Whether you prefer the densely forested mountains and lakes to the west or the rolling plains and prairies to the east, Montana is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and photography are all on the menu in Big Sky Country, with the Rocky Mountains running up the western half of the state. The people have a no-nonsense friendliness and a commitment to self-reliance, which you’re aware of if you’re a Montana resident. Young people flock to college towns like Missoula and Butte, and professionals of all stripes find success in the larger cities if Great Falls and Billings.
Montana employs a graduated income tax rate model like most states. It taxes 1% of the income of the lowest earners, and up to 6.9% for those making more than $18,400, making it essentially a flat tax for higher earners. Montana is one of five states with no general sales tax.
It also has pretty low unemployment overall with an unemployment rate of 4.4% in December 2020, which is .9 percentage points higher than in December 2019 but still is lower than the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.7% for the same time period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The CFP Board estimates there are 210 certified financial planners in Montana, or just 0.2% of the population, making this a potentially attractive market for finance professionals in terms of competition for clients.
This guide provides salary data for finance professionals in key markets in Montana. The tables include hourly rates, but these are for comparative purposes only. Most finance professionals either charge clients a flat fee, or they build a commission structure into client contracts. Even with commission-based compensation, being a CFP requires you to be a fiduciary, which requires advisors to act on behalf of their clients and not advise based on an advisor’s own self-interest, commission, products or services.
Read on for analysis of salary data for finance advisors, stockbrokers and life/annuity providers in Billings, Great Falls and the nonmetropolitan western region.
Financial Advisor Salary in Montana
Montana’s estimated 180 financial planners and advisors, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019, are evenly spread across Billings to the east, Great Falls in the central part of the state and the west Montana nonmetropolitan areas. Data is limited for such a small number of professionals, but a six-figure average and median in Great Falls indicate competitive earning potential in this market. See the full data set below.
Stockbroker Salary in Montana
Stockbrokers are agents who sell securities, commodities and financial services directly to clients. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates only around 200 live and work in Montana, but those who do make a good living at it. Billings is an especially lucrative market, with an average annual salary of $93K and a 90th percentile about $200K/year. Data is limited for such a small market—find available details in the table below.
Life/Annuity Producer Salary in Montana
Life/annuity producers sell insurance packages and services directly to clients. Of the nearly 700 who live and work in Montana, the majority are split between Billings and the western Montana nonmetropolitan area with 170 in Great Falls, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 data. Annual mean salaries range from $54K to $88, with six-figure 90th percentiles indicating that some agents find a lucrative client base in this state. See the full data set in the table below.
(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.)