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How to Become a Freelance Financial Writer

PS has worked as a freelance writer since 2012. When she's not traveling and writing, she helps people with web design and development.

Becoming a Financial Writer

Financial writing is a potentially lucrative field; writers average $0.30 to $0.50 per word, and the field covers every aspect of the financial world, from personal finance to stock analysis. The target audience is huge as well, ranging from investors to fund managers.

If you come from a finance background, it's comparatively easier for you to attract potential clients from the very beginning. But even if you don't have this advantage, it's still possible to build your resume and become a successful financial writer.

How to Bolster Your Resume

You can boost your trading experience into expertise by finding out how to personalize your query per the client's needs. If you faced money losses in stock, then write about what needs to be taken care of when planning to invest.

Maybe you or someone you know overcame debt and built a consistent income—Write about that creative solution. You can also submit your stories to personal finance blogs or build your own to help readers.

Needless to say, everyone from young teenagers to adults knows a bit about finance. As a writer, it's your job to transform any raw topic into an entertaining piece of information. So if you want financial writing to be your forte, then here's how to excel in it.

What's the Job of a Financial Writer?

Before reading about the required educational qualification and experience, it is imperative to know what a financial writer actually does.

As the name suggests, a financial writer:

  • Writes educational content
  • Writes personal views on business news
  • Writes analyses about earning trends in executive compensation
  • Writes learning guides and textbooks

What Are the Educational Qualifications of a Financial Writer?

Unlike other careers in finance, finance writing doesn't require any specific qualifications. Most financial writers have one of the following:

  • A degree in business, journalism, economics, or digital media
  • Experience with online or offline classes, ranging from a few weeks to a few months
  • Attended conferences and seminars to deepen their writing skills.
  • A master's degree in finance, journalism, economics, or management

What Level of Experience Does a Financial Writer Need to Have?

If you go through the profiles of successful financial writers, you’ll see most of them have experience as a:

  • Stock broker (either retail or institutional)
  • Portfolio manager
  • Analyst
  • Finance editor
  • Producer
  • Junior writer
  • Reporter

This experience includes both sell- and buy-side of the investing.

Most of them choose to wet their feet in the writing field because they have better sources and contacts with the right people in the industry. These people help them come up with the article ideas. Also, they have better skills in translating financial news than those with no finance background.

What If You Don’t Have This Experience?

Certainly, an individual with no prior experience will find it a little difficult to become a successful financial writer. Yet many of them do become successful high-earners in this field.

The two most important things a non-experienced financial writer must do are:

  1. Conduct extensive research work
  2. Conduct interviews with experts and other professionals in the industry

You can also specialize in fields like financial markets, investments, global finance, consumer financial planning, equities, and so on.

You can make up what you lack in experience with research.

You can make up what you lack in experience with research.

Financial Writer Specializations

From the fields and skills listed below, you can see how wide of a range there truly is in finance; it is difficult for even the most experienced writers to become an expert in everything.

  1. Accounting techniques
  2. Analyzing financial data
  3. Auditing
  4. Budgeting
  5. Cash flow management
  6. Compliance policies
  7. Data analysis
  8. Cost analysis
  9. Cost reduction
  10. Financial advising
  11. Financial engineering
  12. Financial analysis and management
  13. Financial modeling
  14. Estate planning
  15. Forecasting commentary
  16. Mergers and acquisitions
  17. Investment management
  18. Performance planning and reporting
  19. Excel understanding
  20. Team leadership
  21. SAP
  22. Risk analysis
  23. Quantitative data analysis
  24. Project management
  25. Profit and loss statements
  26. Strategic planning
  27. Wealth management
  28. Relationship management
  29. Taxation planning
  30. Securities
  31. Finance and Technology
  32. Value-added analysis
Experience aside, financial writers do need to have basic skills pertaining to the field.

Experience aside, financial writers do need to have basic skills pertaining to the field.

What Skills Are Required for Financial Writers?

A financial writer needs to be like an investigative journalist.

  1. You must know how to write a clear and coherent article.
  2. You must know how to ask probing questions.
  3. You must have the skills to convert complicated financial transactions and jargon into layman’s terms.
  4. You must know how to produce a commentary piece in a matter of hours or minutes from the news.
  5. You must know how to produce content that fits print publications, websites, and social media.
  6. Your content must appeal to the masses and should be able to find its place in the top rankings on search engines and social media channels.

Style Variation

As a financial writer, you are required to publish your articles on different platforms. Every platform has its own style of content presentation:

  1. Print: Write content with quotes from industry professionals; articles must be at least 1,000 words long.
  2. Website: Write content in a conversational tone; word limits range from 200 to 2,000 words or more.
  3. Social Media: Write short content with appropriate visuals.

What Should You Charge as a Freelance Financial Writer?

There aren't strict rules that you need to follow when it comes to determining a fee for your work. Freelance writers' charges are based on:

  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Portfolio
  • Specialization

According to several surveys conducted in the last decade, the income of freelance writers varies from $35k to $200k annually. Here are some suggestions that you can use to decide your charges:

  • Check out what other writers are charging.
  • Decide how much you want to earn annually.
  • Add that amount to the Wi-Fi fees and other expenses, such as repairs, insurance, and house rent.
  • Calculate the sum and divide it by 12 to get your needed monthly income.

A Note on Estimating

If you are just starting out, then the monthly estimates can be a little difficult to get through. But as you will progress with different jobs and start receiving more and more clients, you will reach your monthly target.

Your estimated annual income must be realistic. Successful writers earn $500 or more for a single article—when you're first starting out, you can't expect to earn the same. Do a market analysis to find a realistic charging amount.


Freelance Job Boards

As a newbie, you should try looking for jobs on freelancing sites like Upwork and Freelancer or try your luck with content mills such as Demand Media Studios. The payment may not be huge, but you can build your portfolio and gather the courage to apply to the clients you are dying to work for.

Other job posting sites, such as ProBlogger, have lots of opportunities to find suitable work. While most of the jobs offer minimal payments, you can still find jobs that offer almost $0.25 per word. Many freelance job sites offer different types of writing assignments in a single job description. Pay close attention, so you don’t miss out on any of them.

Sites like Writing White Papers, Media Bistro, International Freelancers Academy, and Urban Muse are some of the best resources to help out with accessing high-paying jobs, especially for rookies.

Having networking skills is a very important attribute that will help you gain more clients in a short period of time. Maintain healthy work ethics and prefer quality over anything else, even money.

Guest Posting

The best way to show your expertise and impress your clients is by making a guest contribution to a financial blog. Pitch the blog’s author with a unique idea that matches their blog content; in return, you get credentials to show on your resume. Make sure you know the blog content before pitching the idea.

Enhancing Your Niche

If you are already into the freelancing business, then the above suggestions may not appeal much since you have to start from scratch to build your credibility in the financial writing world.

You have the opportunity to turn your specialized niche into a financial genre through some tricks and creativity. For example, suppose you write about computer hardware. In that case, you can combine it with finance by writing about how to reduce the cost of investment in a laptop by buying affordable hardware pieces and building your own.

Here, you are not only talking about computer hardware but also budgeting and business. You can transform that into a long-form article for a finance blog to help you get bigger writing gigs.

Business Insider

Business Insider

You need to read through some famous financial blogs to know what actually sells in the market:

  1. Business Insider
  2. Real Time Economics
  3. Free Exchange
  4. The Wealth Report
  5. Deal Broker
  6. Money Under 30
  7. Credit Donkey
  8. Deal Book
  9. The Big Picture
  10. Calculated Risk
  11. Ezra Klein
  12. Paul Kedrosky
  13. Christian Personal Finance
  14. Zero Hedge
  15. Marginal Revolution
  16. Block Talk
  17. Grasping Reality with a Sharp Beak
  18. The Consumerist
  19. Saving Advice
  20. Planet Money
  21. Street Sweep

Financial Publications

Writing for financial publications can offer you up to or more than $1,000 per article. Since the payment is so lucrative, you can’t expect them to offer these opportunities to newbies or entry-level writers. Here are a few of the best financial publications:

  1. Advisor’s Edge
  2. Credit Today
  3. The Federal Credit Union
  4. AFP Exchange
  5. Collections & Credit Risk
  6. Insight

You need to have immense knowledge of stocks and bonds, which is definitely not hard to learn. Even if it sounds challenging, remember there is a big payout waiting for you ahead. You can also write for a newsletter with the hope of receiving at least $300 per article, which will help you with a steady income.

You can also submit articles for sites like Seeking Alpha. Keep track of what’s trending in the finance sector and how to deliver ideas into writing to match industry standards. Don’t get nervous about the number of published articles and the wide range of topics.

You must also attend investment seminars and read books related to stock analysis. You don’t need to write exclusively on finance. Being open to various opportunities will help you build a strong portfolio that will generate better clients irrespective of the industry they’re working in.

AFP Exchange

AFP Exchange

Some Common Topics Famous in Finance Publications

  1. IRAs
  2. Traded stocks
  3. Retirement savings
  4. Analyzed stocks and commodities
  5. Business taxes
  6. Mortgage plans
  7. Insurance savings
  8. Property dealing

Websites Where You Can Submit Your Financial Articles

Here is a list of some of the most famous finance-related articles that’ll pay you to write outstanding finance material:

  1. The Penny Hoarder
  2. The Motley Fool
  3. The Dollar Stretcher
  4. Doctor of Credit
  5. Nukeblogger
  6. Funds for Writers
  7. eCommerce Writers

Finance is a field everyone is aware of and wishes to know more about. Even if you know nothing about it, you can start learning now. As an experienced writer, you’ll have the opportunity to work with big companies and, hopefully, earn big money.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Gupi on June 21, 2019:

Thanks for sharing the advice. I found it very useful.