A financier is any person who handles large amounts of money for investment. Traditionally a financier would handle primarily their own money, investing it to grow their own wealth, generally become very rich in the process. These days, however, a financier may be any person who handles money, so it would include a stockbroker or fund manager as well as a person who invests for themselves. Generally, however, a financier makes their money exclusively or primarily through investments, living off the interest and dividends paid.
Anyone can become a financier, since at its most basic it requires no specialized degree or licensing. All one needs to become a financier is some source of capital for investment. From there, the person can invest in a business, in art, or in stocks and other securities. Since such investment is open to anyone, there is truly no barrier to entry, except for having enough seed investment to be able to grow. A successful financier, however, could in theory begin with a very limited amount of money and build their way up to a massive portfolio over time by reinvesting their profits.
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To become a specialized financier, like a stock broker or a fund manager, one does need to become licensed. This usually involves getting a degree in business, most often a graduate degree as a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). In different countries there are different requirements for those working with the public to invest their money. In the United States, for example, a potential stock broker needs to pass the Series 7 Exam, officially known as the General Securities Representative Examination, to demonstration an understanding of how the system functions.
Many well-known financiers in the modern world started out with no resources of their own, building up immense personal fortunes through their own skill and ability at investment. Some well-known financiers include Warren Buffet and George Soros, both of whom are now worth billions of US Dollars (USD). Both men started out from modest means, and worked their way through business school to go on to become successful investors.
Warren Buffet, for example, was born to a middle-class family in Omaha, Nebraska, and worked a paper route for his early income. From an early age he had an investors eye, and his freshman year of high school he bought a pinball machine with money he and a friend had saved from their jobs, and placed it in a barber shop. With the profits from that machine, they purchased more machines, building a small income base. Buffet went on to study at Columbia Business School, and from there became a securities analyst. Through his investments, Buffet went on to become the richest man in the world, worth more than $62 billion USD at his peak in 2008.
Similarly, George Soros came from modest roots in Budapest, Hungary. He studied at the London School of Economics, then moved to the United States and began work as an analyst. He founded one of the largest fund management groups in the world, and through his innovative investment, particularly in the area of currency exchange, he became one of the most successful financiers in the world.