portfolios include work samples, transcripts, certificates, proof of skills, and visual elements that illustrate your training, such as project overviews or details about projects you’ve contributed to or managed. Your resume, as well as letters of recommendation, also are commonly included in portfolios. A strong Financial Analyst portfolio can help set you apart from other candidates who seem equally qualified in terms of credentials. They provide an engaging and creative way to demonstrate that you have financial skills and have taken the time to arrange them professionally. A strong portfolio not only shows employers the impact of the work you’ve done but also what lessons you take away from this work, as well as the significant outcomes for your organization that occurred from your efforts.

Learn the Skills to Become a Financial Analyst at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop, an educational provider located in New York City, offers a range of classes devoted to financial modeling and analysis. Financial Modeling Bootcamp is a hands-on, 18-hour course that teaches students fundamental financial concepts, such as corporate valuation, accounting, and finance. Participants in this small class create their own discounted cash flow using Microsoft Excel. Over three days, expert instructors also help students develop a comprehensive financial model for an actual company. As a prerequisite to this bootcamp, students should have intermediate Excel proficiency.

Noble also has a Financial Analyst Training Program that provides expert instruction on timely corporate and financial concepts, such as making a full valuation model. Those enrolled in this intensive program receive instruction on fundamental Excel skills, such as using shortcuts and PivotTables. Advanced Excel techniques are also covered in this 30-hour program, like Goal Seek and cash flow projection tools. All learners also receive instruction on creating a three-statement financial model for a public restaurant company.

In addition to the Financial Modeling Bootcamp and Financial Analyst Training Program, Noble Desktop also has in-person and live online financial modeling training courses. The

Excel Bootcamp offers 18 hours of instruction on core business Excel skills like working with VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, and What-If Analysis for Goal Seek. FinTech courses are also available, like Algorithmic Trading with Python, Python for Data Science Bootcamp, and FinTech Bootcamp. This course provides students with hands-on training from expert instructors in FinTech skills like working with Python and SQL for data analysis, creating machine learning models, and working with different data types like integers, floats, and strings. All students have the option of a free course retake for up to one year, as well as one-on-one mentoring.