From Baltimore’s picturesque inner harbor to the bustling DMV area around the District of Columbia, Maryland is a destination for history buffs and go-getters. The capital of Annapolis sits on Chesapeake Bay, featuring gorgeous views, legendary seafood and a bevy of history from the American Revolution. Visitors to the resort town of Ocean City enjoy the beach, boardwalk and world-class hotels and dining. The diverse geography stretches from the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, with marshlands to the west and dozens of parks, attractions and outdoor activities—not to mention Baltimore’s stunning aquarium.
Given its central mid-Atlantic location and bustling economy, it’s no surprise that more than 2,000 certified financial planners call the state home, according to the CFP Board. The median household income in the state is nearly $85K/year, putting it well above the national household income median of $63K/year. This indicates a wealthy population and the need for finance professionals in the state.
Maryland uses a graduated-rate income tax model—like 31 other states plus D.C.—which ranges from 2% at the lowest end of the income scale, up to 5.75% for those who make $250K or more. The 23 counties and the City of Baltimore also levy local income taxes, which vary from county to county but average around 3%.
Choosing a place to live is just one decision when you set out to be a finance professional or financial planner. You’ll need to decide how to structure your services and charge clients as well. The data we’ve compiled below includes hourly rates, but these are for comparison purposes only. It’s rare for financial advisors, insurance sales agents or stockbrokers to charge or earn by the hour. Most financial planners charge either a flat rate for their services, regardless of client outcomes or built a commission structure into their client contracts so that their success is tied to their clients’ gains. Even on a commission basis, being a financial planner requires you to be a fiduciary, meaning you act only in your clients’ interests—not your own.
Read on to find salary highlights for financial advisors, stockbrokers, and life/annuity producers (insurance sales agents) in four key markets—Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Hagerstown-Martinsburg, Salisbury, and the nonmetropolitan areas—in this gorgeous mid-Atlantic state.
Financial Advisor Salary in Maryland
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are 3,370 financial advisors—certified or otherwise—practicing in the state of Maryland. The vast majority—about 3,000—live and work in Baltimore. That’s compared with 160 in Salisbury, and less than 100 in Hagerstown and the non-metropolitan areas. You’ll find more clients in Baltimore, and more competition for those clients, as well as more networking and mentorship opportunities with your peers. Salaries are consistent across all markets, though, with an average annual mean salary between $96K and $119K. The 90th percentiles around $200K indicate great earning potential in this state.
Stockbroker Salary in Maryland
Stockbrokers are sales agents who sell securities, commodities and financial services. There are more than 3,500 stockbrokers practicing in Maryland today. Again, you’ll find the vast majority—about 3,000—in Baltimore, with less than 100 in the nonmetropolitan area. The highest salaries are found in Baltimore and Salisbury, with average annual earnings of $85K–$90K. In Hagerstown-Martinsburg and the non-metro areas, the average is more like $51K–$62K. The 90th percentile for Baltimore is nearly three times that of the non-metro areas, so this is a profession where location within the state is closely tied to earning potential.
Life/Annuity Producer Salary in Maryland
Life/annuity producers are insurance sales agents, of which there are an estimated 4,400 in Maryland. More than 3,500 of those are in Baltimore, with an average salary of $67K in that market, and the 440 agents in Salisbury make an average of $62K. The 90th percentiles reach to $93K and higher in all markets, indicating significant earning potential for some agents.
(Salary and job growth data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2019 for personal financial advisors; securities, commodities and financial services sales agents; and insurance sales agents. Figures represent national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Information accessed February 2021.)