Investment is the purchase of assets intended to create wealth in the future. While many people have investments in savings accounts, retirement accounts, or the stock market, most rely on the expertise of financial advisors or financial institutions such as banks to develop an investment strategy that meets their financial planning goals.
Understanding investments is thus important whether you want to work in financial services or simply make informed decisions when hiring others to help you manage your financial future.
Skillful investment management requires familiarity with different global financial markets, including the stock market, the bond market, commodities, and other financial instruments like options and other derivatives. It also involves techniques of risk analysis and risk management used in diversified portfolio construction, which increasingly leverage the power of computer algorithms.
Many investment professionals work as financial analysts or investment analysts, employed by investment banks, hedge funds, or other financial service providers. They analyze a wide range of financial data as well as macroeconomic and political trends, assess the strengths and weaknesses of individual companies or entire asset classes, and any other information relevant to making investment recommendations.
Other investment jobs include portfolio managers and fund managers, who are responsible for selecting a mix of investments designed to meet different risk and reward profiles for their firms. Personal investment advisors may perform the same function for high net worth individuals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial analysts working in investments and securities make a median annual salary of $101,410. Fund managers are often compensated by fees structured according to the assets they manage and the annual return of the fund, making this a potentially very highly-paid role.
There are a wide range of courses in business and finance available on Coursera, including courses specialized in investment topics. These include courses as well as Specializations from top-ranked schools around the world, such as Yale University, Rice University, the University of Geneva, and the Indian School of Business.
The ability to learn online means you can get an education from these leading institutions from wherever you are in the world, and study course materials and complete assignments on a flexible schedule that fits with your existing work schedule or family life. And, because you’ll be taking the same courses as on-campus students at a significantly lower cost, you can rest assured that you’ll get a great return for this investment in your education.
Before starting to learn about investment, it would be helpful to have skills and experience that include financial acumen, attention to detail, a strong interest in financial markets and stock trading, and insights into how to read financial statements to uncover hidden assets in companies. Some of these may come from experience gained by working in banking, fund management, hedge funds, and possibly day trading. If you are interested in learning more about investment, you may also try to learn how to read financial statements, figure out how to spot undervalued assets, and invest with common sense and clarity, not emotions and fear of missing out.
The kind of people that are best suited for work that involves investment may include people who are analytical, detail-oriented, and passionate about numbers and those that have a sense of financial adventure. Today’s investors also need to have a strong technology background, as cloud-based charts and graphs are part of the daily work tools used by investors. The people who work in investment analyze spreadsheets and charts most of the day, so a literate computer foundation is important, too. A person might also be up-to-date on newer financial concepts like cryptocurrencies, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and regulatory technology. These concepts are becoming better understood by people working in investment circles, so anyone wishing to get involved in investment should be interested in these aspects of investment.
You might know if learning investment is right for you if you show a natural comfort with numbers, calculations, statistics, financial news, financial planning, and other money matters. Learning about investment can be a rewarding experience, especially if you have a friend or mentor to initially guide you with investment strategies. These strategies can cover information about interest rates, bond markets, IPOs, risk management, and more. If you find that you wake up early to check your investments on a daily basis, then it might be a good sign that learning more about investment is right for you.
This FAQ content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.