Washington residents know that the State of Washington is the real Washington. With its low unemployment, high life expectancy and high median household income, the state is an ideal place to start a career in finance or financial planning. It’s the 13th most populous state, and 60% of the state’s residents live in the Seattle metro.
A few interesting facts about your home state: Washington is the second-largest producer of wine in the country with California leading the pack. Other key state exports include lumber, apples, hops, pears, raspberries and cherries.
The median household income in 2019 was $73,775, which is more than $10K higher than the U.S. median household income of $62,843 for 2019, according to according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 data.
In addition, Washington is one of the nine states that doesn’t levy personal income tax on its residents. It also has a small senior population with only 15.9% of its residents age 65 and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for Washington was 7.1% in December 2020, which is slightly higher than the nationwide rate of 6.7%.
There are 2,009 Certified Financial Planners in the state of Washington, according to the CFP Board, representing 2.3% of all CFPs in the U.S. CFPs are fiduciaries, which means they must act in the best interest of their clients when it comes to selling products or services instead of in their own interest. Financial advisors can choose to work on a fee-based model (earning a flat fee from clients) or a commission-based model where they earn commission based on the sales of financial products.
We’ve drilled deeper into the salaries that financial advisors, stockbrokers and life/annuity insurance agents can make in the various regions of Washington, according to the U.S. Department of Bureau & Labor Statistics. The metro regions included are Bellingham, Bremerton-Silverdale, Eastern Washington nonmetropolitan area, Kennewick-Richland, Olympia-Tumwater, Seattle-Tacoma, Bellevue, Spokane-Spokane Valley, Walla Walla and Yakima.
Financial Advisor Salary in Washington
There are 2,880 financial advisors in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro with 190 in Spokane-Spokane Valley, but the rest of the regions don’t even top out in the triple digits. The annual mean salary is lowest in Walla Walla and the Eastern Washington nonmetropolitan area at $50,290 and $60,290, respectively.
The highest-paying region in 2019 was the Seattle metro, followed closely by Spokane metro and then Bremerton-Silverdale with salaries of $115,210, $114,630 and $112,940, respectively. Financial advisors in the 90th percentile of the wage scale in Washington can expect to earn up to $157,760 in Bellingham, which is the highest data point the BLS made available.
Stockbroker Salary in Washington
There are more than 5K stockbrokers working in the state of Washington with an annual mean salary ranging from $46,480 in the Eastern Washington nonmetropolitan area to $84,760 in the Seattle metro, which isn’t a surprise. Seattle brokers who have a great deal of experience also earn the highest salaries in the state in the 90th percentile of the pay scale, earning $161,370. The lowest-paying regions in the 90th percentile are Bremerton-Silverdale at $75,800 and the Eastern Washington nonmetropolitan area following closely at $76,000, which is still nothing to scoff at as it’s higher than the state’s median annual income rate of $73,775.
Life/Annuity Producer Salary in Washington
The salaries for insurance salespeople in Washington are lower across the board than that of financial advisors and stockbrokers with Seattle agents still making the highest annual mean salary of $72,560 in the state and agents in Kennewick-Richland at the low end of the spectrum at $55,100 per year.
Seattle far outstrips the rest of the state when it comes to the number of agents at 5,940. The closest region is Spokane-Spokane Valley at 1,030 and then we hit 340 in Olympia-Tumwater and 200s throughout the rest of the state.
(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.)