For many people, being able to work at home gives them the best of both worlds; they have the job security and income of a regular full-time job, without the time, expense and hassle of going to an office. The financial industry has seen an increasing number of jobs in this sector moving to become available for telecommuters. These jobs range from full-time corporate positions, to opportunities for entrepreneurs and independent contractors. In this article, we'll provide a breakdown, in no particular order, of the four highest-paying positions available in this sector.

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Day Trader
A day trader holds positions in stocks for a very short period of time, often from minutes to hours, and makes numerous trades each day. In most cases, all open trades are closed before the end of the day.

While this "job" does not offer a guaranteed salary or other benefits, it does provide those who are successful at it with potentially huge returns on capital. Some traders can post returns of 300% or more in a year, while others will see much less. Being a successful day trader requires more than a lucky guess; day trading requires specific skills and tools, available capital and emotional stamina. In order to achieve success, day traders must have:

  • A long-term trading strategy and access to up-to-the-minute market information, including real-time quotes.
  • The ability to correctly interpret the short-term movements of the markets.
  • Continuous access to multiple live news sources, such as CNBC.
  • Analytical software, which allows day traders to discover trading patterns much faster and reduce trade execution times.

This life is not for everyone. Traders must have the stomach, and the cash reserves, to weather heavy, short-term losses and be able to keep going. Some traders focus chiefly on equities, while others speculate in derivatives or foreign currencies. While successful day traders can become quite wealthy, it is virtually impossible to quantify any kind of average compensation to them, as even the best traders will see substantial fluctuations in their respective returns, from one year to the next. If you need to know you'll have a constant and steady income, this is not the career for you. (For more on day trading, Day Trading Strategies For Beginners.)

Financial Writer
While this position is perhaps one of the least publicized in the industry, talented and experienced writers are constantly in demand. There has been an explosion of financial news, literature and websites over the last several years, as well as an increased demand for professional financial education and training.

This job is perhaps one of the easiest to do from home, as all written material is easily deliverable electronically via email and web servers. There is rarely a shortage of work for a competent writer, especially one who can produce good copy under a tight deadline. Good financial writers and editors can command up to several hundred dollars per article, and there are even some jobs that can pay salaries in the range of $70,000 to $90,000 per year.

To achieve the top salary as a financial writer, you'll usually need a master's degree in management, finance, economics or journalism. Professional experience in the financial industry will set an individual apart from the competition. However, some writers have become successful just by having the ability to write professional-level copy consistently, about financial topics that are well-researched and financially sound. (To find out more profiting from your pen, see Becoming A Financial Writer.)

Independent Financial Planner
Although not common, it is possible for independent financial planners and advisors to base their offices out of their homes, as long as their homes provide a sufficiently professional backdrop for their practices. Obviously, a client would be more interested in seeing a financial planner in a larger house, in a more affluent neighborhood with a dedicated area for the home business, than a poorly maintained apartment in a neglected area of town. In addition, some business licenses will only allow one client to be at your home at one time, so if this creates a legal issue for you, having clients come to your home may not be the best option.

There are also positional issues to consider, such as parking, access for persons with handicaps, restrooms and so forth. Furthermore, a key factor in deciding whether to take this approach will be whether the advisor's family is willing to share the house with a business.

At the same time, advisors who are able to make this arrangement work for them and their clients, can substantially reduce their overhead expenses as well as eliminate their commuting costs. The compensation range for successful advisors who work at home will likely mirror the compensation received by advisors with similar practices, who work anywhere else, without the high overhead expenses. (To keep reading on this subject, check out Is A Career In Financial Planning In Your Future?)

Corporate Financial Careers
This last category of work-at-home jobs encompasses several different areas, including financial analysts, certified public accountants, tax researchers, computer programmers and many others. An increasing number of these jobs are being farmed out to independent contractors. Many computer-based jobs can now be done from anywhere, therefore, employers can be reluctant to justify using expensive office space to house additional employees. In fact, existing employees are often allowed to work at home, at least part time. Many corporate jobs now only require employees to come into the office once or twice a week, for meetings or presentations, and allow them to do their remaining work at home.

The Bottom Line
As with other sectors of the economy, laptop computers and mobile phones are allowing the financial industry workforce to become increasingly mobile. More and more work is leaving the office to be done at home or out in the field, and this trend is likely to continue far into the future. Employees in the financial industry who are tired of the office routine, now have several highly compensated home-based alternatives from which to choose.

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