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Graeme18
10-22-2010, 07:36 AM
I am struggling to understand why actuaries get paid more than accountants for example.

I need to know about what they actually do and why they are paid well. Are they not just people who do the technical/numbers side of things? What is it in their job that is difficult/high responsibilty that earns them the elite salary?

DyalDragon
10-22-2010, 08:04 AM
Accountants tell you how much money you lost last year, actuaries try to give you an idea of how much money you are going to lose next year... and in the case of health & welfare or pension funds, if they base their benefit changes or investment strategies on your recommendations and you screw up that can carry a lot of liability. "Oops, did I say to expect 1 million in losses? I meant 5 million" does not go over very well at a trustee meeting and can make clients a little angry...

My experience is in small fund consulting, but this idea applies to other areas as well I believe. If you are doing rate setting for a new life insurance product, you are getting paid to reduce the insurers risk as much as possible by trying to take into account the expected costs of any factor that can cause a loss, and then setting the premium in order to both be low enough to be acceptable to consumers and to also be high enough to generally cover at the very least the expected losses.

PhildeTruth
10-22-2010, 08:47 AM
I am struggling to understand why actuaries get paid more than accountants for example.

I need to know about what they actually do and why they are paid well. Are they not just people who do the technical/numbers side of things? What is it in their job that is difficult/high responsibilty that earns them the elite salary?

Actuaries don't have elite salaries. On average they make more than accountants because the average accountant is dumb.

Hugh Jass
10-22-2010, 08:54 AM
not a lot of people are able or want to pass the exams.

yes, most accountants are stupid.

Hugh Jass
10-22-2010, 08:57 AM
Actuaries are way more than just number crunchers. Maybe some low-level students do that, but FSAs/FCASs are usually very instrumental in determing the direction a company takes. This means having the numbers to build a convincing case for your ideas and also being able to translate that to non-actuaries and get them to believe in your story. We deserve big money because we are helping to steer the ship.

Anonymouse
10-22-2010, 09:09 AM
Actuaries don't have elite salaries. On average they make more than accountants because the average accountant is dumb.

[/thread]

Hugh Jass
10-22-2010, 09:13 AM
I might also add that accountants are minted by various universities, pretty much. There is no good control over the quality of the syllabus or the student's comprehension or the material. This obviously has made this career more possible for people because let's face it, college is a joke.

We should all keep this lesson in mind whenever the FEM stuff comes up.

Enough Exams Already
10-22-2010, 09:26 AM
I might also add that accountants are minted by various universities, pretty much. There is no good control over the quality of the syllabus or the student's comprehension or the material. This obviously has made this career more possible for people because let's face it, college is a joke.

We should all keep this lesson in mind whenever the FEM stuff comes up.

Universities don't accredit accountants; the AICPA does. And there's a big difference between accountants and bookkeepers, of which there are audits and audits.

OP, actuaries make more on average than accountants for basic economic reasons: there are more accountants for the accounting jobs available than there are actuaries for the actuarial jobs available.

Hugh Jass
10-22-2010, 09:39 AM
Universities don't accredit accountants; the AICPA does. And there's a big difference between accountants and bookkeepers, of which there are audits and audits.

OP, actuaries make more on average than accountants for basic economic reasons: there are more accountants for the accounting jobs available than there are actuaries for the actuarial jobs available.

the AICPA requires that you complete classes from universities as part of their requirement, right?

Paul Blart
10-22-2010, 09:46 AM
the AICPA requires that you complete classes from universities as part of their requirement, right?

I think the AICPA also requires a minimum number of years relevant work experience.

Why do actuaries make more? If we are wrong with our pricing assumptions, risk mitigation strategies, hedging, etc. our employer could stand to lose a lot of money and the finger of blame will point to us. Now, if we are right...... :tup:

Does the typical accountant have this level of responsibility?

Hugh Jass
10-22-2010, 09:54 AM
I think the AICPA also requires a minimum number of years relevant work experience.

Why do actuaries make more? If we are wrong with our pricing assumptions, risk mitigation strategies, hedging, etc. our employer could stand to lose a lot of money and the finger of blame will point to us. Now, if we are right...... :tup:

Does the typical accountant have this level of responsibility?

yeah, my point was that the AICPA has farmed out the educational component of their profession to third parties. That basically sez "we don't really value attracting the best and the brightest to our profession."

GargoyleWaiting
10-22-2010, 10:05 AM
Actuaries and accountants aren't that different in terms of ability. A decent accountant could have been an actuary, a decent actuary could have been an accountant.

As far as I can tell, actuaries get paid more because the head actuary makes more important decisions than the head accountant. Therefore the head actuary is paid more than the head accountant.
Everything else just trickles down through the ranks so an actuary gets paid more than an accountant of equivalent ability/experience.

Vorian Atreides
10-22-2010, 10:18 AM
The value of a company is also dependent on the estimation of future liabilities . . . something that an actuary does and an accountant doesn't. The actuary has to justify their estimation while an accountant can just point to the receipts.

the BS method
10-22-2010, 10:21 AM
Actuaries don't have elite salaries. On average they make more than accountants because the average accountant is dumb.

nice troll. +1

Quasi
10-22-2010, 10:26 AM
I am generally amazed at how bad accountants are at math. They are fine with adding and subtracting, but pretty much anything else is often over their heads. Very few accountants that I have ever known would have been able to cut it as a math/stats/engineering major much less be able to pass actuarial exams.

Dismal Science
10-22-2010, 10:45 AM
Higher barriers to entry

/thread

ditkaworshipper
10-22-2010, 11:18 AM
Less people are capable of doing actuarial work than accounting work. Truth is, not many people can manipulate numbers at the level necessary to do actuarial work, but accounting is pretty easy on that front. I thank God every day for giving me this highly marketable talent.

SpaceActuary
10-22-2010, 12:27 PM
Accountants add and subtract.

Actuaries have to know how to multiply and divide, too.

Enough Exams Already
10-22-2010, 12:34 PM
yeah, my point was that the AICPA has farmed out the educational component of their profession to third parties. That basically sez "we don't really value attracting the best and the brightest to our profession."

But simply having an accounting degree does not entitle someone to stick "CPA" after their name. So while certain college credits are required to sit for the CPA exam, you still have to pass the AICPA's exam.

Hugh Jass
10-22-2010, 12:37 PM
But simply having an accounting degree does not entitle someone to stick "CPA" after their name. So while certain college credits are required to sit for the CPA exam, you still have to pass the AICPA's exam.

big whoop. actuaries have to sit for many exams.

oedipus rex
10-22-2010, 12:47 PM
because an actuary actually knows what the word "variance" means.

Paul Blart
10-22-2010, 12:48 PM
Actuaries can also get their neighbors to pay for half of the fence.

GargoyleWaiting
10-22-2010, 12:51 PM
Actuaries can also get their neighbors to pay for half of the fence.

Surely accountants should be paid more then? Having to pay for whole fences.
More if they live next to an actuary.

Paul Blart
10-22-2010, 12:53 PM
Surely accountants should be paid more then? Having to pay for whole fences.
More if they live next to an actuary.

Why should they be paid more for being lousy negotiators?

Chuck
10-22-2010, 12:59 PM
Generally speaking, actuaries need to be more comfortable dealing with ambiguity. That is really hard for many people.

KingWithoutACrown
10-22-2010, 01:01 PM
Universities don't accredit accountants; the AICPA does. And there's a big difference between accountants and bookkeepers, of which there are audits and audits.

OP, actuaries make more on average than accountants for basic economic reasons: there are more accountants for the accounting jobs available than there are actuaries for the actuarial jobs available.

Right on the money.

I have worked in both fields, audit and actuarial. The CPA exam isn't a joke, but its not nearly as a lengthy process as just getting the ASA. The amount of studying for the CPA is probably as much as for the first two exams. CPA is not a math exam at all, so different skill sets, blah bah.

Paul Blart
10-22-2010, 01:03 PM
Generally speaking, actuaries need to be more comfortable dealing with ambiguity. That is really hard for many people.

Very true! Nice meeting you in NYC btw.

actexp
10-22-2010, 01:19 PM
combination of technical abilities often accompanied by being successful as a businessperson and/or manager, with fairly broad knowledge of varying aspects of insurance company operations. and, of course, the relatively limited number who become credentialled, due to the exam process....

tenthring
10-22-2010, 01:48 PM
Actuaries are smarter then accountants.

Actuarial work requires more skill then accounting work.

The barrier of entry to actuarial work is higher then in accounting.

General Apathy
10-22-2010, 01:49 PM
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_ebUbp_TZOIc/S0EosXIu10I/AAAAAAAAA9Y/Zl3FkhuG4Nc/s400/risk-management-actuaries-help.jpg

Hydraskull
10-22-2010, 02:02 PM
It's because an FSA is directly comparable to a PhD, in ANY field. PhDs make a lot of money, therefore so should actuaries.

Q.E.D.

silverfox
10-22-2010, 02:15 PM
Government requires that we sign off on things.

ElDucky
10-22-2010, 02:20 PM
Because actuaries made up the word actuary, so they also decided that a high salary should go with the new made up term.

homeys66
10-22-2010, 02:52 PM
Not sure of the basic assumption, but if you were a bookie, would you rather have someone that can tell how much you made last year, or someone that can tell you how to set your odds so you can maximize how much you make next year?

deathfrombelow
10-22-2010, 03:06 PM
Not sure of the basic assumption, but if you were a bookie, would you rather have someone that can tell how much you made last year, or someone that can tell you how to set your odds so you can maximize how much you make next year?

If actuaries could do this, then we'd spend our time beating bookies instead of twiddling with spreadsheets and fighting over why we're better than accountants. I'm gonna agree with the people who say it all boils down to barriers to entry.

tenthring
10-22-2010, 03:08 PM
If actuaries could do this, then we'd spend our time beating bookies instead of twiddling with spreadsheets and fighting over why we're better than accountants. I'm gonna agree with the people who say it all boils down to barriers to entry.

Its not just barriers to entry. I deal with both all the time, and its obvious actuaries are smarter then accountants.

Neither is anything to write home about.

deathfrombelow
10-22-2010, 03:13 PM
Its not just barriers to entry. I deal with both all the time, and its obvious actuaries are smarter then accountants.

Neither is anything to write home about.

Hah! Ok, I'll agree with you that neither is anything to write home about. Let the countdown to the CAS trolls talking trash about the SOA in this thread begin!

Chronus
10-22-2010, 03:22 PM
Because actuaries made up the word actuary, so they also decided that a high salary should go with the new made up term.

Shhh, don't tell everyone that. We want to keep our big salaries.

The Obese Dog
10-22-2010, 03:38 PM
Hah! Ok, I'll agree with you that neither is anything to write home about. Let the countdown to the CAS trolls talking trash about the SOA in this thread begin!

Obtaining FSA is as hard as CPA. Obtaining FCAS is so impossibly hard that almost no one can do it. Also, FCAS sleep with more girls, make more money, are smarter, and are more awesome in every way imaginable.

When I think of car insurance, I think "balla"
When I think of life insurance, I go "meh"

Also, the SOA is horrible.

sideout1212
10-22-2010, 03:38 PM
Actuaries and accountants aren't that different in terms of ability. A decent accountant could have been an actuary, a decent actuary could have been an accountant.

As far as I can tell, actuaries get paid more because the head actuary makes more important decisions than the head accountant. Therefore the head actuary is paid more than the head accountant.
Everything else just trickles down through the ranks so an actuary gets paid more than an accountant of equivalent ability/experience.

Aren't most "head accountants" the CFO? They make more than the Chief Actuary in most cases. I think your postulate is wrong.

sideout1212
10-22-2010, 03:41 PM
Actuaries are smarter then accountants.

Actuarial work requires more skill then accounting work.

The barrier of entry to actuarial work is higher then in accounting.

Maybe learn the difference between then and than before you go talking trash.

ElDucky
10-22-2010, 03:43 PM
Ya, your definately a moran!

Hugh Jass
10-22-2010, 03:44 PM
I wonder if all the super-sensitive people on here defending accountants are either failed actuaries who went that route or if their dads were accountants or something.

sideout1212
10-22-2010, 03:44 PM
Its not just barriers to entry. I deal with both all the time, and its obvious actuaries are smarter then accountants.

Neither is anything to write home about.

ditto my previous post.

Hugh Jass
10-22-2010, 03:45 PM
Maybe learn the difference between then and than before you go talking trash.

lol

does his missuse of the word detract in anyway the point he was trying to make? I mean, you still understood what he was trying to say, right?

ACCtuary
10-22-2010, 03:49 PM
I might also add that accountants are minted by various universities, pretty much. There is no good control over the quality of the syllabus or the student's comprehension or the material. This obviously has made this career more possible for people because let's face it, college is a joke.

We should all keep this lesson in mind whenever the FEM stuff comes up.

:iatp:

While I don't agree that college is a joke, there are enough colleges that are. That said, we've also dstructuring the exams poorly thereby giving FEM ideas more currency than they deserve just out of frustration. We really don't need the amount of interest theory we throw at people (and in fact, this emphasis has been reduced during the exam revision compared with the old 140 exam). I maintain that we are still a making several simple concepts seem hard, we discredit ourselves in the process.

But I still prefer our approach to the ASA fresh out of college approach.

Dismal Science
10-22-2010, 03:52 PM
My dad is an accountant...

deathfrombelow
10-22-2010, 03:59 PM
Obtaining FSA is as hard as CPA. Obtaining FCAS is so impossibly hard that almost no one can do it. Also, FCAS sleep with more girls, make more money, are smarter, and are more awesome in every way imaginable.

When I think of car insurance, I think "balla"
When I think of life insurance, I go "meh"

Also, the SOA is horrible.

Don't forget about GLM's...you guys rawk so hard!

sideout1212
10-22-2010, 04:01 PM
lol

does his missuse of the word detract in anyway the point he was trying to make? I mean, you still understood what he was trying to say, right?

Well, when you are talking smack about intelligence, yeah, it kind of kills your message to misuse some simple words.

Hugh Jass
10-22-2010, 04:04 PM
Well, when you are talking smack about intelligence, yeah, it kind of kills your message to misuse some simple words.

meh, everyone makes some spelling mistakes now and then. It's not like he used the word "irregardless" or something.

ditkaworshipper
10-22-2010, 04:06 PM
I wonder if all the super-sensitive people on here defending accountants are either failed actuaries who went that route or if their dads were accountants or something.
Well, truth is accountants can make a lot of money, but it isn't with accounting. I have some CPAs in my family who are now CEOs and make more than most chief actuaries. So, the top CPAs, in my experience, make more than the top actuaries. However, this is not through accounting, but through leveraging their experience at big 4 companies into executive roles. I think a fair comparison for actuaries and salary/career track would be big 4 accountants actually, which is saying that we are similar to the top 5% of accountants, maybe slightly lower, in terms of salary and level of management. We're more restricted in our industry though.

tenthring
10-22-2010, 04:06 PM
Aren't most "head accountants" the CFO? They make more than the Chief Actuary in most cases. I think your postulate is wrong.

While there may be some accountant CFOs, I definitely think MBA when I think CFO.

deathfrombelow
10-22-2010, 04:10 PM
While there may be some accountant CFOs, I definitely think MBA when I think CFO.

The intersection of those two sets (CPA and MBA) is most assuredly non-empty.

sideout1212
10-22-2010, 05:12 PM
meh, everyone makes some spelling mistakes now and then. It's not like he used the word "irregardless" or something.

Repetitive misuse is not a spelling mistake. It is about equivalent to someone typing "YOUR DUMB". You have to be more careful when talking smack to not come off like an idiot yourself.

limabeanactuary
10-22-2010, 05:20 PM
Higher barriers to entry

/thread

High barriers do only so much. Needs to be a demand for the service as well.

And if the barriers to entry are artificial, eventually you will be routed around (e.g. outsourcing, automation).

Loner
10-22-2010, 05:35 PM
Accountants add and subtract.

Actuaries have to know how to multiply and divide, too.

And don't forget raising numbers to fractional powers. That's key, and what a LOT of people can't wrap their heads around.

nonlnear
10-22-2010, 05:41 PM
And don't forget raising numbers to fractional powers. That's key, and what a LOT of people can't wrap their heads around.
Even lots of people who think they can wrap their heads around fractional powers can't really wrap their heads around the whole picture, what with the complex solutions and all...:geek:

The Borg
10-22-2010, 05:41 PM
I am struggling to understand why actuaries get paid more than accountants for example.

I need to know about what they actually do and why they are paid well. Are they not just people who do the technical/numbers side of things? What is it in their job that is difficult/high responsibilty that earns them the elite salary?

Actuaries are involved in designing, implementing, managing, and monitoring products over the entire lifetime of the product in order to meet future promises made and protect the reputation of the company/industry. Accountants only gather the product's transactions for various reporting platforms for a particular point in time. That is, accountants don't tell you if you can meet future promises or need to design/modify/terminate a product, they only tell you that the transactions gathered are in the reporting platform's format for a particular date.

deathfrombelow
10-22-2010, 05:58 PM
High barriers do only so much. Needs to be a demand for the service as well.

And if the barriers to entry are artificial, eventually you will be routed around (e.g. outsourcing, automation).

What makes you think this ISN'T happening right now? I'm not so sure that in the future, there won't be significant outsourcing in the field. What do you think (I know there are other threads on this)?

FormLetter
10-22-2010, 06:13 PM
Actuarial work means:
Knowing how to identify the data needed, the data at hand, the gaps between, the likely effects on results given the gaps between, how to adapt all of that to the issues at hand, and how to use math to move from that point to a practical solution that can be employed in a real business situation and communicated to the relevant decision-makers, internal customers, external customers, and regulators.

Accounting work means:
Adding up things that happened, often in a number of different buckets.

limabeanactuary
10-22-2010, 06:39 PM
What makes you think this ISN'T happening right now? I'm not so sure that in the future, there won't be significant outsourcing in the field. What do you think (I know there are other threads on this)?

We have other threads on this, but wondered what you're thinking of as actuarial work being outsourced/automated.

I've done the automation stuff myself. I have learned the danger of bringing in outside consultants on anything other than very well-defined tasks.

Hero3128
10-22-2010, 06:47 PM
Even lots of people who think they can wrap their heads around fractional powers can't really wrap their heads around the whole picture, what with the complex solutions and all...:geek:

What about complex powers? Many a mind has been blown upon learning that e^(pi*i)+1=0.

nonlnear
10-22-2010, 06:59 PM
What about complex powers? Many a mind has been blown upon learning that e^(pi*i)+1=0.It's a beautiful result, but I still prefer learning the result of integrating around Europe.

LifeSucks
10-22-2010, 07:28 PM
Idiotic entry barrier.
Do away with the exams, companies soon will realize that there are plenty people out there capable of doing the work AND not full of themselves like actuaries.

Interesting that you guys compare yourselves with accountants, not with profession that require some skills and brain power, like software engineers.
Well, let's just say that the day I moved to IT was one of the best days of my life.

ElDucky
10-22-2010, 07:30 PM
Well, let's just say that the day I moved to IT was one of the best days of my life.

Ya, but your life sucks.

Buru Buru
10-22-2010, 08:12 PM
actuaries don't make that much money as compared to others in nyc. when people say actuaries are highly paid, that sounds kind of like a joke to me. just not true at all here.

JuicyJuice
10-22-2010, 08:16 PM
actuaries don't make that much money as compared to others in nyc. when people say actuaries are highly paid, that sounds kind of like a joke to me. just not true at all here.

high is a relative term. if you compare actuarial salary to median household income, actuaries are highly paid.

remilard
10-22-2010, 08:17 PM
What makes you think this ISN'T happening right now? I'm not so sure that in the future, there won't be significant outsourcing in the field. What do you think (I know there are other threads on this)?

Analyst type work (not that some FSAs don't do that) can be outsourced.

Given that every European company wants to hire about 50 qualified actuaries today, I am guessing it isn't that easy to outsource real actuarial work.

The President
10-22-2010, 08:18 PM
Idiotic entry barrier.
Do away with the exams, companies soon will realize that there are plenty people out there capable of doing the work AND not full of themselves like actuaries.

Interesting that you guys compare yourselves with accountants, not with profession that require some skills and brain power, like software engineers.
Well, let's just say that the day I moved to IT was one of the best days of my life.
:rofl:

PhildeTruth
10-22-2010, 09:01 PM
high is a relative term. if you compare actuarial salary to median household income, actuaries are highly paid.

It is retarded to compare against median household income. Actuaries have a relatively stressful career that no one wants to do. So they make decent middle class money. Actuaries aren't highly paid.

The President
10-22-2010, 10:21 PM
It is retarded to compare against median household income. Actuaries have a relatively stressful career that no one wants to do. So they make decent middle class money. Actuaries aren't highly paid.
We are certainly towards the upper ends of middle class. 95th percentile incomes are easily achieveable. You can't say that about many other professions. And you can do that on a McValue college education.

The big drawback is that the opportunities for a truly talented actuary to become wealthy are very few.

The President
10-22-2010, 10:24 PM
What makes you think this ISN'T happening right now? I'm not so sure that in the future, there won't be significant outsourcing in the field. What do you think (I know there are other threads on this)?
Most actuarial jobs are too specialized to be oursourced.

remilard
10-22-2010, 10:29 PM
It is retarded to compare against median household income. Actuaries have a relatively stressful career that no one wants to do. So they make decent middle class money. Actuaries aren't highly paid.

Maybe you should make managing partner money before you rub our faces in it?

I'll buy you dinner January 1 after the year you make more than me.

PhildeTruth
10-22-2010, 10:42 PM
We are certainly towards the upper ends of middle class. 95th percentile incomes are easily achieveable. You can't say that about many other professions. And you can do that on a McValue college education.

The big drawback is that the opportunities for a truly talented actuary to become wealthy are very few.

The average American can run a mile in twelve minutes. Stop comparing yourself to such a low standard.

PhildeTruth
10-22-2010, 10:45 PM
Maybe you should make managing partner money before you rub our faces in it?

I'll buy you dinner January 1 after the year you make more than me.

Lol. "Shoot the messenger".

When you step out of Podunk you'll get some perspective.

deathfrombelow
10-22-2010, 11:02 PM
Most actuarial jobs are too specialized to be oursourced.

That there are SOME positions that can't be outsourced is certain. All I'm saying is that there is plenty of room in alot of departments for work to move elsewhere.

You're kidding yourself if you think people in other parts of the world aren't AT LEAST as technically sophisticated as the locals. Keep a few locals to cut the problems into chunks, and I certainly think alot of our work could be outsourced.

Buru Buru
10-22-2010, 11:04 PM
That there are SOME positions that can't be outsourced is certain. All I'm saying is that there is plenty of room in alot of departments for work to move elsewhere.

You're kidding yourself if you think people in other parts of the world aren't AT LEAST as technically sophisticated as the locals. Keep a few locals to cut the problems into chunks, and I certainly think alot of our work could be outsourced.
lots of the pension actuarial jobs are going to processing centers where the work is done by non-actuaries. can't speak for other types of actuarial jobs.

deathfrombelow
10-22-2010, 11:35 PM
lots of the pension actuarial jobs are going to processing centers where the work is done by non-actuaries. can't speak for other types of actuarial jobs.

Since everyone loves to dump on pension, I'm sure the CAS people will say "that'll never happen to us". Let's remember that poem about them coming for the Communists first....

ElDucky
10-22-2010, 11:39 PM
Most of the pension work outsourced was admin, and a lot of that didn't go so well.

tenthring
10-22-2010, 11:43 PM
It is retarded to compare against median household income. Actuaries have a relatively stressful career that no one wants to do. So they make decent middle class money. Actuaries aren't highly paid.

"relatively stressful"?

This is the easiest most relaxing job I've ever had.

Its relatively boring compared to many other jobs, but not any more boring then most math based jobs. Unless you are a talented performer, athlete, are born with a lot of capital, or get lucky most any job that pays six figures tends to be either a little boring or a ton of hours/stress/risk.

Most American's don't want to do math or take tests, so we get compensated a lot better then the stress or workload of the actual job implies, IMO. If you are naturally gifted in math this is a pretty sweet career.

PhildeTruth
10-22-2010, 11:51 PM
"relatively stressful"?

This is the easiest most relaxing job I've ever had.

Its relatively boring compared to many other jobs, but not any more boring then most math based jobs. Unless you are a talented performer, athlete, are born with a lot of capital, or get lucky most any job that pays six figures tends to be either a little boring or a ton of hours/stress/risk.

Most American's don't want to do math or take tests, so we get compensated a lot better then the stress or workload of the actual job implies, IMO. If you are naturally gifted in math this is a pretty sweet career.

Ahhh, I see how this works. We compare income against the general population, but stress levels against investment banking at JP Morgan.

ElDucky
10-22-2010, 11:59 PM
I have to give Phil a trolling grade of B- for this thread.

the BS method
10-22-2010, 11:59 PM
Ahhh, I see how this works. We compare income against the general population, but stress levels against investment banking at JP Morgan.

and you're saying that income vs income & stress vs stress the ibanker wins out?

do you think that anyone with the talent &/or opportunity to be an ibanker will do that?

Buru Buru
10-23-2010, 12:04 AM
Most of the pension work outsourced was admin, and a lot of that didn't go so well.

no, the pension valuations were sent to these processing centers too. from what i hear of mercer, all of their valuations are done in processing centers.

PhildeTruth
10-23-2010, 12:26 AM
and you're saying that income vs income & stress vs stress the ibanker wins out?
What I'm saying is that actuary isn't even in the equation. People from top schools aren't going into the actuarial profession, and if they do, the majority of the time it's because they are socially inept.


do you think that anyone with the talent &/or opportunity to be an ibanker will do that?

No. There are many industries out there where money can be made.

the BS method
10-23-2010, 12:33 AM
What I'm saying is that actuary isn't even in the equation. People from top schools aren't going into the actuarial profession, and if they do, the majority of the time it's because they are socially inept.



No. There are many industries out there where money can be made.

but, more generally, you're saying that pursuit of money forsakes all else?

PhildeTruth
10-23-2010, 12:49 AM
but, more generally, you're saying that pursuit of money forsakes all else?

Of course not. Look man, actuary is a nice middle class life for 40-50 hours a week.

And for all those talented folks who pursue interests over money, the insurance industry is the last place they send their resume.

the BS method
10-23-2010, 01:02 AM
Of course not. Look man, actuary is a nice middle class life for 40-50 hours a week.

And for all those talented folks who pursue interests over money, the insurance industry is the last place they send their resume.

ok. i basically agree there.

FMbrah
10-23-2010, 01:51 AM
It is retarded to compare against median household income. Actuaries have a relatively stressful career that no one wants to do. So they make decent middle class money. Actuaries aren't highly paid.

According to the DWS survey:

An ASA with 4.5-6.5 years experience makes 84k-116k, and ACAS makes 90k-132k.

So if you graduate and start working at 22, after 6.5 years of experience you will be 28.5 years old. Since when is a 6 figure job in your twenties not considered high pay?

*This post assumes that the DWS figures are not BS*

Paul Blart
10-23-2010, 02:14 AM
*This post assumes that the DWS figures are not BS*

Given my years of experience and credentials, the DWS figures do not appear to be BS.

tenthring
10-23-2010, 02:34 AM
Of course not. Look man, actuary is a nice middle class life for 40-50 hours a week.

And for all those talented folks who pursue interests over money, the insurance industry is the last place they send their resume.

Talent takes a lot of forms. Some people have talent in things that most of us consider very interesting. They can perform, play a sport, or some other such thing that would be considered "cool". But those often require physical gifts many people aren't born with, and the % of the population that can be successful in those arenas is very small.

Others are born into situations of wealth, and they can afford to pursue other fulfilling jobs without specific talents. Work for charities or non-profits. Running a business. Academic leaning jobs. What have you. Not everyone has that opportunity though.

Some have very good social skills. They can make it as salesmen, pitchmen, etc. This can be enjoyable for some, depending on the personality.

So lets say your just generically smart. You have decent math and logic skills and are just average in charisma. Also, you are not independently wealthy. What careers can you enter.

1) Doctor
2) Lawyer
3) Engineer/Programmer
4) IB/Finance
5) Actuary

1) Can be pretty nice. Pays well, lots of prestige, and very fulfilling. The downside is the very long period of schooling. Look forward to a decade of schooling and huge loans. Also, if you want to be a surgeon you need a certain level of physical coordination. This is certainly a nice path but you can see the drawbacks.

2) Shares many of the benefits of above but with a bit less prestige. Also, the most well compensated positions tend to be the least ethical and/or most boring (think corporate tax law). Long expensive schooling but not as bad as #1. Like #1 requires certain specific skills, in this case charisma and speaking skill.

3) Of all the options this is the one that I think can be the most obviously better. It requires no special skills or expensive schooling. It depends how your career goes. If you are a top engineer working on something interesting its great. Being a google employee is great. If it doesn't work out so well it can be worse then being an actuary. My friend who went down this route experienced both. Early in his career he had a terrible job and couldn't break out. Now he's finally found a very fulfilling and rewarding one. The variance is a bit higher then actuarial work both in compensation and how interesting the work is.

4) IB compensates extremely well and has mixed prestige. The lifestyle is terrible though and the ethics tend to be downright putrid. I found it more exciting but less fulfilling.

unnamed
10-23-2010, 03:33 AM
Talent takes a lot of forms. Some people have talent in things that most of us consider very interesting. They can perform, play a sport, or some other such thing that would be considered "cool". But those often require physical gifts many people aren't born with, and the % of the population that can be successful in those arenas is very small.

Others are born into situations of wealth, and they can afford to pursue other fulfilling jobs without specific talents. Work for charities or non-profits. Running a business. Academic leaning jobs. What have you. Not everyone has that opportunity though.

Some have very good social skills. They can make it as salesmen, pitchmen, etc. This can be enjoyable for some, depending on the personality.

So lets say your just generically smart. You have decent math and logic skills and are just average in charisma. Also, you are not independently wealthy. What careers can you enter.

1) Doctor
2) Lawyer
3) Engineer/Programmer
4) IB/Finance
5) Actuary

1) Can be pretty nice. Pays well, lots of prestige, and very fulfilling. The downside is the very long period of schooling. Look forward to a decade of schooling and huge loans. Also, if you want to be a surgeon you need a certain level of physical coordination. This is certainly a nice path but you can see the drawbacks.

2) Shares many of the benefits of above but with a bit less prestige. Also, the most well compensated positions tend to be the least ethical and/or most boring (think corporate tax law). Long expensive schooling but not as bad as #1. Like #1 requires certain specific skills, in this case charisma and speaking skill.

3) Of all the options this is the one that I think can be the most obviously better. It requires no special skills or expensive schooling. It depends how your career goes. If you are a top engineer working on something interesting its great. Being a google employee is great. If it doesn't work out so well it can be worse then being an actuary. My friend who went down this route experienced both. Early in his career he had a terrible job and couldn't break out. Now he's finally found a very fulfilling and rewarding one. The variance is a bit higher then actuarial work both in compensation and how interesting the work is.

4) IB compensates extremely well and has mixed prestige. The lifestyle is terrible though and the ethics tend to be downright putrid. I found it more exciting but less fulfilling.

...........Where is 5)?

The President
10-23-2010, 07:18 AM
The average American can run a mile in twelve minutes. Stop comparing yourself to such a low standard.
What should I be comparing to? Take doctors, lawyers, and other well paid professions, and we get to roughly the same place without a mountain of college debt. Having a few hundred K in savings by the time you are 30 vs a few hundred K in debt is pretty important.

Yeah, we don't make big shot Sheba money, but let me know which profession you go into and expect to be making that with any level of confidence. That takes some combination of exceptional skill, the right connections, being in the right place to take advantage of an opportunity, etc.

limabeanactuary
10-23-2010, 09:01 AM
It's a beautiful result, but I still prefer learning the result of integrating around Europe.

I don't think the (simple) Poles are really that removable.

limabeanactuary
10-23-2010, 09:07 AM
I find the math in the job to be easy.

Dealing with people is difficult. Managing expectations is difficult. And then there is the inherent uncertainty in the business world.

So while I keep trying to lure my friends still in academia to the Dark Side (TM), I can understand why they might find it more pleasant to deal with undergrads and fellow faculty. Though the uncertainty aspect is creeping into academia as well, as many may be stuck in adjunct job after adjunct job.

The thing I enjoy about being in the business world as opposed to the academic one (other than failing at the second. yay) is that people really care about my results now.

PhildeTruth
10-23-2010, 10:57 AM
According to the DWS survey:

An ASA with 4.5-6.5 years experience makes 84k-116k, and ACAS makes 90k-132k.

So if you graduate and start working at 22, after 6.5 years of experience you will be 28.5 years old. Since when is a 6 figure job in your twenties not considered high pay?

*This post assumes that the DWS figures are not BS*

I know plenty of accountants at six figures by 25. And I came from a mediocre school.

PhildeTruth
10-23-2010, 11:06 AM
That takes some combination of exceptional skill, the right connections, being in the right place to take advantage of an opportunity, etc.

Duh. I'm not saying anyone can choose to have a high income just by switching their career choice.

You claim that actuaries have a 95th percentile income, convert that to height, and you are like 6'1 or 6'2. Actuaries on here act like they are 7 feet.

I'm 6'2, and I played point guard in high school. Put it in perspective.

Wigmeister General
10-23-2010, 11:55 AM
You all have it wrong. We are riding the coattails of our predecessors ... just as Beethoven rode Mozart's coattails. If not for certain credentialed actuaries from a generation ago, we would all be making chicken-feed (except me, of course ;))

cali_boy
10-23-2010, 12:34 PM
You all have it wrong. We are riding the coattails of our predecessors ... just as Beethoven rode Mozart's coattails. If not for certain credentialed actuaries from a generation ago, we would all be making chicken-feed (except me, of course ;))

Do you believe that the salary of the average credentialed actuaries would make less money than now? (after inflation adjusted)

For example, if a senior level with 10 years of experience makes 130k now, would he make the same if he was in 2020 or 2030?

PhildeTruth
10-23-2010, 01:11 PM
Do you believe that the salary of the average credentialed actuaries would make less money than now? (after inflation adjusted)

For example, if a senior level with 10 years of experience makes 130k now, would he make the same if he was in 2020 or 2030?

Ladies and gentleman.

I bring to you.

The best and the brightest of America.

the BS method
10-23-2010, 01:18 PM
Why Are Actuaries paid very well?

Actuaries don't have elite salaries.

phil, i'm pretty sure you know what's going on here.

your original response, in context to the OP, was implying that actuaries aren't paid "very well."

the question is coming from the average joe. compared to the average joe, actuaries are paid "very well" and you could even consider it "elite."

a 35 y/o FCAS with some social skill makes more than 200k a year.


you are pretty damn good a trolling because you make damn good points, but you also have this ridiculous ability to gradually sway an argument into something that it originally wasnt.


i dont even know why im responding to this. the people that are really biting probably deserve it

PhildeTruth
10-23-2010, 01:31 PM
Actuaries don't have elite salaries. On average they make more than accountants because the average accountant is dumb.

phil, i'm pretty sure you know what's going on here.

your original response, in context to the OP, was implying that actuaries aren't paid "very well."


Check the original post.

I am struggling to understand why actuaries get paid more than accountants for example.

I need to know about what they actually do and why they are paid well. Are they not just people who do the technical/numbers side of things? What is it in their job that is difficult/high responsibilty that earns them the elite salary?

SirVLCIV
10-23-2010, 01:34 PM
The average American can run a mile in twelve minutes.

I'll call BS on this. The average American can not run a mile.

PhildeTruth
10-23-2010, 01:53 PM
I'll call BS on this. The average American can not run a mile.

Do you think this is across all ages? Or is there a age range where an average individual could get through a mile in twelve minutes?

I've been banned before for saying 5.0 on treadmill isn't running, so I don't want to go there.

ElDucky
10-23-2010, 02:10 PM
The average American has one testicle and one ovary.

the BS method
10-23-2010, 02:11 PM
Check the original post.

so you think the OP was asking why actuaries make 7 figures?

PhildeTruth
10-23-2010, 02:28 PM
so you think the OP was asking why actuaries make 7 figures?

I think the OP is most likely in college and has no idea what an "elite" salary is.

Folks in college sometimes think 60k a year is rich, until they receive their first paycheck and start paying rent.

The President
10-23-2010, 03:22 PM
You claim that actuaries have a 95th percentile income, convert that to height, and you are like 6'1 or 6'2. Actuaries on here act like they are 7 feet.

Well, that 95th percentile is more like an average for a credentialed actuary. That's pretty good for a profession that doesn't require anything near a 95th percentile edumacation (college that is).

General Apathy
10-23-2010, 04:03 PM
I know plenty of accountants at six figures by 25. And I came from a mediocre school.

This is bullshit. It is very difficult to make 6 figures as an accountant at 25.

Also I doubt your school was even mediocre

PhildeTruth
10-23-2010, 04:14 PM
This is bullshit. It is very difficult to make 6 figures as an accountant at 25.

Also I doubt your school was even mediocre

I thought so too, until I stopped listening to the actuarial zealots on this forum.

General Apathy
10-23-2010, 04:21 PM
You are making things up at this point. You may know an accountant that makes 100k at age 25 but it is exceedingly rare.

the BS method
10-23-2010, 04:26 PM
CPA during undergrad + big 4 public accounting is around 80k at 25. that's definitely already upper echelon.

jprep
10-23-2010, 04:29 PM
You are making things up at this point. You may know an accountant that makes 100k at age 25 but it is exceedingly rare.

There we go. Now we're starting to put expected values in the mix, not just maxima and minima. Go actuarial knowledge!

It's a crapshot when you're an accountant, for the most part. There are plenty of people who want to get to the top who are accountants now, but they won't because of people politics and such at work. At least with the actuarial exams, we aren't as subject to people politics as far as advancement goes. At least until a certain point, that is.

Analyzing risk, actuarial is a safe bet if you want to come out upper middle class. Phil I believe you said that if an actuary doesn't take exams, they gain none of the distinct advantages of the profession, while perhaps keeping some of the disadvantages of every other finance-type job.

PhildeTruth
10-23-2010, 04:32 PM
CPA during undergrad + big 4 public accounting is around 80k at 25. that's definitely already upper echelon.

Just about everyone at my school who was an accounting major got Big 4. If you didn't get it, it was like, "what happened?"

Big 4 has exit opps. My accounting friends that started at Big 4 aren't there now.

the BS method
10-23-2010, 04:34 PM
a hardworking accountant can make just as much as an actuary.

promotion in public accounting is pretty boiler plate, and starting up your own shop can pay exceedingly well.

these people probably work more than an actuary, though.

Buru Buru
10-23-2010, 04:34 PM
There we go. Now we're starting to put expected values in the mix, not just maxima and minima. Go actuarial knowledge!

It's a crapshot when you're an accountant, for the most part. There are plenty of people who want to get to the top who are accountants now, but they won't because of people politics and such at work. At least with the actuarial exams, we aren't as subject to people politics as far as advancement goes. At least until a certain point, that is.

Analyzing risk, actuarial is a safe bet if you want to come out upper middle class. Phil I believe you said that if an actuary doesn't take exams, they gain none of the distinct advantages of the profession, while perhaps keeping some of the disadvantages of every other finance-type job.

Politics are everywhere, even in the actuarial world. It's not a crapshot for accountants any more than it is for actuaries. Being competent at your job actually does count for something as an accountant. While there are plenty of people who want to get to the top of both worlds, there are also more accounting jobs in existence than actuarial jobs.

Buru Buru
10-23-2010, 04:35 PM
Just about everyone at my school who was an accounting major got Big 4. If you didn't get it, it was like, "what happened?"

Big 4 has exit opps. My accounting friends that started at Big 4 aren't there now.

My sister is an accountant and pretty much all her friends started with the big 4 too.

the BS method
10-23-2010, 04:35 PM
Just about everyone at my school who was an accounting major got Big 4. If you didn't get it, it was like, "what happened?"

Big 4 has exit opps. My accounting friends that started at Big 4 aren't there now.

yeah, that's pretty typical.

accounting jobs are also way easier to come by than actuarial.

my brother gets several offers a year to move around. he audits hedge funds right now, and it's not terribly uncommon to get an offer from those clients if they like you.

Buru Buru
10-23-2010, 04:36 PM
a hardworking accountant can make just as much as an actuary.

promotion in public accounting is pretty boiler plate, and starting up your own shop can pay exceedingly well.

these people probably work more than an actuary, though.

i'm not convinced that they work more. depends on the actuarial field. the pension actuaries i know who got to the top worked pretty damn hard for it.

the BS method
10-23-2010, 04:44 PM
the busy season is pretty god awful.

you could be right though

Buru Buru
10-23-2010, 04:45 PM
the busy season is pretty god awful.

you could be right though
yeah, if you just consider accountants who stay at the big 4, it does sound awful. most of them don't though and there are too many different companies and types of jobs for accountants to make a fair comparison. most stay at the big 4 for a few years and then move on.

Candidus
10-23-2010, 05:11 PM
Idiotic entry barrier.
Interesting that you guys compare yourselves with accountants, not with profession that require some skills and brain power, like software engineers.
Well, let's just say that the day I moved to IT was one of the best days of my life.

Software engineering requires more abstract intellectual effort, involves higher stress (any actuaries here every get paged because your GLMs crashed at 3 AM?), lower respect, and much, much less job security. Add that a senior software engineer makes less than a newly minted FCAS, and then ask yourself, who's smarter, an actuary or a software engineer? Well, let's just say that the day I move to acuarial will be one of the best days of my life.

Bitter? What makes you say that?

limabeanactuary
10-24-2010, 10:32 AM
So nobody has been looking at actual income distribution in the U.S. yet? What the hell have y'all been comparing things to?

Here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_income_in_the_United_States


It doesn't slice it as fine as I'd like (it includes the unemployed, of course), not sure if it includes transfer payments (e.g. welfare), blah blah blah.

But if you look for the slice of 25-64-yr-olds, those making over 100K is the top 6.8%. That's not 95th percentile, but it's pretty damn close.

Now if you want to compare credentialed actuarial salary distributions against CPA distributions, let's do so, but so far all I've been seeing are guesses from personal experience or generic reasoning.

There are websites claiming to have percentiles for various professions, etc., (example: http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Certified_Public_Accountant_(CPA)/Salary ) but I'm not sure how much to trust them.

Buru Buru
10-24-2010, 10:58 AM
So nobody has been looking at actual income distribution in the U.S. yet? What the hell have y'all been comparing things to?

Here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_income_in_the_United_States


It doesn't slice it as fine as I'd like (it includes the unemployed, of course), not sure if it includes transfer payments (e.g. welfare), blah blah blah.

But if you look for the slice of 25-64-yr-olds, those making over 100K is the top 6.8%. That's not 95th percentile, but it's pretty damn close.

Now if you want to compare credentialed actuarial salary distributions against CPA distributions, let's do so, but so far all I've been seeing are guesses from personal experience or generic reasoning.

There are websites claiming to have percentiles for various professions, etc., (example: http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Certified_Public_Accountant_(CPA)/Salary (http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Certified_Public_Accountant_%28CPA%29/Salary) ) but I'm not sure how much to trust them.

Yeah, I suppose if you consider the entire U.S. that makes sense, but if you weight it for where actuaries actually work, it might not be so high. If you just consider Manhattan below Harlem which is really the only place I care about, top 6.8% isn't even close.

The President
10-24-2010, 11:16 AM
Yeah, I suppose if you consider the entire U.S. that makes sense, but if you weight it for where actuaries actually work, it might not be so high. If you just consider Manhattan below Harlem which is really the only place I care about, top 6.8% isn't even close.
Yeah, if you only consider people who make 6 figures or more, those making 125K aren't anywhere near the top 5%...

studentnel
10-24-2010, 11:18 AM
Actually, accountants get paid more... just that "accountant" is a broad term that includes both someone at the big 4 and someone who's your local taxkeeper.

If you count ONLY people at Big 4... their average salary is possibly higher than actuaries... if not, the top 10% of accountants > the top 10% of actuaries.

There's simply MORE jobs for accountants than actuaries.

A MAJOR actuarial employer has what? 1000 actuaries? Guess how many accountants does PWC have?

I'm guessing a lot of insurance firms have more accountants than actuaries too.

Anonymouse
10-24-2010, 11:34 AM
Idiotic entry barrier.
Do away with the exams, companies soon will realize that there are plenty people out there capable of doing the work AND not full of themselves like actuaries.

Huh? I've met plenty of people who have passed one of the first few exams that I wouldn't trust to do the work.

dukelampard
10-24-2010, 11:57 AM
Do you believe that the salary of the average credentialed actuaries would make less money than now? (after inflation adjusted)

For example, if a senior level with 10 years of experience makes 130k now, would he make the same if he was in 2020 or 2030?

huh?

Straight From My Id
10-24-2010, 12:29 PM
I wonder if other professions spend this much time worrying about whose (intellect, salary, exam difficulty) is bigger? I suspect not. This (field, internet site) seems to attract a lot of insecure people.

Buru Buru
10-24-2010, 12:42 PM
I wonder if other professions spend this much time worrying about whose (intellect, salary, exam difficulty) is bigger? I suspect not. This (field, internet site) seems to attract a lot of insecure people.

Well, there is no accountantoutpost that I know of and I would think that internet junkies might be less secure on average than the general population.

PhildeTruth
10-24-2010, 12:47 PM
You need to control any comparison between accountants and actuaries for intelligence and motivation.

Comparing averages or distributions of the general accountant distribution is extremely intellectually dishonest.

JuicyJuice
10-24-2010, 01:15 PM
I wonder if other professions spend this much time worrying about whose (intellect, salary, exam difficulty) is bigger? I suspect not. This (field, internet site) seems to attract a lot of insecure people.

I think the problem is that anyone who is on this board (assuming they can pass exams) could have also probably made it as an accountant. They need to justify to themselves, and others on this site, that they made the right decision. No one is comparing their salary to rock stars or politicians here.

LifeSucks
10-24-2010, 01:34 PM
lower respect

Respect? The value of my profession is equal to what I think about it, I don't care about what the rest of the population thinks about it.

Add that a senior software engineer makes less than a newly minted FCAS, and then ask yourself, who's smarter, an actuary or a software engineer?


How smart you are is not measured by what kind of job you get.
I've met plenty of actuaries I considered morons, most of them making over 100k, vast majority of programmers I've met were pretty smart, most of them making < 100k.

I always get frustrated discussing this, people don't seem to understand the pleasure you derive from your work should be the main criteria for choosing a job, not money.

Bitter? What makes you say that?

I am. Very. All the years wasted in actuarial departments...

limabeanactuary
10-24-2010, 01:55 PM
At this point, I've stopped caring about this comparison.

Why do y'all care?

Is this some status anxiety? Are you the type of people who see Bill Gates' wealth and say "Oh, but Carlos Slim blows him out of the water!"

I live next to people far wealthier than I am (unsurprising given most are much older than I am, and have had longer to accumulate said wealth). I love being around richer people, because I get to pick from their castoffs at the local consignment and thrift shops. (I picked up a complete SnapCircuits-100 kit for $3! Yeah! And the library kicks ass here, b/c there are few local charities and various rich North Salemites pour money into it.)

I'm not going to be the wealthiest/most high-income/smartest/best-dressed/whatever in any given local group here. But I don't care. I'm doing pretty well compared to most people throughout the world (and compared to the past), and more importantly, my family is rather comfortable with most of our needs fulfilled.

If you want to compare toys with Long Island schoolteachers or investment bankers or MBAs, at some point you're going to be dissatisfied.

And there's nothing written in stone that actuaries are going to remain at the current income distribution compared to the rest of the world. Or even accountants.

GuineaPig
10-24-2010, 02:02 PM
how is this thread still going? phil had the correct answer somewhere near the beginning.

Anonymouse
10-24-2010, 02:23 PM
I am. Very. All the years wasted in actuarial departments...

We've got to do something about all those actuarial departments holding people captive. It just isn't right.

LifeSucks
10-24-2010, 02:27 PM
We've got to do something about all those actuarial departments holding people captive. It just isn't right.

I meant my own stupidity.

PhildeTruth
10-24-2010, 03:42 PM
I meant my own stupidity.

I wish I was a badass programmer.

Gotta start early, like the 4th grade or so to be nasty.

campbell
10-24-2010, 03:44 PM
Hey, LifeSucks, I feel your pain. I wasted time in academic departments.

Lots of places to waste time... at least in actuarial departments you're generally compensated for your pain. I didn't get much $$ for my painful stint.

ElDucky
10-24-2010, 04:17 PM
Because wer're good enough, we're smart enough, and doggone it, people like us.

Baron Von Raschke
10-24-2010, 04:24 PM
I am not going to pretend that actuarial work is all that fun, but I could never be an accountant. And the accountants I know work pretty hard relative to what they get paid. Lots more cushy actuarial jobs than accounting jobs.

campbell
10-24-2010, 05:47 PM
Because wer're good enough, we're smart enough, and doggone it, people like us.

"They" hate our guts b/c we never have any good news.

"'you're gonna die/outlive your savings/get hit by a hurricane/flood/earthquake/go senile/incapacitated/incontinent."

Yay for the actuaries.

Brad Gile
10-24-2010, 06:23 PM
"They" hate our guts b/c we never have any good news.

"'you're gonna die/outlive your savings/get hit by a hurricane/flood/earthquake/go senile/incapacitated/incontinent."

Yay for the actuaries.

Indeed, if things go as projected or better, marketing usually gets the glory, but if things go south, guess who is the scapegoat and who isn't. :)

ditkaworshipper
10-24-2010, 06:54 PM
CPA during undergrad + big 4 public accounting is around 80k at 25. that's definitely already upper echelon.
Big 4 you're looking at future value. That's chicken feed compared to what they will be making later given all the connections you make.
Just about everyone at my school who was an accounting major got Big 4. If you didn't get it, it was like, "what happened?"

Big 4 has exit opps. My accounting friends that started at Big 4 aren't there now.
Oh, in that case, you have a biased sample. Big 4 is top 5% of accountants basically.
I wonder if other professions spend this much time worrying about whose (intellect, salary, exam difficulty) is bigger? I suspect not. This (field, internet site) seems to attract a lot of insecure people.
I don't think that it's any different really. There are insecure people in every profession. I've heard people from most fields talk about this kind of stuff. Take into account that actuaries are somewhat obscure, so we have to explain the exams more often than other people, whereas MCATs, LSATs, and CPA exam are very well known. However, I will say that anyone that I've talked to who actually knows about our exams seem to think that these are pretty insane. This isn't to say that they are terrible (although IMO they are difficult), but to the typical person, stochastic calculus is unapproachable.
Indeed, if things go as projected or better, marketing usually gets the glory, but if things go south, guess who is the scapegoat and who isn't. :)
This is what I really hate about the job. I rarely get to give good news, and I've noticed at my company that when we had a couple times where we did find good news, someone else seems to find a way to take credit for it. Someone definitely needs to do this stuff, but it is a pretty thankless job. Luckily, positive reinforcement annoys me since I don't learn anything from it, so I'm OK in this type of role. However, you get ignored on some things that seem fairly elementary, and it can be demoralizing at times.

Buru Buru
10-24-2010, 07:00 PM
Oh, in that case, you have a biased sample. Big 4 is top 5% of accountants basically.


but pretty much every accountant i know worked for a big 4. they aren't all that brilliant. it's not that difficult to get into a big 4 and also the cpa exam is easy compared to actuarial exams. most actuaries are smarter then accountants.

General Apathy
10-24-2010, 07:08 PM
I am not going to pretend that actuarial work is all that fun, but I could never be an accountant. And the accountants I know work pretty hard relative to what they get paid. Lots more cushy actuarial jobs than accounting jobs.

Without a doubt

KingWithoutACrown
10-24-2010, 08:26 PM
but pretty much every accountant i know worked for a big 4. they aren't all that brilliant. it's not that difficult to get into a big 4 and also the cpa exam is easy compared to actuarial exams. most actuaries are smarter then accountants.

Very true. There are lots of mediocre accountants out there. Low barriers to entry to get a big 4 job and the CPA exam is relatively easy.

What usually happens is that they leave audit or tax and move to a F500 job. If they are good, then they go to transaction advisory - those guys do make as much as actuaries.

UFActuary
10-24-2010, 11:19 PM
Having been an accountant and now an actuary, I can tell you that the actuarial credential ASA and especially FSA requires many more hours of exam study and breadth of knowledge than passing the Uniform CPA Exam for accountants.

Accountants, depending on how they use their skill, however, can make more money than an FSA Actuary, as the upper limit to income potential is actually not higher for actuaries. It depends what you do with your credential of course

What does tend to be higher for actuaries is the income that can be earned at the non-managerial level, justified by the Exam passing that accountants are done with once they pass the CPA.

ditkaworshipper
10-25-2010, 12:00 PM
but pretty much every accountant i know worked for a big 4. they aren't all that brilliant. it's not that difficult to get into a big 4 and also the cpa exam is easy compared to actuarial exams. most actuaries are smarter then accountants.
Meh, personal experience bias I bet. Most accountants do not make it into the big 4 from what I remember. At a career fair, I talked to a big 4 recruiter since I was surprised how much effort all of them were putting into my school (and I knew they hired actuaries, so I was hoping to get my resume passed along). I'm pretty sure I got an honest answer here seeing as how I wasn't being recruited exactly, but it was along the lines of 20% of accounting majors at my school were qualified for them, whereas it is usually under 5%. You are in Manhattan, so your sample is going to be skewed very heavily towards the Big 4 types. However, I don't think any accountant where I work ever got involved with the Big 4. Being a big 4 accountant is more about interpersonal skills than the accounting anyways.

Paradox
10-25-2010, 07:09 PM
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6298028n&tag=contentBody;housing

Buru Buru
10-25-2010, 07:15 PM
Meh, personal experience bias I bet. Most accountants do not make it into the big 4 from what I remember. At a career fair, I talked to a big 4 recruiter since I was surprised how much effort all of them were putting into my school (and I knew they hired actuaries, so I was hoping to get my resume passed along). I'm pretty sure I got an honest answer here seeing as how I wasn't being recruited exactly, but it was along the lines of 20% of accounting majors at my school were qualified for them, whereas it is usually under 5%. You are in Manhattan, so your sample is going to be skewed very heavily towards the Big 4 types. However, I don't think any accountant where I work ever got involved with the Big 4. Being a big 4 accountant is more about interpersonal skills than the accounting anyways.

I'm not sure how much bias I am going on. My sister is an accountant and got into the big 4. my neighbor who I grew up with also got into the big 4. All of my sisters friends from college who were accounting majors got into the big 4. Just doesn't seem that difficult to me. yeah, I gew up in NYC, but my sister went to Pace. It's a good accounting school, but not all that competitive to get in. Yet, everyone she was friends with got a job at a Big 4. Might have been Big 5 or 6 back then.

PhildeTruth
10-25-2010, 09:43 PM
I'm not sure how much bias I am going on. My sister is an accountant and got into the big 4. my neighbor who I grew up with also got into the big 4. All of my sisters friends from college who were accounting majors got into the big 4. Just doesn't seem that difficult to me. yeah, I gew up in NYC, but my sister went to Pace. It's a good accounting school, but not all that competitive to get in. Yet, everyone she was friends with got a job at a Big 4. Might have been Big 5 or 6 back then.

You should disclose that your sister is 5'7 113, and therefore probably has hot friends.

ditkaworshipper
10-25-2010, 10:56 PM
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6298028n&tag=contentBody;housing
Pretty good video actually. Unfortunately, his point has a lot of holes in it.
You should disclose that your sister is 5'7 113, and therefore probably has hot friends.
This would be extremely relevant actually. Again, consulting.

Buru Buru
10-26-2010, 11:19 AM
You should disclose that your sister is 5'7 113, and therefore probably has hot friends.




This would be extremely relevant actually. Again, consulting.

I don't find my sisters accounting friends or my neighbor who got into a big 4 to be particularly hot. My sister might be considered hot. I think you might overestimate looks as a barrier to the big 4 though. These are accountants, not models. Of the ones I know, there is a mix of attractiveness level. I can think of a few who might fall in the hot range, but not the norm.

Vomik
10-26-2010, 12:02 PM
The actuarial profession has treated me well. I make far more than most people I know, and I'm sure I'm in the top 1% for my age bracket (not including people much older than I.) That being said, I imagine that the finance world in general will become increasingly irrelevant. I feel like someday all that will matter is whether or not you can program the machines that run everything, but I feel like programming is like basketball.. if you didn't start when you were a kid you will never, ever be as good as those people, and you'll never be able to compete.

Candidus
11-01-2010, 11:39 AM
Just to explain the bump, I'm not trying to stir up this debate again, it's just that I left the impression that I was criticizing or making fun of LifeSucks' move to IT, and thought I should correct that. Actually I just thought it was funny to see someone making the exact opposite move that I'm trying to, and with as much zeal, and I was meaning to make a pun on smart (intelligent versus shrewd); I guess I need to learn where the font color is set.

In fact, I think LS is right about everything below. If you manage career and finances wisely, IT can be as intellectually fulfilling and financially comfortable as anyone could reasonably want. I've known a lot of brilliant people in this field, many who do not play to nerd stereotypes (I mean they're intellectually well-rounded, not necessarily cool).

Respect? The value of my profession is equal to what I think about it, I don't care about what the rest of the population thinks about it.



How smart you are is not measured by what kind of job you get.
I've met plenty of actuaries I considered morons, most of them making over 100k, vast majority of programmers I've met were pretty smart, most of them making < 100k.

I always get frustrated discussing this, people don't seem to understand the pleasure you derive from your work should be the main criteria for choosing a job, not money.



I am. Very. All the years wasted in actuarial departments...